Over a year ago search engine marketing, optimization and Internet marketing folks shared the idea that Google's Page Rank (PR) had to be crossed out from the list of crucial factors in ranking algorithm of Google. This started the so-called "PR Depression" period.
Historical Background about "PR Depression."
"PR depression" is the period of time when people got free from the PR obsession and started to share the idea that PR was not critical for getting top positions in search engine results on the necessary keywords and key phrases.
The typical forum gossip at that time was like:
"I don't even care about PR bar"
"PR is almost no good for ranking, better have good anchors in the backlinks"
"I'd better have 1000 extra visitors per month than extra point on PR"
These are not exact quotes from SEO, SEM, and IM forums, but those who dwelled there know that I am giving very trendy words. I must admit that I was also very pessimistic about PR at that very moment. No, of course, I would never disagree to have PR 7 or 8 or more for any of my sites; even at those times of "PR depression", but many of webmasters and SEM & SEO specialists saw that PR was quite a manipulative thing that could be obtained without any big problems. Many people could boast that with proper knowledge and efforts their sites got PR 3-4 within a matter of several month.
So the magic PR was not giving increase in targeted traffic. And new trends popped up - anchors in backlinks, one way links as alternative to reciprocal links, etc. All this added to the "PR depression" and people losing faith into its magical power. So, for a while, Google PR came into the shadow.
Matt Cutts is Taking PR Out of Shadow!
It was Matt Cutts who made the PR buzz get back on the stage again. Recently Matt (software engineer at Google) said a seemingly unnoticeable line when discussing the problem of supplemental results. The direct quote from Matt Cutt's famous blog is: "If a page doesn't have enough PageRank to be included in our main web index, the supplemental results represent an additional chance for users to find that page..."
And this phrase instantly brings the importance of PR back to the very top!
Because we can make a logical assumption that if a page has some PR, than its chances to get into supplemental results are lower. This example cries out that PR is still very, very important for Google ranking algo. And, perhaps, not only in situations of putting or not putting the page into "supplementals". If PR is a valid factor for supplemental results, than PR can be a valid factor to many other things in Google's algo.
And this brings us to the simlple search engine marketing and optimization conclusion - PR matters, matters a lot. So, build more good backlinks from nice PR pages and get yourself a PR!
Even PR 1 can help you in some situations. Imagine that your page only thanks to some PR will not get into supplementals, it means it will be displayed closer to the top for some easy keywords, whereas other pages (that have no PR or PR 0 will be in supps) will be lower. Maybe this will not bring you tons of traffic, but I think no one would disagree to get extra 300-500 targeted visitors per month. And if you are catching people on several keywords in your niche - the possible number of targeted traffic will grow to extra thousands!
P.S. But don't be greedy about backlinks; now we all know that Google got more careful and experienced about PR manipulations.