Pagerank Sculpting and the NoFollow Tag

There is a renewed buzz on some SEO blogs about the nofollow tag and pagerank sculpting that I would like to address. First let me say that I am often amazed at the different ways people find to take advantage or to expand on the use of something new. rel=”nofollow” is about 4 years old now (Search Engines Join Google and Adopt nofollow) and the ways it gets used sometimes seems to be a long way from the initial design. It’s almost like people are always after an angle. It wasn’t always that way but you see it in almost every industry now. New laws are put under a microscope as soon as they are passed and someone always seems to find an angle to use it in ways it was never intended. This is how I feel about some of the recent articles I have read about using “no follow” for sculpting or to improve internal pages. What happens is a few start using something in ways it was never intended and then others join in because they feel left out or at a disadvantage because they aren’t pushing the limits. On one hand you get the big sites that horde juice while we all let the juices flow freely back to these big companies. On the other hand you get new blogs popping up daily that turn off nofollow and in an attempt to give the big boys the finger they encourage everyone to post comments and “feel the love”. Worse yet is the misguided use that results from ignorance. My recent readings and observations have helped me establish the following guidelines for nofollow.

  • Un-moderated user added comments, posts, and guestbooks should be rel=”nofollow” by default. (original intent)
  • Moderated comments and posts that require no follow should be considered for editing or deletion.
  • Even moderated blog comments should have A nofollow on the poster’s website link (usually linked to their name). If his or her website is relevant then the comment should have an embedded link to the relevant content. (We are currently working on this at
  • If  a web editor creates an internal link and feels the need to add a nofollow he should question where he ever got this idea from and then consider using his robots.txt file or consider adding valuable content to the linked page.
  • If a web editor creates an external link and feels the need to add a nofollow tag then he should question the need for the link.
  • If a link is pointing out something like a spammy site or malpractice or anything negative then nofollow is probably the right choice.
  • If a webmaster has a links page or friends page and is using nofollow tags then he should probably just dump the whole page, obviously they are not relevant links, if they are relevant then pass the pagerank they deserve.
  • If you have paid links on your site then you should use nofollow unless you have a well designed and organized site like a directory or product finder. Just be sure the site’s main purpose is to drive traffic to the links and not juice.
  • The benefit of passing pagerank should always be a by-product of quality content. Content should never be created just to pass pagerank or “link juice”.

Let me know your thoughts.

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One Response to “Pagerank Sculpting and the NoFollow Tag”

  1. I like the last part the most 🙂

    “The benefit of passing pagerank should always be a by-product of quality content. Content should never be created just to pass pagerank or “link juice”.”

    Definitely agree.. People have got things so twisted… What a mess 😉