Toolbar Pagerank | Ball Linking

Google have finally updated their toolbar pagerank for this site, not just on the front page, but also a lot of the deeper pages. Not all of them – some of those devoid of pagerank should probably have some, others probably shouldn’t especially moved content that hasn’t been given enough love.

As I have discussed in the past, when discussing blog internal linking, for this blog I am doing “massive ball linking”.

Ball Linking or Structured

Links come into the blog from various places and to specific content. By using tagging and related posts on each page (maybe a few too many now), whatever pagerank, trust and relevance that a page is given, get passed onto other relevant content.

It also gets passed onto people who leave comments or trackback. When you link to me from your blog posts, the juice flows back – sometimes more, sometimes less, but it is all relevant links – just what the web is all about.

I suppose you could look on this as a “organic garden” approach. Just let things grow wild, and only interfere if something needs drastic change.

I haven’t been overly worried about the multiple forms of duplicate content that are typical on a WordPress blog.

Exactly Why I Don’t Worry About Duplicate Content

First of all I discussed this a little not so long ago, in particular about duplicate content and supplemental results.

Matt Cutts isn’t worried about honest duplicate content

Proof – Matt Really isn’t worried

First of all lets take at look at Matt’s robots.txt file

User-agent: *

Then you can look at the metadata on all Matts duplicate content pages

Category archives – I am going to link to his seo glossary, I am sure it doesn’t get many links.
Date Archives
Sequential pages – lets go back in time a few pages

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
<title>Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO &raquo; Movies/Videos</title>
<meta name="generator" content="WordPress 2.0.7" /> <!-- leave this for stats -->
<meta name="robots" content="noodp">

Basically he lets the search engines work out what is going on.

There are simple plugins out there to prevent these pages being indexed and followed in various ways, but Matt Cutts doesn’t worry about it.

The Wayback Machine

Yep, more duplicate content – Matt doesn’t block them

Matt Doesn’t even block the login page to his WordPress installation – that same page appears over 2 million times on the web.

Let it Flow

OMG I am wasting all that Google Juice that I worked so hard for!

Or maybe not…

Google Juice is liquid… it flows, it you give it a direction to flow in.

Whilst you may give a page with duplicate content some juice, that juice flows back out to other pages. Just because that page might end up in the supplemental results, doesn’t mean the Google juice is being wasted.

Some blog designs unfortunately place too much emphasis on the most current content. They don’t use tags, their date archives are accessed by a silly calendar widget on the front page, and they don’t have any other routes for pagerank to flow.

Structured Linking

It is possible to use only a very structured linking system for a blog, but it is important to think about relevance. In Revenge of the Mininet there are some great linking structures defined. They would be ideal for highly “niched” sites.

Many blogs, including this one, cover a wide multitude of subjects. A carefully constructed linking structure would be much harder to define and you might lose the benefit of giving relevance to specific pages.

Structured Relevance?

Some duplicate content pages give great, maybe even enhanced relevance to content.
Date archives in many blog designs are not very helpful. If date archives and previous pages are used as the primary navigation to previous content, and path for search engines to take, you really aren’t giving your content any justice or longevity.

Content Longevity

Lets look at some of my internal pages for longevity

How a Blogroll can kill your Pagerank – 2 month old post, linked to a few times in posts, but it appears a lot on pages due to tagging and using related posts – currently PR4

NoFollow and Pink Boxesalso PR4

Some posts on UTW Tips – both PR3

Ultimate Tag Warrior SEO Tricks (pt 1)
UTW – Tagging SEO Tricks (pt 2)

From browsing around, I have discovered that the Google Toolbar Pagerank isn’t completely comprehensive, as I have posts that should have PR4 that don’t. One of them was my highest ranking page in November and December.

It was hard to find a post that hadn’t been later referred to in a more recent post but this is a good example:-

No NoFollow &

That post is again PR3, and didn’t receive any specific direct love from outside links or internal links in posts. It did benefit from tagging, and related posts.

This time around I didn’t tag and categorize my old content from my blogspot domain. Almost all of that content didn’t receive much pagerank love unless it had been linked to directly.
I am going to see if for the next update it can be revitalized.

How much of your old content retains visible pagerank?

It is actually still difficult to compare, because so many pages still haven’t received pagerank they probably deserve. Even Matt has some pages that are linked to from PR6 categories that show a toolbar pagerank of zero such as

I would link to it directly with a live link, but I don’t want to ruin the example

For one of Matts posts that one probably received a lot less inbound links

Yes that is a Yahoo link – wouldn’t it be nice to have a “-all” flag on Google searches to list everything below Google’s threshold as well, even if it is just an aid for webmasters to find splogs.


Matt is a busy man, maybe he hasn’t had time to optimize and avoid all these duplicate content issues but I really believe it is nothing to worry about, and Matt might just be demonstrating this with his own blog.

You can aim for a more focused structure on a blog, using various forms of dynamic linking but it is not something easy to achieve yet with any platform.

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  1. says

    I don’t think Matt’s blog is the best one to use for examples. After all, Matt’s blog would still be popular if he had no pages indexed at all. His position with Google and his place within the search community assures him of a level of popularity that the majority of are unlikely to ever achieve.

    So for the rest of us that have to rely on search traffic, it still makes sense to squeeze as much out of our sites as we can and that includes “guiding” search engines to where we want them to go and “suggesting” that they ignore what we don’t think is important.

  2. says

    Matt was used as an example because he was recently talking about supplemental results and duplicate content, and to let Google work it out.

    If your pages don’t leak massive amounts of juice, you don’t have to worry about the juice being wasted, because it flows around – it is lossless

    If you have major leaks, for instance more links to Technorati on your front page than to your own content, that is something to fix.