Google Changes to No-Follow on the Horizon?

PR Sculpting and Link Juice and No-Follow - Oh My

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We made a video at SMX Advanced with Stephen Spencer recently where we discussed (among other things) some changes expected(?) to be coming to Google in terms of the no-follow attribute.  These no-follow changes have some pretty significant implications for lots of things, first and foremost though it seems these changes are specifically geared to mitigate, to some degree, the effectiveness of PR sculpting.

Ever tried PR Sculpting?  Did you find it effective?  Let us know in the comments section.

Now, PR sculpting is a fairly advanced concept a lot of folks may not fully understand.  So, I figured I would try to provide some explanation of at least the general ideas involved.  That seems like the best way to go about explaining why Google is looking to make some sort of change in their treatment of no-follow.  If you understand PageRank sculpting, on other words, you will get why Google might not like it so much.

I expect I will have at least 5 people ‘way smarter than me’ hop in the comments or rip me in Twitter for leaving out ‘this’ or ‘that’ in terms of the subtle nuances of PR sculpting. My response to this would be; for the purposes of this article, the subtleties are immaterial.  So simmer down.  I would be remiss however if I didn’t add a little warning in here for people to thoroughly read up and make sure you understand PR sculpting before you start slapping no-follows all over your site.  You really can screw your site up if you do it wrong.

So what the heck is it anyway? I’m so glad you asked. We’ll start with the concept of your Page Rank ‘power’ or ‘authority’.  This is the overall ‘value’ of a given page in terms of how much ‘authority’ that page has to pass along via it’s outbound links.  You have no doubt heard people talk about ‘link juice’, that’s what link juice is.  The more important (in Google’s eyes) a page is, the more link juice it possesses.

Now think of your website as a bucket (or maybe an elegant punchbowl or some kind of fine china bowl if a bucket is too base of a mental image for you). Your bucket contains all of your link juice.  Now think of your outbound links as tiny holes in your bucket.  Your link juice flows through the holes and passes on your page’s authority.

Now, the PR sculpting theory holds that the more holes you have in your bucket, the more your link juice is spread around or diluted.  This is at least in part supported by the search engine accepted and approved concept of Crawl Efficiency (see the Vanessa Fox video or article for more on that).  Search engines aren’t going to spend forever crawling and indexing every link on every page, so the concept of crawl efficiency basically means you prioritize the important stuff for them.

How do you do this?  Well you stick no-follow attributes on non-important links.  PR sculpting theory takes this one step further and says that ALL outbound links count as a hole in your bucket, so you would then want to make more liberal use of no-follow to help direct the flow of the link juice.  For example; if you had navigation links at the top of your page, in the side bar and again in your footer, PR sculpting would say you add no-follow attributes to all but one set of them.  Less holes = more juice flowing through the holes that are left.  Get the idea?  Good.


Now, the hullaballoo at SMX Advanced had to do with some rumors or suggestions that Google may be going to change how they look at no-follow in relation to how the link juice is passed along.  So if you had, for example, 10 outbound links on a page and no-followed all but 2 of them, effective PR sculpting would funnel all of your juice through those 2 and not dilute it over all 10.  Google, being… well, Google, doesn’t like to have situations where people can ‘control’ the value of links – especially for the purposes of ranking better in Google.

Does Google need to make changes to manage the effectiveness of PR Sculpting?  What do you think?

So much buzzing and grumbling ensued when it was suggested that Google might not look at no-follow in quite the same way moving forward.  If you have 10 links and no-follow 8 of them in other words, they were still going to count you as having 10 holes in your bucket instead of sending more love to the 2 regular links you didn’t add no-follow to.

By the end of the show, there still hadn’t been much at all in the way of an official word from Google on the subject.  However, I very strongly suspect we will have one soon.  The implications for counting no-follow links ‘against’ you in terms of authority passing ability raises all sorts of difficulties. 

Stephan Spencer For one, let’s say you have a popular article that gets 500 comments.  Most everybody that leaves a comment also leaves a link.  Generally these links are no-followed.  If more links = some sort of diminished or diluted authority of a page, that would seem to suggest your fantastic article that got 500 comments was maybe not as good as an article that only got maybe 5 comments. 

