PageRank Sculpting Isn’t Dead But Comments Can Kill Your PageRank

This post was originally titled “Is PageRank Sculpting Dead & Can Comments Kill Your PageRank”
Following a confirmation post from Google’s Matt Cutts today, it seems PageRank Sculpting as practiced by many SEOs is effectively dead, and comments, even using links with nofollow CAN have a negative effect on the amount of PageRank that can be passed on to your internal pages.

Link to updates from Matt Cutts plus tips on how to continue PageRank sculpting effectively.

Has Google in one quick swipe removed all benefit of Dynamic Linking (old school term) or PageRank sculpting (when it became “trendy”), and potentially caused massive penalties for sites nofollowing links for user generated content and comments?

I have left a few comments on various blog posts over the last few days, especially on SEOmoz and Twitter, but though it important to solidify some thoughts here, and potentially add a little more perspective.

PageRank Sculpting Formerly Known As Dynamic Linking

The idea of controlling the flow of “Google Juice” around a website to pages that matter, or to other sites that matter has been around for a long time, at least as early as 2003 when Leslie Rohde (Stompernet Faculty) was calling it “Dynamic Linking”.

Those were the days before “nofollow” and you had to use Javascript to accomplish the internal linking control.

In the past I have linked to Michael Campbell’s Revenge of the Mininet which also provides access to Leslie’s original Dynamic Linking membership site. They are both now free, (Michael used to charge $79.95 for his ebook)

I am sure I have sent 1000s of people to Michael’s newsletter signup page over the years, but I am equally confident that 90% of the visitors didn’t sign up. I don’t receive any kind of payment recommending Michael’s work, or Leslie’s dynamic linking.

In many ways I look on at least a passing understanding of these groundbreaking ebooks as required reading for any of my SEO articles

From the comments I see on most SEO blogs, and even many of the articles, I am quietly confident that these seminal works haven’t been truly understood, and of course the content rarely gets referenced.

So I am going to do something unprecedented, and I hope Michael won’t mind – the page does appear in the SERPs

Here is a direct download link for Revenge of the Mininet

Once you get there, you can pick up a password to access Leslie’s Dynamic Linking site

Leslie has always had this great disclaimer

DISCLAIMER!

Some of the techniques and technologies described in the foregoing are not without their pitfalls and potential unintended consequences. If you are new to web business, inexperienced at search engine optimization, or do not feel comfortable with HTML and Javascript (at least at a rudimentary level), you should not attempt to employ the advanced techniques shown here!

Access The Source of SEO Knowledge

Michael Campbell

I have just given you access to 4 or 5 year old information that in all likelihood is more advanced than you will find discussed on 95% of SEO blogs and forums, and whilst I don’t from principle/ethics join any private SEO content area to avoid conflict with what I blog about, I am quietly confident that it would still be looked on as advanced content for members only, or not even covered in such depth.

But that is just a trickle of knowledge compared to direct access

Michael has had an internet marketing newsletter for years.
He also now runs a private membership site which is very affordable, and you can follow him on Twitter @dmcorp

Leslie Rohde

I am still eagerly awaiting an update to Leslie’s Dynamic Linking suggested on his SEO Software site.

A major update to this material is currently in process owing to some recently discovered changes in the way Google is processing links. Look for an announcement early next year (2009) — the changes will likely revolutionize on-site linking techniques … again!

Leslie also has an SEO Strategy blog, which he actually updates once in a while. I am going to have to explore the blogging platform he uses, Pebble. You can also follow Leslie on Twitter @leslierohde

There are 2 other ways to learn more from Leslie

  1. Just before the New Year Leslie put together a new site “Optimize Recession” where he introduced the idea of “Zone Based SEO” – I mentioned it on Twitter.
    Zone based SEO might seem obvious at first, but it allows you to systematize and possibly even automate specific SEO campaigns, especially now it is possible to extract ranking positions from Google referrer data.
  2. Stompernet – Leslie is one of the faculty at Stompernet, who now offer very progressive SEO and marketing training. Start off just by joining their newsletter and the 7 Deadly SEO Sins course plus free videos, and possibly get their “Stomping The Search Engines 2″ course for $1 (plus a trial to their Net Effect magazine)

The Death Of Dynamic Linking With Javascript?

