Google has updated Toolbar Pagerank again. No doubt we’ll have the usual cheering and dancing in the streets for some and gnashing of teeth for others. Several threads in SEO forums are confirming it and a post by DejanSEO here in Oz reports about 40% of the URLs they sampled have seen movement.
If you don’t already know it Google Toolbar Pagerank is an imprecise measure of how well linked your web pages are without regard to the anchor text used on those links. It’s shown in the Google Toolbar as a green bar that varies between 0 and 10 but its a bit of a con as the measure shown is most certainly not the same as what Google might use in its algorithms. This ‘public’ pagerank score is only updated a few times a year so is not only always out of date but is not reported on the same scale the true pagerank score.
Does it affect rankings? In the sense that authoritative sites tend to have higher pagerank (because they have lots of quality incoming links) it can look like a goal for your ranking efforts but a few random searches will soon show that pages with non existant or low pagerank do outrank their high PR competitors all the time, it certainly does not outweigh the contents relevance to the search query!
It does come in handy if you sell advertising on your site as the higher the PR, the more the advertisers tend to pay.
Google have told us on several occasions to stop worrying about it and focus instead on the content of our websites and building links naturally rather than get sidetracked by their Toolbar PR. That seems like good advice