Second, the whole no-follow thing was Google’s idea to begin with.  It’s very existence is arguably not much more than a Google helper to assist them in managing the whole link economy they created out of their heavy reliance on links as a ranking factor. 

Google hates paid links because paid links have the potential to impact search results and if you can buy links you can essentially raise your result in Google.  The problem is, paid links have been around longer than Google….  we used to just call them ads.  So, Google decided if you slap a no-follow attribute on a link, it meant you were not trying to pass your page authority on to that link and therefore weren’t being paid to elevate said link in their index.

Now, it seems like Google is starting to see people using no-follow to emphasize links via the PR sculpting thing and they want to do something about it.  A cynical person might say they sound like they are trying to have their cake and eat it too…  but a Google person would just say they are just trying to protect the integrity of their index.  Personally, I’m all for Google protecting the integrity of their index…  but I think it gets to a point when maybe they need to do something about their index’s over-reliance on inbound links as a ranking factor. Maybe then they wouldn’t have to sweat this sort of thing quite so much and/or dump the burden of link formatting and management off on the webmasters and the SEOs of the world.  Those guys have enough on their plate as it is.

Do you expect Google will make changes to the way they handle no-follow? Comment below

Google Changes to No-Follow on the Horizon?
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  • http://www.countrywiderate.info/ steve

    Thanks for an informative article. A must read for all webmasters.

  • http://frontofficebox.com Steve Reeves

    Thanks for the best explanation I’ve come across on links and how Google treats them.

    I think this whole area of inbound and outbound links and how they relate to page rank is pretty frightening, especially now I’ve read your illustration of the bucket.

    Is there a way of informing Google of outbound links which should be no-follow after it’s indexed them?


    • http://www.quotedotdot.com Quote dotdotdot

      Google will still “follow” and index a link that has the nofollow attribute. It just won’t transfer pagerank to the page linked to. The “noindex” meta tag will prevent Googlebot from indexing the link altogether.

  • http://www.thecampusherald.com Dan Laget

    Thank you for this article … I LMAO at

  • http://www.writtenbysumer.com Spencer Spellman

    I’ve heard talk about this for a couple weeks. I’m interested to see Google’s official response to this and more so, it’s implication. I know there have been a lot of questions and comments about pr, lately.

  • http://www.thecampusherald.com Dan Laget

    Ooopssss … I meant “… paid links have been around longer than Google…. we used to just call them ads. ”

    My Bad.

  • http://www.fashion-in-bag.com/ Replica Designer Handbags

    it is a good news or bad for us ?
    some blog’s comments would be manage by human ,or the ‘nofollow’ tag.

  • http://www.econceptinfotech.com emarketing service

    Google follow nofollow links and also couting nofollow links.

    i do not what is meaning of nofollow for search engines – Hemang

  • http://www.controldatainc.com Agencies collection

    Great information, too bad google keeps changing everything. I have noticed that a lot of sites jump around with google while msn and yahoo seem to keep an even pace as far as placement is concerned

  • http://www.softwarefordownload.org/ Software For Download

    Google did it to keep its quality and certainly its secret so no one would be able to detect its continually changed secret

  • http://www.seosean.com SEOsean

    Hey Mike or anyone who knows the answer, where did this information about Google changing no-follow links come from originally?

  • jc

    In my opinion google would eventually do something like this. Many companies make a lot of money off trying to get a clients page rank higher in google.

    This type of SEO (paid links, nofollow optimization) is in direct competition with google’s paid ads. Google wants businesses to spend their internet marketing dollars on them (ad words), not seo companies boasting the capability to bring the company to #1 search rankings.

    The good news is that google will never truly be able to dilute SOE strategies.

  • http://www.ultimateidx.com/ Mack McMillan

    This is an excellent article.

    Perhaps it is time for Google to consider the devaluation of inbound links altogether instead of constantly trying to manage it. Fresh content, page views and time on site are a much better indications of relevancy instead of inbound links anyway.