Of everything that has been discussed about Google making changes to which links they will follow and count going forward, how they handle javascript is probably the one that is worth the most consideration.

The first I read about it was on Search Engine Land in an article by Vanessa Fox (who used to work for Google as a member of their webmaster team) covering Google Javascript Links.
(Note: I know that anchor text is very contrived, but SEO is about helping people find what they are searching for, not snake oil or gaming Google)

Having given a great link, I can justify grabbing a small code example

Some examples of code that Googlebot can now execute include:

  • <div onclick="document.location.href='http://foo.com/'">
  • <tr onclick="myfunction('index.html')"><a href="#"
    onclick="myfunction()">new page</a>
  • <a href="javascript:void(0)" onclick="window.open
    ('welcome.html')">open new window</a>

Javascript That Is Still Dynamic?

This will probably work

onclick=”myfunction(‘jkhhjstdysd’)

Have myfunction() within a file loaded in the header, or preferably in the footer for faster page loading. You would still want to use the CSS that Michael and Leslie suggest for usability.
Somehow define which destination ‘jkhhjstdysd’ refers to, and that could potentially be broken down into components.

If Google somehow cope with that, and possibly easier would be to just use pure external javascript that pulls in some XML, but that then complicates things if you want to mix real links with dynamic ones.

But this is moot if nofollow actually still works.

Does Nofollow Still Work For Dynamic Linking or PageRank Sculpting?

I am going to lead with the freshest insight I have read, Dan Thies (also Stompernet Faculty) thinks things are being blown out of proportion.

Here are the primary opinion pieces and coverage I have seen, though I am sure there were plenty more

Google Loses “Backwards Compatibility” On Paid Link Blocking & PageRank Sculpting

Didn’t comment, was too busy looking for other coverage

Google (Maybe) Changes How the PageRank Algorithm Handles Nofollow

My comment on the post

I can only think that Google have been misinterpreted.

If I have a blog post with 300 comments, and have the links nofollowed (my blog is dofollow but example), then there would effectively be juice lost due to the comment links.

Links are valuable, because they add to the relevance of a comment made, because a reader can follow them to find out more about the person.
However they also form part of disclosure.

If this is only for internal links, there are major problems because often a link will be nofollowed because it points to a tracking link that is also blocked by robots.txt

Any sensible knowledgeable webmaster is going to nofollow those links, because they serve no purpose for Google in their current state, and who wants to turn them into hanging pages.

That may also be a workaround, if Google handles links blocked with Robots.txt differently

No Clarification Forthcoming from Google on Nofollow & PageRank Flow
My comment on the post

I can’t see any evidence that this is affecting external links.

Wikipedia is still a black hole of link equity. If this affected Wikipedia external links, we would see some effect, because due to recursive calculations through internal linking, it could potentially reduce their juice pool by as much as 30%

It would also affect the Ebay group with sites such as epinions.

If it has any effect, it will be internal links only.

The amount of juice lost could be similar to dangling or hanging pages, and due to many poor SEO articles suggesting robots.txt for duplicate content, Google Webmaster guidelines suggesting robots.txt for search results, and just ignoring obvious signals such as TBPR.

Yes, any smart SEO could spot the toolbar showing some green on pages blocked by robots.txt and work things out for themselves.

But the juice goes into the internet ether, and due to macro PageRank calculations, comes back.

If anything, this will help Google surface more long-tail content, and sites with lots of pages will benefit.

Live Blogging Of Matt Cutts @ SMX

You & A With Matt Cutts

Is What’s Good For Google, Good For SEO
Important to read both articles because it gives a clearer insight to the exact wording on lots of different issues.

