It all started in the year 2000, when Google launched its first toolbar for IE. The toolbar made searching Google directly quite easy with a dedicated search box pinned on top of the browser. And so, it became widely popular in a matter of days.
This Google toolbar had a PageRank meter on the right to show users how well the search giant ranked a webpage on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest). Google later released a version of the toolbar for Firefox users as well, with an intention of helping users evaluate the quality of the webpage they are browsing. Although many users did not care to enable this added feature in the toolbar, many SEO companies made the most out of it.
People who wondered how in earth they would make their website appear on top of the search results page now had an option to assess their progress and see if their works paid off. Though there were many other factors that determined the overall ranking of a webpage, Google PageRank was the most important part of the search algorithm.
Despite the fact that a high PageRank alone was not enough to take a website to the top and quality content and number of backlinks also mattered a lot, many of the best SEO packages became obsessed with boosting Google PageRank. And as a result, the link-selling trend came to the fore.
As Google always noted links as the “democratic nature of the web”, people could now buy links to improve their PageRank. Though Google started fighting back against such measures, the link-selling trend did not go away, it boomed instead. People started to seek out ways to score quickly on the PageRank factor, rather than earning it naturally.
When the brawling went too high, Google came up with the plan of including nofollow tag to the links. With this, spam links could not pass the PageRank credit and score high as earlier. However, it was not enough for stopping the way people had started exploiting Google PageRank factor. And so, after one and half decade, Google finally put an end to it.
Some SEO services company India claim that they saw it coming though. The Google toolbar was never released for Google’s own web browser, and no updates were released for the versions on Firefox and IE after 2011. Other PageRank displaying tools by Google (Google Search Console and Google Directory) were also dropped by that time. And now, around 5 years later, the search giant out an end to the misery of Google PageRank.