    Too much time is spent by webmasters on chasing down links in an effort to manipulate the SEPRS in my humble opinion.

    • http://www.icoastalnet.com Brandon Evans

      I totally agree with Mack’s comments above. When it comes to fighting to keep the integrity of their search results intact, Google should only combat those techniques that businesses and organization can BUY their way around – thus inbound links should be devalued in the algorithm (yes, some inbound links are earned not paid for…but come on. What percentage of links do you actually believe are earned not bought?). Then PR Sculpting would be the processes of funneling legitimately earned PR (fresh content, user friendliness, functionality, on-site techniques, etc).

  • http://www.seoskillz.com SEO

    Why anyone would place a nofollow tag, which means the page being linked to is not to be trusted, is beyond me……Ohh wait some hack cough “seo expert”…. thought (keyword = thought) this was a smart idea. Google must be laughing their asses off at all the so called experts.

    • http://www.boyddesign.com.au Tristan

      The whole no follow thing is a bit of a joke if you ask me. There are plenty of legitimate links marked as No Follow, that should, in theory, carry page rank. And there are plenty of Do Follow links that are rubbish. I would bet houses that Google is already passing “link juice” through No Follows in some if not all cases.

      • Mike McDonald

        “There are plenty of legitimate links marked as No Follow, that should, in theory, carry page rank. And there are plenty of Do Follow links that are rubbish.”

        I think this is the heart of the issue for me. It’s an excellent point and a really really good question. Take the comments on this one article for example. There are lots and lots of well thought out quality comments here. Are some of them just people saying ‘yes I agree/disagree’ and dropping a link? — sure… but the majority of them aren’t.

        To me it’s worse to think you are hurting yourself by following the ‘good guys’ simply because there are a few ‘bad guys’ in the bunch. So what is to be done? Follow everyone and take whatever ‘hit’ there may be, or nofollow everybody just to cover your ass…

        I just don’t know.

        Michael McDonald
        Follow me on twitter.com/mmcdonald”>Twitter!
        Managing Editor
        iEntry, Inc.

  • http://www.TheHomePageStore.com Rich Wendrock

    Thanks for a Excellent and Timely article!

    It is possible to have your cake and eat it too… but it is not possible to Eat Your Cake and Have it too… just want to clarify that point.

    • Guest

      Thats an awesome comment just had to poke my head in. Yeah once you eat your cake you can’t have it anymore can you. lol

      • Mike McDonald

        Does it not work both ways? If you intend to HAVE your cake, clearly you can’t eat it also… The order of the two is not significant as far as I’m concerned.

        Michael McDonald
        Follow me on twitter.com/mmcdonald”>Twitter!
        Managing Editor
        iEntry, Inc.

  • http://www.myexpresswebservices.com Eric Gourmet

    Google index’s over-reliance on inbound links as a ranking factor is a very good point to discuss… but is it? Or should we have the choice with two kind of results: one relying on inbound links, and the other one relying on what? This has to be define.

  • http://www.diamondonnet.com Diamonds

    Google hates paid links, when what the heck is Adwords? Its the same thing, also, our competitors get rewarded for these paid links. I’m confused with the double standards GOOG is setting up.

    • http://www.dtechweb-blog.com Rollins

      “….What the heck is Adwords?” I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve asked this question, hell! I wouldn’t even need Adwords anymore. Google hates paid links, and penalizes paid link publishers, yet they have the same Text link Ad networks who provide these inks at the very top of their Search Results. I’m slowly shifting away from SEM and focusing more on social media as a marketing tool, cos quite frankly I’m sick and tired of being tossed about like a helpless tree in the wind.

  • http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com Official Safety and Security

    I work hard to gain links for my safety and security web site so I was intrested in what this “no-follow” thing was all about. Thanks, Mike, for your “PR Sculpting for Dummies” explaination. It was both informative and entertaining.

  • http://www.PHWebMedia.com Link building strategies

    Yes, its another attempt by google to stop SEO experts from taking away business from google adwords. A very informative article. We will discuss more on this on our blog on link building strategies.