Alternative Reactions

PageRank Sculpting is Dead? Good Riddance

PageRank Sculpting – Recent Matt Cutts Video

I have to strongly point out that this video was recorded before SMX, and maybe even a week or 2 before. It is on the official Google webmasters channel on YouTube, thus has probably been vetted in some way for accuracy.

Full Transcript

Matt Cutts on PageRank Sculpting

Rand, In Brighton, and that might be Rand Fishkin, I don’t know asks:-

What are your views on ‘PageRank Sculpting’?
Useful and recommended if implemented right, or unethical?

Well I wouldn’t say it is unethical because it is stuff on your website – you are allowed to control how the PageRank flows around withing your site.
Erm, I would say that it is not the first thing that I would work on.
I would work on:-

  • Getting more links
  • Having higher quality content

Those are always the sort of things that you want to do first.

But then if you have a certain amount of budget of PageRank, erm… you certainly can sculpt your PageRank.
I wouldn’t necessarily do it with the nofollow tag, although you can put a nofollow on a login page, or something that is customized where a robot will never log in for example, but a better more effective form of PageRank sculpting is choosing for example which things to link to from your homepage.

So imagine you have got two different pages.
You have got one product that earns you a lot of money every time someone buys, and you’ve got another product where you make… you know 10 cents.

You probably want to highlight this page. You want to make sure it gets enough PageRank that it can rank well.

So this is more likely to be a page that you want to link to from your home page.

So when people talk about PageRank sculpting, they tend to think nofollow and all that sort of stuff, but in some sense the ways that you choose to create your site, your site architecture, and how you link between your pages is a type of PageRank sculpting.
So it is certainly not unethical to have all the links come into your site, and you decide how to link within your site, and how to make the pages within your site.
Erm, I do think that having more links because you have great content is a better way to rank well because it is a second order effect to be sculpting your PageRank.

It can be useful, but it wouldn’t be the first thing that I would do.

Commentary on Matt’s video I will leave to my good mate Dave
PageRank Sculpting; its all old school baby

Response From Google After SMX About PageRank Sculpting

None…. yet – regard this as a placeholder

I do have some thoughts though:-

  1. I think we need a strong statement that external links with nofollow would not cause PageRank to evaporate.
  2. Nofollow is a simple solution for user generated content and comments, but if it has any effect of PageRank disappearing, we are going to lose the links on tons of blogs totally.
    It would be a sad day that an action by Google reduced the interlinking of the web.
  3. I don’t want to encourage use of javascript for PageRank sculpting – it is not really very good for accessibility
  4. Noscript – Nested embedded object items, containing links or thumbnails to source that may well be descriptive of content? This is needed if RSS Readers and web based email clients are going to continue to strip out video embeds.
  5. Links that lead to pages blocked with robots.txt and other hanging pages really need to be nofollowed. I think we need to know that in that situation PageRank wouldn’t normally evaporate, but I can understand why that might not be confirmed.
  6. I would love a much clearer indication of page size that Google will index as there are just vague notions that it can be more than 100 links per page.
    If a size is specified, is that gzipped?

Matt Cutts On PageRank Sculpting

Matt Cutts today (June 16th 2009) wrote a post confirming that Google now treats PageRank significantly differently than the original PageRank patent, and that links with nofollow, whilst they don’t pass PageRank to the linked page, also can reduce the amount of PageRank that flows to other links on a page.

Rank Fishkin has already responded with analysis
Google Says: Yes, You Can Still Sculpt PageRank. No You Can’t Do It With Nofollow

I also missed this commentary from Matt Leonard on why this could potentially make life harder for niche sites

There are bound to be more posts appearing on Techmeme today

PageRank Sculpting Isn’t Dead – It Has Evolved

Lets take a look at my WordPress SEO Masterclass

Sandcastles With Perimeter Wall Site Structure

Those Red links in the Sandcastle structure are not nofollow, they are oneway linkage.

