SEO Corner: Google PageRank Sculpting For SEO Profit
: by Dante Monteverde :
The practice of Google PageRank (PR) Sculpting has been gaining a lot of momentum but remains a highly debated topic. Specifically, will PR Sculpting actually increase the Google PageRank on the pages to which you are trying to pass link value, or link juice? To determine if this technique will increase the likelihood that your Web pages rank highly for your selected keywords and lead to more traffic, let’s take a close look at PR Sculpting – the different ways you can implement it, how it can benefit your site, and whether this technique should be included in your overall SEO Strategy.
What is PR Sculpting? Where did it come from, and how do you do it?
PR Sculpting, also referred to as “Siloing,” is the practice of attempting to control the flow of PageRank within a website. Google PageRank, originally developed by Google founder Larry Page, is one of the many factors that determine the search engine rankings on Google. A numeric value from 0-10 is assigned for each page on the Internet, indicating the importance of that page in the eyes of Google. The higher the number, the more authoritative the page is considered.
Google PR Sculpting is done by adding the rel=”nofollow” attribute value to a link tag. This tells the search engine spiders that I am linking to a Web page but I don’t want to pass on any link value to that page. However, the NoFollow attribute is not meant to prevent content from being indexed by the search engine spiders. If you want to block the search engines from accessing a specific page altogether, the proper method is still a robot.txt file. But unless you want to knowingly pass on link juice to a linked page, you should always use the rel=”nofollow” attribute when linking to an outside domain(s).
The concept of the rel=”nofollow” tag was originally designed in 2005 by Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam Team and Jason Shellen from Blogger.com. The original intention was to cut down on the amount of comment spam that was infiltrating Internet forums and blogs. SEOs discovered that if they commented within these Web channels with keyword-rich text links they were gaining valuable one-way incoming links. Not only was this cluttering the Internet with useless comment spam but it was also affecting the search engine results pages (SERPs.) While the effectiveness of the rel=”nofollow” tag to combat comment spam is debatable, it has provided a means for which webmasters could link to another site without passing valuable link juice.
The rel=”nofollow” attribute is not just applicable to Google. Currently, all three major search engines (Google, Yahoo, and MSN) recognize the NoFollow tag. Ask.com does not at this time. So you should assume that if you use a NoFollow tag the search engines will “Not Follow” your link and not be able to index that webpage. While it is possible for the search engines to index your Web pages from other external domains and pages linking to your website, these domains are out of your control. Therefore, if those links were to be removed, you run the risk of your pages being removed from the search engines’ indices. To combat this you should always have both an HTML and XML Sitemap to provide an easy way for the search engines to find your pages. In addition, make sure that you place a NoFollow tag on links pointing to your Sitemap.
If you are considering employing the practice of PR sculpting on your website(s), be sure to read Website Magazine’s digital edition for detailed guidance on the steps you will need to take, and the implementations of PR sculpting you should avoid.
Dante A. Monteverde is a Search Strategist specializing in Search Engine