  • http://reddinglife.blogspot.com clita

    almost kinda get all this one of these days! If I just keep reading theses things over and over! :0 You article was very helpful in trying to understand that no-follow thing! I am reading J. Jarvis “What Would Google Do?” and I find myself very confused! I am an old Dinosaur trying to catch up with the Cheetas!

  • http://www.excellira.com Greg Hill

    Now the approach would be to remove the Nofollow so that the page you originally did not want to pass PR to would receive it and be able to pass PR to the rest of the site through internal linkage.

  • http://www.PremierNetClicks.com CSSteve

    Everyone understands why Google has used the no follow tag the way they have in the past. I really can’t understand why Google would now have any real tangible reason to stop web page owners from managing link juice with the no follow tag. For me, it has become a very useful tool for clients to manage who they give the juice away to. For example, many of my clients use CMS website solutions and/or corporate affiliate provided sites. These sites often have the corporate provider or CMS companies link at the bottom. Using a now follow tag on links of that nature stops the waste of their link juice to a totally non related industry. That is one of many examples of a use that I think is completely congruent with what Google hopes to achieve.
    Google would be over thinking an already great solutions just to try to garner complete control over the site owners. To me this is past the point of diminishing returns. I say, leave it be. Don’t go overboard on this Google.

  • http://www.alvindimla.com Jan Alvin

    can you imagine yourselves compared to google. We look like a boat pushed from coast to coast by the big waves (google). What I’m trying to say is how do they really determine a relevant search if they were to apply this? And now they’re saying that we should focus on branding?!

  • http://www.jolicosolarpower.com maxcook

    If the following statement is true:

    Google will still “follow” and index a link that has the nofollow attribute. It just won’t transfer pagerank to the page linked to. The “noindex” meta tag will prevent Googlebot from indexing the link altogether.

    ……..then what’s the point of using the nofollow noindex meta tag? I always thought the original and best use of that tag was for pages not yet meant to be seen, pages in development, pages that weren’t yet ready for prime time, to gauge their behavior on the web while tagged onto a working site, etc. Now are we to believe that Google WILL follow and WILL index these pages, despite our expressed desire to the contrary?

    BTW, good article and best illustration I’ve seen so far on pagerank sculpting………..Thanks.

  • http://www.bustercollings.com/blog buster

    the idea that googlebot is moving from 2D to 3D is huge.. on so many levels.. it’s hard to believe, but i’m beleiving.

    yes the nofollow attribute was short sighted. yes sculpting is rendered ‘almost’ pointless.

    just because links in comment sections (like here) have been around for a long time doesn’t mean that Google is going to build indexing and ranking around that stupid concept. there is a difference between comments(content) and links.

    i think the idea is that any available form of navigation (hyperlink or js redirection or whatever else) away from a page means that related and unique content for the subject matter exists in other locations than the originating page as highlighted by the originating page itself. therefore the more navigational ‘controls’ a page contains the less likely it is an authority of the subject matter and it’s just one of many sources. whereas a page that has fewer nav controls off the page must be identifying itself as a tighter more authoratative source of info regarding the subject matter.

    if this is true then Google is thinking… go ahead and have as many nav controls as you want… but we’re going to factor them all in. eventually webmasters will replace nofollows with NO LINKS.. except the important ones that simply need and deserve to be present.

    … what did schmidty say.. the web is full of garbage?? uhh huhh

    enjoy the freebie and paid links while you can.. and remember you helped give Google as much control as they have.. u know by using them for search, advertising, analytics, email, apps.. and then thinking m$ and privacy groups were stupid for claiming that Google might be overstepping…

  • http://makemoneyonlinefreenoww.com TriNi

    So I read (somewhere or another that I can’t recall right now) that on a blogger blog… all links are automatically no follows. Is this tru? Or do you still need to put in that no follow tag in order to raise SERP?

  • http://twitter.com/Connectionary Sean

    This highlights more of what some folks have been saying since most site owners put their fortunes in the hands of search engines, selling out to the idea of PPC and page rank.