It can be achieved with fairly simple coding, I even posted part of it over 2 years ago though the code needs to be updated for WordPress tagging rather than UTW.

This linking structure still works extremely effectively, but with one major caveat – internal & external links on the tag pages being used to channel juice back to the home page can’t be nofollowed.

If you are using default WordPress “ugly excerpts” they don’t contain any HTML content, no links to worry about other than the links to the posts.
Tag pages should thus be restuctured to highlight your best content, otherwise you end up with 3rd level push. 3rd level push in most cases isn’t a bad thing, if you don’t have a lot of comment links.

Rather than remove links that you previously nofollowed, the key is to add additional internal links to useful pages.

There are ways to handle the comment links, retain the benefit of having the comment content on your blog, and even keep giving your visitors a little link equity (dofollow links), though that solution will require significant programming effort.

Blogspot bloggers are now totally messed up, as even adding nofollow to their tag links isn’t going to retain juice.

Those who based their internal linking on my advice are not significantly affected by this change, and as this actually happened over a year ago, it is one of the reasons they have benefited.

The new PageRank sculpting could be looked on as advance information architecture, which was always the advanced PageRank sculpting

Expect a new WordPress SEO Masterclass soon, but it is unlikely to be free, and I would avoid following the advice of anyone who suggests conning your community using Iframes and Javascript for comments.

Update: Additional coverage worth a read @ Search Engine Land, Future Now & Search Engine Watch

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Comments

  1. says

    Back to the oldschool javascript links.

    But in a way, how bad can the “evaporating” be? Time will tell, I guess. I’m sure a lot of websites have to redesign their structure.

    • says

      It is impossible to determine the extent of the evaporating, but the evaporating would probably be similar to the way PageRank can evaporate with pages blocked with Robots.txt, which has happened for 10 years, in amounts impossible to really determine and quite possibly also variable.

  2. says

    I always unapprove some comments in my site if its come from nofollow site… :) actually I don’t wily understands about this post, seem I have to read it over and over.. btw..thanks for your info.

    • says

      If you don’t understand the post, just read some of the resources in the introduction or don’t worry about it – I highly doubt PageRank will evaporate from comment links in Google’s new implementation of the way they handle PageRank

  3. says

    its interesting to note that people are trying to beat the optimisation process by trying to get their sites to the top. this is obviously good for business, Google however, must work in a way that the important information which gets searched about reaches the user. so a lot of the old linking strategies are now obsolete in the sense that they were only used to boost business instead of abiding by the rules!

    • says

      Up until this point (after the techniques have been used for 6 years) Google has done nothing to discourage the use of dynamic linking using javascript and later nofollow, and in the video, which could be looked on as official, only recently released, Google (well Matt Cutts) is still suggesting that nofollow can be used on thngs like login pages.

      Imagine if you had a sales page for a membership site that only had 3 links, one to legal papers, one a design credit link, and the third to a login page.

      If the juice from the login link evaporates, then a third of the juice that could be passed to the 2 other links just evaporates.

      This isn’t about gaming Google, and SEO isn’t about gaming Google. Sure it is competitive, but the primary aim is to help good companies rank for the terms that end users are using to search for their goods, services or information.

      One of the more technical aspects is PageRank distbutribution – it is not just helping a single page rank higher, but ensuring that as many relevant quality pages of content are actually indexed and have a chance to rank.

  4. says

    Quite a few articles bouncing around about this over the past week, this is however by far the best!

    Good thoughts on the subject and it is something I will monitor.

  5. says

    I definitely agree that more people should read Revenge of the Mininet. I’ve printed it and read it three times and it is pure gold. My only constraint (to talk in Schrefren terminology) is that I still haven’t found a way that I can build the net (and keep it going) while still doing my normal day to day work. But hopefully I will some day because there is no doubt that it is powerful stuff.

    Mikael

  6. says

    It’s really interesting the points that you are making in your post . I don’t know why google is doing this big change! Let´s wait for more information coming from Google!

