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12 September 2009

Update On Google's PageRank Sculpting

Google's Matt Cutts recently made a statement about the way Google now treats nofollow links. He said, they have made a change on how you can use the nofollow attribute which instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target's ranking in the search engine's index. So, does this mean PageRank sculpting on your website will still help to get a higher ranking on Google?

What is PageRank sculpting?

PageRank sculpting is the attempt to control the link power of one web page to another page of the same website. For instance, when Google finds a website with three links then the link power is evenly passed to all three links

Some webmasters thought that if a web page has a high PageRank of 8 then it shouldn't pass that PageRank power to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, thereby improving the quality of search engine results and preventing spamdexing from occurring.

For that reason, some webmasters started to use the rel=nofollow attribute for these links:

Links that are marked with the nofollow attribute shouldn't be followed by Google. That meant that the other links on the web page benefited more from the high PageRank of the page. As soon below:

In this example, link 1 passes no link power while link 2 and 3 each pass half of the available link power to the target page. The result is that the linked pages have a higher chance of getting listed in the search results.

Google disclosed that they had taken measures to mitigate the effects of PageRank sculpting by use of the nofollow attribute on links.

Link 1 still doesn't pass any link power but the link power of that link is simply discarded.

What does this mean for your website?

The change means that PageRank sculpting with the nofollow attribute does not work anymore and that it now makes sense to remove any nofollow links that go to your own website. You're just wasting link power by using the attribute for links to your own pages.

Do not waste your time by trying to manipulate the links on your web pages. Better concentrate on a good user experience with good web page content and an easy to understand website navigation. Websites with a good user experience usually get more links from other websites.


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