    Search has become stale primarily because of search marketing as a business model. The easiest way to stop letting Google pull your strings is to simply quit worrying about search engines and focus on social aspects of marketing–the old word of mouth. Even looking forward to future PR and marketing models, it’s the one that will never change, never go away…unless people stop using the Internet. Evangelism, creating true believers and taking care of customers the way you wish those you do business with would take care of you…it’s so much less stressful and means less crap cropping up online.

    It’s the job of search engines to find good, relevant content, not to dictate document formats, coding, marketing strategy. So many people have it wrong it is scary. So-called SEO experts really ought to change their titles to SMAs for Search Marketing Advocates–after all, all they’re really doing is making money off promulgating search engine policies. They work for Google, but Google laughs because it pays them a pittance off some clicks instead of a yearly salary–which they deserve for working so hard selling search “this” and search “that” to people.

    Google has the greatest business scam going. It’s fooled millions into believing they need and depend on the company when it’s actually the other way around.

    Code your pages to standards. Do what YOU think is appropriate with the attributes of your links, and quit worrying already. If you have the most popular site in your niche and Google doesn’t index your site or lists it last, Google will eventually have to make its engineers actually earn their pay or it will become irrelevant. There are many more new search engines out there that are doing search in more innovative and arguably better ways.

    And really, I think most people are tired of Google AdWords and irrelevant and inappropriate contextual ads on scraped blogs. When I visit a new blog, if I see AdWords plastered about, I usually just close the browser tab/window and look elsewhere if I want good thinking and information to take in. Google’s business model is in large part funded by copyright infringers and spammers…why so many site admins and marketers want to be a part of that is beyond me. It’s the same sort of morally decrepit/irresponsible attitude that put us in a global financial crisis and had Apple letting a video game about shaking a baby to death hit the market.

    Search engines are passing into irrelevance as things stand. If people are talking about, blogging about your site, passing links and spreading word of mouth, search engines will find your content…or not. People who are truly interested in some topic as it relates to you WILL find you if you actually have something worth saying.

    Others will tell them.

    Too many SEOs are spammers, unethical, and simply blogging crap so there’s some content of some sort of text off to the side of their ad spaces. They’re are those other sort of SEO’s, those hanging most tightly on every word of the biggest search engine, making money without regard for any business ethics beyond perhaps the thought that they did not rob someone at gunpoint to pay the light bill.

    • http://blog.superbhosting.net Jason Barnes

      This is so true! Should probably be an article on its own really, and people should listen up. The users who constantly rely on Google are the ones that give the search engine all this power. I agree that there a good portion of SEO efforts are spam-ish, but can you blame them?! You almost have to do those things to keep up with the competition…

    • http://alert.sqwark.me Guest

      This is the best comment I’ve read. SEO’s are the modern day used car salesmen, and we know what’s happened to that market! I have pages that have no keywords or even a description that rank higher than perfectly sculpted w2.0 pages. I have pages that have excellent content and no ads that rank lower than pages with high ad content. Imagine if I’d paid a SEO to manage them all for me. What a waste of time and money!

      Google is what google does. Many people are starting to run multi engine searches these days, their day in the sun will only continue as long people ‘buy’ into the delusion. My highest access hit pages come from word of mouth, social network friends information link sharing (SNIFLS! lol put that in your pipe and smoke it!), good products and good content produces results. Not nerdy apple bite tinkering with code, people buy or visit material that works. You can even do a phd in SEO these days, a world lost up its own code hole if you ask me!

      I don’t like google either but its like saying you don’t like sharks, its an ocean and they are a big part of it, so lets just start giving them and their symbiotic ultra code suckers (SUCS!) a big miss on searches and return the web search to an information tool rather than a fecal used code spam yard (FUCSY)

    • Steve

      Love the way you think Dude. 

      “Google has the greatest business scam going. It’s fooled millions into believing they need and depend on the company when it’s actually the other way around.”

      What would Google do if every website had 

      User-agent: googlebot
      Disallow: *

      In robots.txt file LOL :-) no Google no more.

