The biggest news from the Google camp last week was its decision to remove one longstanding feature, one that many of us relied on and obsessed over more than we should have. The search giant has also been seen testing the possible introduction of a new feature which could be a big deal down the road.

Those who have been around the SEO industry for a while will especially appreciate this week’s updates — and if you’re new to the industry then you may have something to look forward to. More details about these top stories in this week’s top SEO news.

Google Kills Off Toolbar PageRank

SEOs and website owners who have been following this industry for at least the past 5 years know all about PageRank. It’s a number from 1 to 10 that Google would assign to every site on the web based on its level of authority. Google has been distancing itself further from PageRank over the past few years, leaving many to speculate whether or not Google is going to keep supporting it. The company confirmed this week it’s going to officially shutter PageRank.

PageRank score held a lot of weight. Getting linked to from a site with a high PageRank meant a lot more to Google’s algorithms than getting linked to from a site with a lower PageRank. Many industry folk are celebrating the demise of PageRank because, in its hey day, PageRank led to an overwhelming amount of link spam and link manipulation.

In the coming weeks, Google will stop supporting any toolbars which made use of PageRank data. PageRank will still be used internally by Google; the difference is they’re not going to show it to us publicly in toolbars anymore

It will be interesting to see if this makes any noticeable impact to how Google weights the quality of links going forward. It should certainly cut down on the amount of black hat link sellers offering high PR backlinks in bulk.

What this means for your website going forward is; if you made a lot of strategic decisions based on PageRank, it’s safe to stop relying on that metric. If you were never too familiar with PageRank in the first place, well now it’s just a chapter in history.

Google Tests Self-Promotional Search Results

Google has been seen testing a new feature which could end up being a big deal for small businesses. If you’ve done any searching lately regarding the presidential election, you may have seen special “candidate cards” where candidates can post tailored messages direct to Google search results.

Google has been seen experimenting with a way of bringing that same functionality to small businesses. While conducting a search for engagement rings, Mike Blumenthal spotted a local jeweler publishing to a dedicated feed on the front page of search results.

Details are scarce at this point but it’s definitely something to keep on your radar. There’s even a waiting list if you want to be among the first businesses to get access to the feature.

Wrapping it Up

PageRank, once the gold standard of website authority, is now just something we’ll be reading about in the SEO history books. Google’s new self promotional search results are worth keeping an eye on. See how presidential candidates are using them and think about how they can be applied to your business.