    Regards

    Cassiano Travareli

  7. says

    Hey Andy –

    I was at that SMX session to moderate the Q&A and really, didn’t take Matt’s comments as being quite as significant as some of the livebloggers did – it was very CuttsSpeak, and could just as easily be “spun” differently.

    “Maybe” Matt will actually say something clear about this at some point.

    What Danny Sullivan and others wrote up was along the lines of:
    PR(A) = (1-d) + d(PR(t1)/C(t1) + … + PR(tn)/C(tn))
    aka PageRank
    being applied in such a way that C(t1…n) is based on the total number of links on t1…tn, but PR(t1…tn) is only part of the calculation for A when a link from (t1…tn) is followed.

    Since that’s not the same old calculation, we have a little work to do.

    Leslie’s writing the code, we’re going to run all the “simulations” tonight to demonstrate what happens in that scenario, as well as illustrate how PageRank may appear to “evaporate” due to sculpting without modifying the algorithm at all, and I’ll have a detailed post up by Monday.

    I’m also, just for fun, writing up the paranoid conspiracy theory version of a new treatment of nofollow links, called the “BENDOVER algorithm.”

    • says

      Of the SMX coverage links, that is why you got the first.

      You almost gained a “Source of Knowledge” link too, but I think Leslie and Michael probably deserve the limelight a little more, though you benefit from the STSE links too. Looking forward to the Monday post, and the “takeitlikeaman” algo.

  8. says

    I was at the Matt Cutts Q&A during SMX Advanced. My take is this:

    = Google may just be looking to discourage users from aggressively using nofollow because they see it as potentially gaming their system
    = nofollow never really did what Matt Cutts said it did in the first place..

    I personally never got aggressive with nofollowing links but do it occasionally. Bottom line is Matt Cutts’ comments aren’t going to change my approach whatsoever…

  9. says

    I read at search engien land that google can read javacript now etc and that you should put the no follow tag at javascript as well…

    Strange but oh well

    I just have one question

    Wikipedia is no following all external links to other pages except theirs.Are they going to be devalued or smt liek that?

    Personally at one of my sites i no follow almost 97% od links to other websites trying to “direct” the linkjuice within my own website?

    Will this be dangerous for my website from now on?I am not afraid of a ban (i doubt it wil happen) i am more afraid of losing my rankings on several competitive terms that i have achieved so far…

    Thank you in advance and i am looknig forwar to an answer pls

    • says

      Nofollowing all external links is stupid – you just become like Wikipedia. You also end up gaining less links.

      If you read the post I mentioned I have seen no effect on Wikipedia rankings, but you would need to have a thorough understanding of PageRank calculations to understand why, which is why I included references where you can really learn this stuff.

  10. says

    I posted a similar comment as below at SEOMOZ but it have been ignored. So what do you all think here?

    My question is: If it is true that PageRank Sculpting was or is now a myth, what is with Bots Herding?

    For example:

    If page A has a followed link to page B, and the page B has a meta robots tag with a “noindex” directive, or using the unofficially supported my Google “noindex” directive (on my own risk), and page B has a link back to page A.

    What should I expect to happen in that case?

    • says

      Noindex doesn’t affect PageRank, at least not necessarily – pages with noindex accumulate PageRank and pass it on like before, though I have read a few people speculate that pages that are indexed might pass more meaningful juice, but that is speculation.
      I don’t noindex category and tag pages.

  11. says

    This is a interesting post Andy,
    I was introduced to Revenge of the Mininet early last year by Chad Kimball
    And now have 20 of my sites networked pushing every drop of link juice to the main site with the money page on. Is this still viable, or am I likely to lose rank and juice from the internal linking set-up.

    • says

      Most of the linking structures can be achieved without using Dynamic linking, though it certainly requires a little more thought

  12. says

    Dear Andy, Thanks for this informative post. I found it really helpful and I am going to exploit its ideas.

    Can you please elaborate more on your last comment: Most of the linking structures can be achieved without using Dynamic linking, though it certainly requires a little more thought

    Can you explain what you have in your mind?