      So is anyone going to try the above sorry but I don’t have the carriage.

  • http://www.terryreeves.com Terry Reeves

    Then why are the sites on page one for any very competitive search phrase buying links to rank. Paid links equals higher rankings. If Google removed the sites in the index that had paid links pointing at them, the first two pages of search results for most trafficked searches would look completely different.

  • http://www.chileflora.com Guest

    I would suggest to revise the style of this author. I am reading from time to time Webpronews and find interesting stuff there, but when someone has obvious problems with expressing clearly the ideas… even if they may be interesting… the style, the style!!!!

    • Guest

      I would suggest this commenter check the style of his comments. I have read this comment many times and still have no idea what he is trying to say. It doesn’t make any sense – at least not in English – the language – the language!

    • Doc

      I would say that the author expressed his ideas quite well…certainly more capably than your comment would suggest you are capable of.

      I think you’d do well to keep in mind that the purpose of this newsletter is to communicate issues that are pertinent to web communities and the professionals that serve them. If you are more interested in style, perhaps you’re looking in the wrong genre.

  • http://www.imjustsharing.com Mitch

    I like your final point about Google needing to find another way. Truthfully, I wonder how much money it would cost someone to manipulate themselves to the top of the SERPS for some search terms. And, by the way, doesn’t Google already promote that by taking paid advertisement which lists people at the top, ahead of people who potentially got to #1 the right way?

  • http://www.docuprosys.com/ Equipment_Man

    Perhaps Google should be looking at something other than code to determine a page’s relevance to a search.

    I suspect they already do to some extent, but it’s obvious little details that have little to do with content and popularity of a website still play a part in search results.

    I’d like to see a website that can be found on page one of Google’s search results page w/o having to invest in SEO, which really is there to fix holes in Google in the first place.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/coffmancommunications Bruce W. Coffman

    I know it would just make things way too simple, but… why can’t you just create a good website with good content and have the same chance as everyone else of building good page rank? It seems that every time Google makes a change to it’s indexing/page rank policies, it only hurts the little guys who don’t have IT teams working on ways to outsmart their system.

  • mktgbill

    It sounds to me like Google might be watching for those trying to “bottle” link juice. I’m guessing they’ll be looking for overuse considering they can still see what links are on a page and what percentage of those are no-followed. Moderation and no-following in a logical way will be the answer.

  • http://ripsychotherapy.com Mike A.

    I haven’t used no-follows so far. And I get great results for my keywords. But now I’m wondering if I’d do even better w/ some select no follows. Yet again I don’t want to anger the Google bot if they are turning against no follows. Thanks for the article, it was clear and has given me a lot to think about.

  • http://www.diveintothepool.com Barrett

    I use no-follow links on all inbound links that require the user to be logged in. Makes perfect sense that those pages wouldn’t need any associated PR so why pass it on.

    I’ve become more and more frustrated with Google but without focusing on the number one search engine it would be very had to see how your page is listed for your users to find you.

  • http://potpolitics.com You changed yours to no follow ?

    this site was do follow now I see RED
    You just went out like every other sucker site
    make yours followed and comments no follow
    and switch it wasn’t like that not to long ago :(
    what’s up with THAT ?

    • Mike McDonald

      Well, it’s just a little experiment We aren’t set either way just yet. I have been looking at the pro’s and con’s of no-follow for a long time. (See my take in the comments section of http://www.webpronews.com/insiderreports/2007/02/14/saying-heck-no-to-nofollow that article). That was 2007. So don’t panic yet. I’m on your side.

      Michael McDonald
      Follow me on twitter.com/mmcdonald”>Twitter!
      Managing Editor
      iEntry, Inc.

  • Guest

    I can expect some change, but i dont like it. Sometimes, nofollow is a good thing, such as when linking to a page on your website you really dont want ranked or when linking to pages that have no relevance search engine wise, such as a login page.

    People have been mis-using it, such as putting nofollow links in their posts on blogs or on comment pages. Nofollow should NOT be put on valid links just to improve or maintain your rank. That is abuse of the system.

