That's corrects folks PageRank is dead. That update you've been waiting for? It won't happen. John Mueller from Google in a Google+ hangout mentioned that it "probably won't be updated going forward, at least the toolbar PageRank" in this video. Which suggests to me, although it won't be updated for us to see, they may well still update it internally for their own use. The last update was on 06/12/2013 and that wasn't even a planned update.
Should we forget about PageRank?
As it's not going to be updated anymore there is little point in relying on it as a trusted score for judging the quality of a website or webpage. For old websites it can be a good indicator but for new websites it's hopeless. For example a website that launched just after the last update will never have PageRank, does that make it a low quality website? No of course it doesn't.
So how else can we judge the quality of a website?
I have never wholly relied on PageRank as being the single indicator for the quality of a website. 1. Because it can be faked 2. Because a spammy website can still have PageRank. The other methods I use for judging a websites quality I will go through with you so you can use them in absence of PageRank. I don't rely on any one of these, I recommend a mixture and a bit of common sense.
Checking the traffic to a website is a great indicator to the quality of a website. If a website is getting an ever growing amount of traffic it's got to be doing something right. But how do you check the traffic without analytics access? That's where SEMrush comes in. It tracks millions of keywords and where websites rank for each keyword, from this data it can then predict how much traffic a website gets from search. A website that gets very little traffic or has had a sudden drop of traffic be wary of. If there is a sudden drop it could be due to a penalty from Google, be sure to check there were no updates from Google around the time of of the drop.
Trust Flow and Citation Flow are metrics used by backlink index Majestic. I have found these metrics to correspond rather well to how a page ranks in Google. They both rate on a scale of 0 - 100. Citation Flow is more of a general metric that is based on the quantity of links to a website or webpage and Trust Flow is a bit more complex. Trust Flow is based on huge list of manually reviewed authority websites for example bbc.co.uk, and how these websites link to other websites, and how those websites then link to other websites and so on. Pretty neat as you'd expect these top authority manually reviewed sites to only link to credible sources.
It is also good to compare Citation Flow and Trust Flow, as if the Citation Flow is much higher than the Trust Flow something could be up. It means the website has tons of links, but very little from trusted source. In a cases like this you need to dig into the backlink profile to make sure nothing fishy is going on.
These metrics are updated every day, yes not waiting months for updates!
Domain Authority and Page Authority are metrics used by backlink index Moz. These metrics also correspond rather well to how a page ranks in Google. Domain Authority is based on the overall domain where as Page Authority is specifically for a certain webpage. It is again based on a 0-100 scoring system.
The score is calculated by a number of other link metrics that Moz uses such as the number of linking domains, total links, MozRank, MozTrust and about 40 more metrics they use.
If you want to check the DA/PA in bulk be sure to check out my free tool Bulk Metrics Checker.
You can have a quick scan of a websites backlink profile and you tend to get an impression for the quality of the incoming links. Apart from checking a sample of the links you get a good picture for websites backlinks by looking at the anchor text profile. A website with a natural link profile is positive, so having mainly brand or random anchor text is great. Over optimized exact match anchor text is bad. There are several services you can use for this including Majestic, Moz and ahrefs.
Checking the latest 5-6 posts for comments and social shares shows you that people are actively reading the content on the website and are interested enough to leave a comment or share it. You won't have many if any comments on a poor quality website.
If a blog has social media profiles such as Twitter and Facebook checkout how many followers they have. Not only that check out how much interaction they get with their updates. On Facebook check if they are getting a good number of likes for there posts, on Twitter check how many re-tweets and favorites they are getting.
If you have any tips yourself be sure to leave a comment!