Link Juice: The Nofollow Rules

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Throughout the past three years, the rules regarding nofollow attributes have changed through the eyes of Google. Let’s take a look at the best practices now as compared to prior to these changes. But first here is, in brief, the concept of PageRank sculpting.

The idea of PageRank sculpting is that you can control the flow of your link juice on your website by using the nofollow attribute. For example: if you have four links on a page and one of those links has a nofollow tag then the remaining three links are the only links that will pass a percentage of the PageRank of the current page to the pages they are linking to.

Here is where the biggest change has taken place. Prior to the summer of 2009, the three links that were passing link juice would have each passed 33% of the PageRank. Over the summer of 2009, Google announced that nofollow links will continue to not pass link juice, however, their percentage of PageRank will be discarded and not shared with the remaining links on the page. So going back to our example, the remaining three links will now each pass 25% of the PageRank and the remaining 25% will be lost.

The simple conclusion to this is to remove any nofollows you have on the internal linking structure of your site. Even if you have a few pages that you are not concerned with getting a good PageRank, those pages can still pass the link juice onto other pages, and thus the cycle continues.

It is always a good idea to closely monitor any SEO changes you make to your site, and removing nofollows is no exception to that rule. Bolder publishers will try and continue to sculpt the PageRank on their site through JavaScript shadowing. This can work if done correctly, but you can draw a lot of negative attention to your site by the search engines. For smaller sites this might be OK, but I still do not recommend it. Large publishers should definitely stick to a natural link structure. It will make the user’s experience that much better and it will make your site that much more linkable to other sites.

About the Author

Chris Stiner is both a SEM specialist and DRTV media buyer at Koeppel Direct. With over 10 years of offline and online direct response marketing experience, he has a unique skill set and outlook on the synergies of multi-channel SEM direct response marketing.

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2 Comments

  1. Well-said! I never agreed much with no-follow attrib anyway (although I believe for paid links or ads on site it should be used). Page Rank takes time! The link juice passed on from internal linking should be roughly equal anyway, but external links should pass equal weight as well. There's abuse of course, but I think the change seems to encourage more sharing and link-love through cross posting and (intelligent) comments! Hope you have a great day! .-= Link Juice´s last blog ..What is Link Juice =-.

  2. shiv

    Hello Great posts and just wanted to validate what is being said here. My website says has 2 links on the home page going to other websites. Now am i right in saying that i want to ensure that these links are no follows so that I am not diluting the juice on my home page to pass on to those sites? Reading a post by Matt Cutts and SEO Moz they are saying that the no follow attibute be used as a tool to control the flow of Juice. shiv