  • http://www.seosandiegoca.com SEO San Diego

    I see no follow as something that has not worked out and it’s time Google pulled the plug on it. As far as paid links being shunned, a lot… and I mean AAAAHHHHH LOT of my competitors have paid links and it certainly doesn’t appear to hurt their rankings.

    When did this site become no follow, btw?

  • http://newhomesbyrichard.com Richard Stabile Bergen County Real Estate

    It is a big problem; I think that google did this nofollow to try to alleviate spam. It turn into a hold different thing. I think that this is a very impossible situation to solve because the basis is one of manipulation.

  • http://www.dgswilson.com/ Doug Wilson

    Yes, that was interesting. The only problem I’m having is I chose to use the china bowl instead of the bucket. The suggestion, that I could opt for the china bowl, was made before we got to the “holes leaking juice part”. Anyone can get holes in a bucket. So now, while everyone else has a working visual aid – I have this bowl. It’s china. Now what?

    • Mike McDonald

      You can get a hole in china…. might take some special equipment, but you can get it done. You just gotta WANT IT, baby.

      Michael McDonald
      Follow me on twitter.com/mmcdonald”>Twitter!
      Managing Editor
      iEntry, Inc.

  • http://gardengnomesjourney.blogspot.com My Journey

    Since Google decided to lower my PR on 2 of my blogs, I am concerned about getting it back. I spent yesterday doing a bit of SEO on my blogs by adding meta tags and submitting them to search engines. What I didn’t think about was the No Follow issue. I’ve heard about it but just didn’t pay much attention. So when I came across your article through Twitter I was quite interested. I like how you explained No Follow in easy terms! Thank-you. I think I’m basically going to not worry about the No Follow issue. Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed more search engine traffic from other than Google and Twitter really seems to be the way to go lately. It’s true that Google has it’s hand in everything but if the regular Joe Blow stopped using Google, stopped using Adsense and Adwords well, Google would just have to change their thinking a bit, wouldn’t they?

  • http://blog.superbhosting.net Jason Barnes

    Great article on PR sculpting, and it highlights a few points that don’t get enough attention. Google likes to control everything – OF COURSE nobody should be able to affect their God-like indexing of the Internet; OF COURSE paid links are bad (unless they’re from Google); OF COURSE you can’t have a page with only ads (unless you use AdSense for Domains).

    Anyone who thinks Microsoft is the darkside needs to rethink. Big Brother, sorry Google, is watching! It’s tough, but we need to spread our searches to Bing and Yahoo! so we take Google down a peg or two!

  • http://uinversities.com/ abang

    Nice info …
    very usefull if google change to no-follow

  • http://www.dtmagazine.com Bing-0

    All set up for Google, by Google. One word: BING!

    C ya

  • sam

    IMHO, your analogy of leaked china or bucket to explain the process of PR link juice was quite vivid but I disagree with that. We know that technocrati and ning are two major websites that allowing its subscriber to put links and benefits it’s link juices. Millions of subscribers, but their PR hold still, not leaked to dry!
    I prefer to analogy like this:
    PR is like love of a mother to her children. No matter how much she pass on her love, she still have that very love 100%, not leaked!
    So, IMHO, a website can pass on it’s link juice without losing it’s PR.
    How about that?

    ps. so many comments!, I doubt that you read all the comments ..:)
    If you do, please notify me on samnugroho@ymail.com
    I would like to hear your opinion on my comment.

    • Mike McDonald

      I read them. And i like your analogy… “PR is love”.

      Beautiful man. That’s poetry. Pure poetry ;)

      But, in terms of my analogy of the bucket. It is clumsy. But, with PR, the ‘juice’ in the bucket, is a constant. Your bucket always has it’s amount. It’s how that authority runs thru the site that is the key dynamic of PR sculpting.

      Like I said, I realize there are plenty of limitations to my analogy. I am just trying to help some folks kind of get their mind around the basic concept behind PR Sculptng and link juice and all that.

      Michael McDonald
      Follow me on twitter.com/mmcdonald”>Twitter!
      Managing Editor
      iEntry, Inc.

