Posts Tagged ‘Pagerank’

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.

—David Blizzard

Bought and Paid (Links)

I was reading a blog post on another SEO site and the post was explaining why you shouldn’t sell or buy links that pass pagerank. I thought “this could be interesting” to see someone else’s take on paid links. For the most part it explained how it’s against Google’s guidelines to pass juice in exchange for payment. Nothing new but the next article I read on that blog, by the same author, was about how he was trading or bartering with other website owners for links that pass page rank. I’m thinking to myself “wait a minute” you just finished a post about how it’s a bad idea and your competitors could turn you in and then you act like you have discovered the holy grail. In my opinion you are still paying for the links even if it’s not for cash and worse yet, you have just disclosed to the world (Google) that you are buying and selling links that pass juice or page rank.
Before I add my thoughts on paid links you can review the Google Guidelines for buying and selling links.

As far as buying links goes I recommend that you avoid link farms and uncategorized directories they are most likely the types of spam Google is trying to avoid and will eventually penalize if they haven’t already. I do encourage press releases with embedded URLs. One could argue that you are paying for the link but realistically I think you are paying for the press release and if someone picks it up then you are apparently a valid source for their service and deserving of the juiced link. You had what they wanted to offer, you didn’t directly pay them if you paid a press release service so I feel this is safe and whitehat. I also think that a well organized directory that has valid traffic should be allowed to pass pagerank even for paid listings. They invest in building and maintaining a quality product that others choose to join and as a value-add they pass juice, is that so wrong? We can only hope that this is one of Google’s exceptions to the rule. A good example is Best of the Web they have been around for a while and they have a well organized directory. They still pass rank and it would be a shame if Google penalized anyone for subscribing to that directory. This quote is attributed to Matt Cutts of Google, “We tend to look more at the quality of the directory than whether it is SEO related”. I think that clearly states that a quality directory is safe as long as its ultimate goal is to drive traffic and not squeeze juice. We maintain a business directory for our town and we often wonder if we would be penalized if we didn’t use the nofollow tag. It would be nice to offer that as a value-add to our “edit your listing” service but the unknown result is not worth the gamble. We have manually added local businesses to the directory and for a subscription fee we allow the owner to edit the content and add their URL. After further review we might remove the no follow if it’s a quality website.

In the end I would use this rule: If you are buying the link for pagerank then it’s probably a bad idea. If you are buying a link on a quality, high traffic site that has relevant content or a relevant section and they just happen to pass juice then you have probably found a gem. Just remember, Google could kill the pagerank value you are receiving from that link at any time by penalizing that site so be sure the purchase is worth the traffic without the juice.

—David Blizzard