Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nofollow Effects in PageRank Sculpting

PageRank sculpting is the process of redistribute PageRank to important pages. The goal of PageRank sculpting is to increase current search engine rankings by simply altering the crawlable linking structure of a website. There are many options for sculpting pagerank. Using Javascript, iframe, Flash, form, rel="nofollow" we can easily control the link level PageRank.

Nofollow Effects in PageRank Sculpting

rel="nofollow" as a PageRank Sculpting

This is the most popular choice for sculpting PageRank for many reasons as follows -
  • It is officially supported and endorsed by Google and other major search engines as a way to prevent the flow of PageRank through links
  • It is easy to implement. All you need to do is add the attribute to any anchor tag to stop the flow of PageRank through that link
  • It allows precise control over PageRank flow, since the nofollow attribute can be applied at the single-link level (as opposed to affecting the entire page)
Google publicly informed the SEO community that all paid links should include the nofollow attribute as a good reason to believe that the attribute really does block the flow of PageRank. Additionally, Google has said that they do not use nofollowed links for discovery, and nofollowed links do not pass anchor text either.

Google Clears Nofollow Effect in PageRank Sculpting

Google recently unveils very craving secrets for SEO world about pagerank sculpting. According to Google we can still Sculpt PageRank. But we can not do it with Nofollow method. The head of Google Web Spam team Matt Cutts says about pagerank sculpting in his blog:

So what happens when you have a page with "ten PageRank points" and ten outgoing links, and five of those links are nofollowed? Let’s leave aside the decay factor to focus on the core part of the question. Originally, the five links without nofollow would have flowed two points of PageRank each (in essence, the nofollowed links didn’t count toward the denominator when dividing PageRank by the outdegree of the page). More than a year ago, Google changed how the PageRank flows so that the five links without nofollow would flow one point of PageRank each.

Randfish from SEOmoz has pictured the difference of old pagerank algorithm & effect of nofollow sculpting with new pagerank algorithm & effect of nofollow sculpting very clearly in his blog pagerank sculpting.

PageRank Sculpting 

Tragically, while this action won't hurt spammers or those seeking to manipulate Google, it will seriously harm many thousands of sites that have employed nofollow internally as it was long considered a best practice. It is suspected that it will be several years and many re-designs before a lot of sites are able to clean up this solution-turned-problem. While Google has said that linking out to "good places" provides some value, that merely suggests that webmasters and site owners should select good resources editorially and link to them with live, followed links.

Finally it is clear that we can not save our pagerank point by providing links with nofollow attribute. So it is wise to give outbound links to important resources for sculpting pagerank. It will also increase the user experiences of your website as you're directing your website visitors to the more authoritative websites. By doing that, you're helping Google to achieve its mission of providing the best possible user experiences to the web visitors.

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