Read my (long-winded) post at
Yes, PageRank does matter, or more specifically, the factors/variables that are used to create PageRank. What throws everyone off is that the PageRank factors are combined with context variables to generate the SERPS.
I suspect that the formula for PageRank itself has changed very little nor will it change much in the future. It appears fairly straight forward–links based and logarithmic–therefore remains accurate and valid as the size of the World Wide Web grows and fluctuates.
What seems to keep changing are the contextual variables, of which there are two types: on-site and off-site. On-site variables include keyword and key phrase frequency, frequency of related words, natural variation in words, amount of content and how well your website pages relate to each other. You will find lots of information about on-site variables throughout these forums.
Off-site contextual variables are used to determine how closely related or relevant the content of sites that link to your site are to the content on your site. For example, you could have a PageRank 7, but if all the sites that link to your website are about religion and your site is about screwdrivers, the search engines could discredit your site.
In my opinion, it is with the contextual factors that search engines are evolving the most, with the off-site factors being the newest and most rapidly developing.
Here is something to keep in mind when you see changes in the SERPS. The search engines are constantly experimenting and developing their mathematical algorithms (Google seems to be the most public about this). As with any evolutionary process, sometimes things do not work in the real world the way they do in the lab (The map is not the territory) and bad things occasionally happen to good websites. The good news is that the search engines are aware of this and will undo or tweak-out unexpected negative consequences.
Here is what you do not hear too often on the boards. The search engines (Especially Google) have always told webmasters how to develop their websites and how to exchange links. No matter how far back you go they have urged relevance both on-site and off-site. Unfortunately, not everyone followed this advice, opting for what was easier and seemingly most effective during the time period they were engaged in those activities. Now, as the search engine algorithms become more advanced, the sins of the past are catching-up with some webmasters. This is especially true on SEO Forums because it has been so easy for participants to exchange links or uncover the newest tricks. So when you see several webmasters who participate in the SEO forums bemoan the latest search engine results, you need to wonder if there is a good reason for them to have dropped.
Believe it or not, what you have to accomplish as a webmaster to generate good rankings has not changed much over the years. Brett Tabke's 26 Steps to 15K a Day is still Google Guy endorsed.
If you have not read it, you need to.
And of course, in everything you do as a webmaster, ask yourself, "Will this increase or dilute relevancy?" If you are honest in this test and industrious in your efforts you will do just fine.
Good Luck Turboso,
The Komodo Tale