    Thank you!

  13. says

    Hi! Thanks Andy for keeping me informed. I have a good earnings in my site because of information like these. I have learned a few things from you in a short period of time that I’ve been reading your posts.

    I have already a website but I still believe that there should be a continuous updates to experience continuous success. Thanks for being so good and sharing “gold mine” information like this.

  14. goddess strapless bra says

    I personally think pagerank is useless unless you are trying to sell links on DP.
    None of my sites have external links and I have not seen any changes to my PR or SERP’s.
    My PR has never dropped for my main pages only for internal pages and that’s because of the link structure I use (Designed it myself). I will keep an eye on this for a while to see if anything changes.
    No follow all external links make no sense at all there would be no votes for new sites and only the pages on your site could vote for the pages on your site. SERP’s would never change and Bing would be the best search Engine on the web.
    Well, Google has the smartest minds working in their labs so if they change the No-follow then I’m sure they will dream up something better. Just don’t change my SERP’s that’s all I ask please.
    Revenge of the Mininet is a great read by the way.

    • says

      You have no idea what PageRank any of your pages have, because you can’t see it.

      Toolbar PageRank has value, otherwise I wouldn’t get so many people looking to spam links coming to my blog.

      Then I delete their links, or their whole comment

  15. Cornelia Cunningham says

    In my opinion it’s a two way process. You give and you take. But this post is really informative and insightful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  16. says

    What Matt says makes a lot of sense… there are other ways to do PR sculpting.

    I do use nofollow to indicate page importance, so I hope they don’t change it that much.

  17. says

    Hey Andy. I think I’m still just as confused about Matt’s comments as ever.

    Let’s consider internal links only for a moment. Say you have 10 links on a page — 5 go to pages that you want good search results for, and 5 do not (such as login pages). The old thinking was that by no following the unimportant pages, you now passed MORE juice to the do follow internal links.

    From Matt’s comment, I’m assuming “evaporation” means that each link is created equal. Your no follow tells google where not to pass the juice. But it doesn’t add this juice to the do follow links. It’s like juice just spilling on the floor :)

    I’m just hard pressed to think he used a word like evaporation by accident. So that means that either google HAS adjusted (or is adjusting) their algorithm to reflect this decision. Or he lied (or more nicely put, he misled on purpose).

    • says

      I don’t think he lied, plus Matt is not one of the engineers designing this.

      Lots of decisions about how links are used depend on the order things are done.

      As an example, we know there are problems with nofollowed links and first link priority, and that is a clue for PageRank as well.

      If anchor text can count on a nofollowed link, that means that the nofollowed links are not totally removed from later calculations

      We also know they appear in Google’s webmaster tools

      What we don’t know, just like with links blocked with Robots.txt and creating hanging/dnagling pages, is whether all of the juice is lost, or just part of it, dpending of circumstances.

      We don’t even know whether links on different parts of a page influence PageRank in different ways. A login is sitewide, navigation link, not unique or even interesting anchor text, internal, maybe to SSL page etc etc. These are all factors that might reduce PR being passed even if the link isn’t nofollowed.

  18. says

    Very interesting… I have noticed that following Matt Cutts recommendations and getting your site in order before you try to really manipulate with authority from blog comments has value. Often times on brand new sites I will get one link to the site from an authority so that the site gets indexed. Then I will make weekly updates, and after the first 3 weeks or so I start obtaining links on an upward trend so that it looks natural and organic. Also, I focus on getting links from a wide variety of places:

    Forums
    Blog Comments
    Guest Blog Posts
    Directories (quality)
    Articles
    Internal Links
    EDU/Gov links
    Reciprocal links (only when necessary to obtain a great link)
    Links from other sites home pages

    That seems to work great for me, but I am sure a lot of tactics work great.

