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Monday, June 8, 2009

Wasted PageRank Sculpting, and JavaScript Links Needing Nofollow

Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Roundtable a couple of days ago highlighted two interesting points from the SMX Advanced conference. Based on information Google’s Matt Cutts offered, Barry says (but please take this with a grain of salt until Google clarifies the issues officially):

  1. that when you have say 10 links and you nofollow 5 of them, you won’t gain anything – PageRank-wise – for the remaining 5 links (but basically, you have thrown away PageRank). Webmasters trying to “sculpt” the PageRank of their sub-pages by carefully adjusting nofollows on their stronger-PR homepages and the like may be surprised that their tactic may not be successful.
  2. that people are now required to use the nofollow attribute even on links which execute JavaScript to forward to the text ad target page. The reasoning behind this is that as Google gets smarter about following links, including JS-based ones that are somehow contained within onclick events, there is need to adopt nofollow even for these special cases (if they’re advertisement links, that is).

I’ll be updating this post if there will be an official word from Matt/ Google, like an adjustment to some of the details of above. Also worth noting that even if point #1 is correct as it is, Google may update their algos in the future, so it might make more sense to simply output your site with mostly the user (and the general HTML specs) in mind.

[Thanks WebSonic!]

Update: Matt Cutts has now written a post on PageRank sculpting. He confirms that yes, you can’t increase the PR of remaining links if you make say half of them nofollow. He also mentions how it might not be a good idea to nofollow most outgoing links, because just as Google would punish links to a bad neighborhood, they may reward links to good sites.


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