PageRank (PR) is one of Google's numerous link analysis tools. It helps in determining the relative importance of a site and thereby, ranking that particular site in its deserved position on the SERP (search engine results page). The question is – with the major changes in Google algorithms (i.e. Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird) is PR still relevant nowadays? Is it the panacea? Given the fact that there are about two hundred ranking signals and factors, the simple is it's not.
Below are the reasons PR must not be the sole focus of your website.
1) Google stopped updating PageRank since December 2013
The toolbar version, that is. The last toolbar update happened on December 5 or 6, 2013. Thereafter, it declared the PageRank will not be updated in the future. While it is still a ranking signal, it would be difficult to gauge website performance based on an inaccurate metric like PageRank. Also, there are more important metrics you should be looking at such as conversion rate, click-through rate, and bounce rate.
2) High PageRank doesn't mean higher rankings
Even if Google gave you a PageRank some years ago, that doesn't necessarily translate to rank. It is not a guarantee that your website will rank for a particular keyword. What higher ranking? To put things in perspective, you might still outrank those websites with higher PR despite having a low PR.
3) High PageRank doesn't mean higher authority
Obsessing about PR is only a waste of precious resources. PR, regardless of how high it may be, doesn't equate to higher domain and page authority. Or, the website authority for that matter. One characteristic of an authoritative website is its credibility. For instance, when a user reads a piece of information on that website, there's no need to confirm or validate the information elsewhere. Some websites that have high PR cannot be considered as authoritative websites.
4) The PR quest only leads to black hat SEO techniques
Black hat techniques are a no-no. However, because website owners want to boost their PR, the tendency is to look for the easiest ways to obtain higher PR. This was the situation before the last update of 2013 and yet, this is the same dilemma that site owners are concerned about. Thus, they resort to buying links and link spamming. Links are important to boost PR. What these owners don't realize is that these SEO techniques actually hurt whatever PR their sites already have then help.
5) PageRank is just a number
If you depend on the importance of your website on PR alone, then we've got a problem. As website owners, if we need to target just one ranking factor, PR must not be that factor. It cannot and will not determine the success of your website and business, in general, in the future. If you need to conduct a competitor analysis, PR should be the last factor that you should be looking for. It cannot provide you with a clearer picture of how does the site performs against the competitor. PR is just for vanity.
Conclusion: Above are the main reasons PageRank is problematic. Instead, there are more other factors to look at and not just PR. In today's ever-confusing digital landscape, quality is more important than quantity. So, focus on quality content, quality links, quality traffic, etc. instead of focusing on PR alone.