  19. says

    I’ve never been too big on nofollowing links for the purpose of controlling link juice flow anyway, simply because I never cared enough to do it much. Although I admit I have done it at times. I think it’s best just to focus on building links from several different sources and let the PR do whatever it’s going to do. But it is good to know what is happening with the extra PR if it’s not being sent to the followed links (evaporated).

    • says

      If you are building small sites it is easy to ignore, but when you are trying to get millions of pages indexed, or even your blog archives, it can become a major issue.

      You have major indexing problems on your site, and just adding more links isn’t going to help it.

      It is not something that necessarily needs nofollow – nofollow is just a tool we used to be able to use, and possibly still can, but just because you don’t use nofollow doesn’t mean you are not attempting to control the flow of PageRank

  20. says

    No one knows if pr sculpting really works or is true. What we should focus on would be the pagerank value as what Michael Martinez quoted.

    • says

      Michael didn’t disprove anything and as I discussed a while back, it is easy to prove that there is a need for PR sculpting, with or without the use of nofollow due to indexation problems even on Michael’s own blog.

  21. says

    This was a very insightful post. I certainly didn’t factor in the time it took me to read the post and all the links you referenced but it was well worth it.

    I have also noticed this being a hot topic on a lot of the seo blogs that are around but none have gone as deep as you have and made things a clear… thank you!

    Regards,

    Karl

  22. John Hunter says

    Interesting post. The evaporating page rank juice is interesting. It seems a bit strange of a way to deal with things but Google does have to keep changing to try and cope with people trying to game the system.

  23. says

    So is this saying that you can make certain links nofollow in order to increase the weight Google would put on each link on a site?

    Why would that matter when people are doing XML sitemaps where you can define the value of the page there?

  24. says

    There are some good ‘dofollow’ blogs .. commenting on these blogs could help to get some ‘juice’ from Google ranking.

  25. says

    I guess, that many things Matt will let us know, is only his meaning, and no one else at Google will think so than he.

  26. says

    Google’s pagerank and internal calculations seem like they change on a daily basis. As an entrepreneur, I am also constantly engaging in search engine optimizing efforts, and I’ve watched my results fluctuate on what seems like an hourly basis.

    I feel dofollow blogs are warranted in some cases, and can be abused in others. Until the search algorithms are open source and not black-box, there has to be tools for innovative start-ups to help get the word out.

  27. says

    That is a lot of great information. I don’t like the idea of nofollow making my PR come down. I hope google makes good decisions.

  28. says

    I find the use (or at least the introduuction) of nofollow to be such a strange concept. I undertsand that with so much blog spam out there webmasters will want to put off spammers by halting any juice transfer. But you have to think that if success in the SERPS is down to good content and ‘content is king’ then that should be the deciding factor, not whether your legitimate posts on blogs and forum is choked by nofollow.

    Also, if nofollow links start to reduce PR then will we find that true content sites start to slip and spammers start to climb as they begin to steer clear of nofollow environments and leave the real content creators to continue posting as they always have.

    I just find it had to believe that so much research at Google leads us to this point where the spammer will inevitably find a way through anyway.

  29. says

    I agree Google needs to make a clear statement. It does not affect most SEOs working on small sites. But, imagine if you are Rand (seomoz) working on large sites for clients and have been charging $$$$ to sculpt their Pagerank. What are you supposed to do?

  30. Hip Hop says

    I hate when Google makes this kind of changes because I have to start making changes in all my sites, but it’s ok if this will keep the web better! nice blog keep posting this kind of useful info!

  31. says

    As I have noted elsewhere, Andy’s report of indexing problems for the SEO Theory blog was in error. This kind of sloppy analysis doesn’t do any good for the SEO community.

    You cannot sculpt PageRank if you cannot measure it, and you cannot measure PageRank, so all the rallying cries for PageRank sculpting remain a waste of time and effort.

    • says

      Michael yes we had the discussion, and you continued to maintain an internal linking structure that limited the ability for Google to index all your content. Either PageRank sculpting or a good/better IA can help with that. I can’t see “air” a mixture of various invisible to the eye molecular structures, but I can sure blow out a candle.

