Google’s No-Follow Change and PageRank Sculpting

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1 year back Google changed how it handles no-follow tag but they have now made this change public. The change is to stop “PageRank Sculpting”. PageRank sculpting, is the process of using the nofollow attribute internally to change the PageRank flow among different pages. The objective is to give more PageRank value to some pages (the ones that sell something, for example) at the expense of less important pages (the Privacy Policy or Terms of Service, for example).

Earlier this month, Google’s Matt Cutts sent a shockwave through the advanced SEO community by saying that site owners could no longer perform “PageRank sculpting” using the nofollow tag in the way they’d previously thought. Now Matt’s posted more explanation about the change.

Here is a quote from that post that summarizes the change:

So what happens when you have a page with “ten PageRank points” and ten outgoing links, and five of those links are nofollowed? Originally, the five links without nofollow would have flowed two points of PageRank each (in essence, the nofollowed links didn’t count toward the denominator when dividing PageRank by the outdegree of the page). More than a year ago, Google changed how the PageRank flows so that the five links without nofollow would flow one point of PageRank each.

Daniel Socco at DailyBlogTips has given an excellent explanation of this change and how it is going to effect us.

In other words, the usage of the nofollow attribute will still stop the page that is being linked to from receiving PageRank and anchor text value, but the PageRank that is being “saved” with the nofollow links won’t flow to the other links present in the linking page.

Google want to stop PageRank Sculpting, its fine but this change is negatively effecting bloggers. This change is going to encourage blog spam and also pages will have low PR. All the links on your comment section are reducing the PageRank that would otherwise flow to your internal pages. Google might do something to fix this problem, but we still got to hear about it.

Is there any solution to this problem? You might close your comments section that is not a reasonable thing to do. Or you can use an iframe or Javascript based solution to keep comments out of same page.

If you’re using WordPress you can edit your theme to remove commentators URL.

Do you have any solution? Share it with us in our comments section.

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3 Comments

  • Mike says:

    Interesting post. However, I don’t see how this change will

    if as Daniel Socco pointed out the page being linked to will not receive any extra pagerank or anchor text value from the link? It seems to me that Google has effectively plugged the hole at both ends so to speak preventing the abuse of the nofollow tag both for the webmaster and the spammer. While I don’t like it as much as the next webmaster it is an effective way to protect the integrity of Google’s index as they say.

  • Mike says:

    Interesting post. However, I don’t see how this change will “encourage blog spam” if as Daniel Socco pointed out the page being linked to will not receive any extra pagerank or anchor text value from the link? It seems to me that Google has effectively plugged the hole at both ends so to speak preventing the abuse of the nofollow tag both for the webmaster and the spammer. While I don’t like it as much as the next webmaster it is an effective way to protect the integrity of Google’s index as they say.

    (sorry about the previous post, messed up on the html attribute)

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