I’ve long considered Google Pagerank, and the, some great, PageRank Sculpting discussions around the net, to be akin to an idea of wealth and cashflow – i.e. should you save what little money you have, cut out the unnecessary expenditure and spread it about to make ends meet, or do you go out and get yourself a better job with more cash? – DaveN touched on the subject of nofollow scultping with Matt Cutts recently and Matt offered up a similar analogy.
Nofollowing your internals can affect your ranking in Google, but it’s a 2nd order effect. My analogy is: suppose you’ve got$100. Would you rather work on getting $300, or would you spend your time planning how to spend your $100 more wisely. Spending the $100 more wisely is a matter of good site architecture (and nofollowing/sculpting PageRank if you want). But most people would benefit more from looking at how to get to the $300 level.
Should you nofollow unimportant internal pages or nofollow external links in an effort to consolidate the Pagerank you have already accrued?
Or should you spend your time getting other quality links pointing to your site to increase the PR you have to start off with (how you get Pagerank).
The long term best impact strategy here is simply to earn more, or you’ll find it a slow rise above the core issues of your current predicament, whatever that may be, and I think the same can be said of the question of maximising page strength by PR sculpting.
In truth you need to do both, maximise what page strength you have by whatever method you use to manipulate PR and on-site relevance, and linkbuild to add conviction to your attempt at making a particular page relevant and give it a shot at those first page rankings.
Page Rank Sculpting Discussions
Joost de Valk has a terrific article on PR Sculpting, as does Dan Thies on using nofollow to sculpt pagerank, and the Mad Hat pitches in on the FUD of Nofollow being a red-flag if you’re trying to maximise the visibility of page in Google. Michael Martinez has an interesting take too.
I’ve used nofollow on internal links to sculpt and concentrate internal PR and from what I’ve seen the results *might* be promising, though very minimal, and not a long term substitute for an intelligent site architecture to begin with and certainly no seo magic bullet, although you have to be careful.
I should point out I never use rel=”nofollow” to prevent the indexing of a page – merely to control which pages any particular page shares it’s link equity with, if you are Googlebot anyway.
It *appears* that the first link you nofollow on a page *might* also nofollow any other link to the same url on that page, although nofollowing the home page link high up in code (when you have another link to the home lower on the page) seems to be treated differently by Google, Yahoo and MSN. Wonder if a ‘Contact’ page is too?
Optimise Your Contact Page, Don’t Nofollow It
As I have said, I’ve been playing about with rel=”nofollow” on this site for 4 months, and in all honesty, in future, I won’t be relying on nofollow to sculpt unimportant pages out of any possible link graph, just optimising those pages better, or leaving them out altogether, like I used to do in 1999.
It can be a useful tool in a site redevelopment, but from here on in, I’ll be keeping nofollow for bad neighbourhoods and, pending further testing, on top level blog pages, using Andy Beard’s Nofollow Dupes although this site is still a linky love / dofollow blog (for regular contributers at any rate).