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Seriously, aside from a handful of networks and the random inquiries of some media buyers, when was the last time that you had someone bring up an Alexa ranking in any sort of real meaningful conversation? And sure, some people will argue that Alexa is still relevant and that you should care where your site ranks on something like Compete.com, but at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters are your actual traffic numbers. The thing is that the nature of the Internet has continued to change and evolve, arguably reducing the relevance of these metrics.

For many of us who have been making our living on the Internet for the last several years, Google PageRank was the metric that we wanted to chase. Google says it’s used to describe a page’s importance. Each time that Google went around updating the PR of all the sites on the web, we anxiously refreshed our PageRank toolbars to see if our blogs went up or down.

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PageRank, for most intents and purposes, just doesn’t matter all that much anymore and it seems like Google is giving PR progressively less and less weight. A site with a high PR can still easily get outranked in the search engine results page (SERP) by a site with a lower PR. And many sites that haven’t seen any meaningful update in years can still hold very high PR for some inexplicable reason.

Given the rapid rise of social media and its influence on our thinking, Google had to find a way to incorporate these social signals into its algorithm. Now we know that Google looks at signals like the number of retweets, author authority, author quality, etc. (as does Bing). We don’t know how Google is integrating these signals into the main Google algorithm but in the same SEOMoz report mentioned above its clear that social signals do influence regular web page rankings. So the fact that Google is now using social signals to rank plain old web pages doesn’t mean that they aren’t using PageRank as well.

Remember, when building links to your site, PageRank must be a secondary factor to the relevancy and quality of the content. So, if you get the opportunity to earn a link from a PR 2 site with relevant content and a PR 8 site with unrelated content, it is preferable to opt for the first but not the second.

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