    • http://www.strangecorp.com CassHeaphy

      Hi Sam,

      You may disagree with the analogy, but I am afraid you would be wrong. PR flow is entirely calculable and predictable, and external links from a web page do draw PR from the website. Unless the “flow” of PR inbound exceeds the outbound flow then PR drops – it’s just a question of how far. Therefore the more external links your website has the greater the probability that PR will be reduced.

      The key factor in the websites you cite is there size. With each page starting with a PR of 1 (0.85 dampening factor) large websites have more initial PR to bleed out. Factor that with inbound “love” and you can see why big sites full of content and well thought through IA do well as the “internal” PR gives them a head start.

      The classic example of the above that also “sculpts” PR is Wikipedia where all external link are no-follows. This is to stop spam, but the net effect is PR sculpting.

      For a working model of PR go to my old colleague Mark Horrell’s website here http://www.markhorrell.com/seo/pagerank.asp and you can model PR based on Page & Brin’s original algorithm formula.


  • Andy Dj.

    “PR evaporation by no-followed links” makes no sense for outbound links, for the reasons given here, and more. But for internal links it is a different story.

    Are you sure they were not referring to internal no-follows only? It doesn’t sound bad that PR sculpting was replaced by a plain “no indexing” of pages that don’t add value to Google’s SERPS. Regarding the pages that do, to know which are more valuable, Google probably prefers using other criteria.

    • http://sexypantz.co.uk knickers

      I agree that it seems like a swoop on internal linking structure. No Follow on an outbound link is the only way to get a paid link on a page without scuppering your own page rank, Its the only way to protect your PR from SPAM links. Why would Google start devaluing a page when you’re trying to protect yourself?

      Internally, sculpting is used to pass pagerank from one page to another relevant page without it leaking to non-relevant pages.

      We use it to ensure all our “Bras” link juice stays within “Bras” and isn’t passed to “Socks” or “Knickers”. I honestly feel this is a legitimate way of giving Google a heads up on our site structure and keeping the juice where it belongs. Not so much a Bucket as a set of cups.

      If they’re going to devalue this technique for internal structures, then I’m sure we’ll notice very quickly as soon as the algo is updated. Not to worry though, won’t take long to fix and experience tells me you get a slight “Pat on the back” for fixing problems that get punished.

  • http://www.sebastyne.net Sebastyne

    I think Google should just hush up and NOT reveal how they rank the pages. If nobody knew how pages are ranked, it wouldn’t be so easy to manipulate the system. Of COURSE they’re going to get false ranks when people start changing their habits and processes to do SEO, and then Google HAS TO make changes to stop the manipulation of their system. Google should do their best to reflect the real value of a page, not make it a competition of who has the best SEO-expert on board.

  • http://www.searchen.com John Colascione

    The whole no-follow thing seems to be getting way out of control….. A good use of the nofollow tag is to prevent un-editorial link credit. For example, if you place a link on your site and you have reviewed the link and you post it, then it does not necessarily need a nofollow tag (in my opinion)… On the otherhand, if you have forums, classifieds, and other publicly postable areas on your site, any links posted publicly by users which are not editorially reviewed should automatically have the nofollow attribute attached.. That seems like a fair use of the nofollow tag…. It’s the site owners way to say: “Hey, we haven’t even checked this link so you may want to skip it”… I think the nofollow tag is best used to warn the search engines that a link may not be trustworthy. It’s probably what it was originally intended for. Maybe not so much of the webmaster PR / SEO crazyness it is being used for now….

  • http://CommonSenseLiving.com Carole

    I totally agree with you that the whole ranking based on links is the problem. The whole system is a mess.

  • http://www.wealthyaffiliateincomes.com jitendra


    That was a great article.Very interesting indeed.A sound Linking
    strategy and great content are essential to success.


  • http://www.logicserve.com Sam Thomas


    A very good article!

    People have misused Google’s dependency over outbound links as a ranking factor for a website. It is high-time that Google changed their strategy by giving more importance to content and internal linking where by maintaining referential integrity of a website.


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