  32. says

    I’ve learned about SEO, please guidance from you. One of the interesting in the world of blogging is about PR. I have several questions:
    1. I often give a lot of comment in the blog, whether automatically increase page rank?
    2. Do I have to choose a blog comment? such as a blog with PR1 and over, thank you hopefully be able to give an explanation for me as a beginner

    Best regard,
    A.herosandian

    • says

      Ignore PageRank when commenting, build relationships with people in your niche – it is just a bonus.
      If you have a lot of comments on your blog, based on clarification today by Matt Cutts, it could have a negative effect.

      Switch to using Disqus for comments

  33. Sassyqarla says

    I can see a lot of advantages if you have a high PR like 6 or 7, specially if your site is indexed by Google News. I still don’t know if the “follow” links are punished by Google.

  34. says

    Why is it THAT bad to become like wikipedia? :)

    Wikipedia is dominating the serps for many competitive terms….

    What is more from the discussion at Cutts’ blog i want to keep his statement that PageRank isn’t spread equally among links and hasn’t been for years and years

    So the big question is what technique do you think would be the most appropiate to apply on blogs?

    what should be no followed?

  35. says

    Thank you for the great SEO insight. I really appreciate reading about how to use SEO to increase page rank. I just really want to get away from the PR 0.

    Thanks!!

  36. says

    Anyone who is serious and has a real interest that has not read Revenge of the Mininet is missing out on some of the useful “need to knows”. Michael and Andy have a huge knowledge base which they draw on and share it which is the best news ! I do agree the ability to work and try to concentrate on your goals for your site itself are often a struggle but with all the information we can gather these days it will happen!

  37. says

    I've read this post twice now and I also read Matt Cutt's original post and I'm struggling to understand exactly what the answer is in regards to whether to add nofollow. I'm thinking of taking the nofollow attribute off my own blog and just ignoring it altogether (it will save some time in mucking around with the coding). Thanks for the mininet download, though. I'm going to go through that now until my brain gives out and see if it shed any light.

  38. says

    Most blogs following most WordPress SEO guides out there, would face extremely negative effects from this change, if it was the whole story

  39. says

    I have seen many websites got decent PR by just commenting on different blogs (both no-follow and no-follow). This may not be an ethical technique and can be termed as spamming if somebody posting irrelevant comments just for links. But websites are getting PR anyhow.
    Its really a serious matter of research.

  40. says

    Let me know a non payday loan site (that Matt Cutts would be happy I linked to) I should change all your links to. I welcome you as part of my community and your contribution, but multiple comments with multiple names, all from the same IP address to multiple micro payday loan sites is just “Extracting the Michael”

  41. says

    Let me know a non payday loan site (that Matt Cutts would be happy I linked to) I should change all your links to. I welcome you as part of my community and your contribution, but multiple comments with multiple names, all from the same IP address to multiple micro payday loan sites is just “Extracting the Michael”

  42. says

    Could someone explain why the use of javascript for PageRank sculpting is not really very good for accessibility? Does it have something to do with form validation?

  43. says

    Google claim they can now understand a lot of Javascript, and the links within, can pass juice.

    Accessibility of other devices is another matter.

  44. seoworkgroup1 says

    I can see a lot of advantages if you have a high PR like 6 or 7, specially if your site is indexed by Google News. I still don't know if the “follow” links are punished by Google.
    Thanks for sharing.

  45. sugarfreegum99 says

    Interesting writeup, I do use WP as my preferred blog software. Any news on your 'WordPress SEO Masterclass' and/or pricing information?

  46. says

    I hope the Google will not change heir policy about this.. Because if they will change, It will cause a lot of trouble specially on pr..

  47. says

    It isn't cheating the system, it is about optimizing the information architecture to get as much unique content indexed.
    If you have a site with 100,000+ pages of unique content, how you structure your site to get it indexed is important, and sometimes there are benefits in forcing Google to ignore certain links.

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