Which item published by Google is:
- Followed by webmasters with feverish interest
- Can cause intense depression
- Is linked to the visibility of web pages in SERPs (Search Engine Report Pages)
- Receives more attention than it deserves
If you guessed the Toolbar PageRank, as symbolized by that little horizontal thermometer (values from 0 to 10), then you’re right. Clearly the publishing of such an item would seem to be of questionable value to Google given the anguish it creates among clients. You would imagine the powers that be would be deciding when was the most appropriate time to cease publication.
Google apparently sees this in a different light for the moment. They do publish something else that is somewhat similar although certainly a number 2 choice as an answer to the question. You may not even be aware of it. In the SERPs you will occasionally see a web page result that has the words ‘Supplemental Result‘ added. That label is also an answer to the question. Given the concerns, Google has now taken action and as of this morning the label no longer appears. That doesn’t mean your web pages are no longer in the Supplemental Index. It just means Google won’t tell you whether they are or not. Danny Sullivan for one regrets its disappearance and would still like to be able to get the information in some way.
The big question remains. Does Google have an equal concern about that Toolbar PageRank? By the same logic, it should. There’s even more furious and inappropriate anguish and reporting on that. However a different answer may apply. Publishing or not publishing the Toolbar PageRank will not be decided by the Google technocrats. More likely it will be decided by the Google Marketing group. Like the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky Button’, it’s become part of the Google brand. The Supplemental label had no such redeeming quality. Since you can’t afford to mess with a winning brand, I guess the Toolbar PageRank is safe.