Improved SEO Rankings

Updated 11/25/09: The concept of PageRank sculpting on your own site using the nofollow tag is essentially dead after Google announced they had altered the way they look at this practice.  This has been out of practice for some time, so the post below if more for historical purposes (than current suggestions).  It is important, however, to consider that PR sculpting can still be done by using/omitting links within your pages (vs. using all & nofollowing some).

After explaining the concept of PageRank sculpting and nofollow links to a recent client, I realized that the concepts and strategies behind this SEO tactic are not very well known.  I hope that the following explanation of PageRank sculpting and nofollowing links will help you to understand the basics behind this strategy:

“Nofollowing” to Improve Keyword Rankings

The concept of “nofollowing” some of your internal links is often referred to as PageRank sculpting.  This is essentially helping improve the PageRank of certain pages through any of the following means:

  • Nofollowing duplicate links (e.g. repeated links in different areas).
  • Nofollowing non-keyword links (e.g. Contact Us, Home, About Us).
  • Nofollowing pages w/ duplicate content or non-SEO friendly pages (e.g. popup image pages, Flash pages, etc.).

100% Link Value

If you think of a page as passing 100% link value (as a whole) and let’s say for instance that this page has 10 links on it, each link would have 10% value that it would pass onto the destination URL.  So by using nofollow on duplicates and/or non-keyword links, we are helping increase the % of value that each link continues to pass to the desired pages.  In this same example, if we were to nofollow 5 of the links, then the remaining 5 links would now pass 20% SEO value vs. the original 10%.  When those 5 passing value are optimized and keyword-enriched, the % increase can help improve the rankings for the destination URLs in most cases.

Improve the Anchor Text

One good example of where/why a nofollow would be used is to help improve the anchor text (link text) for the homepage.  In the case of your site, the links back to the homepage are simply “Home”, versus something like “cheap t-shirt printing”, which would be more optimal.  Having your page rank well for “home” is not ideal, but by optimizing the ALT tag on your logo (ALT tags are like anchor text) to include more relevant keywords and linking to the homepage, we help increase the page’s relevancy for those keywords.  And since the “Home” links carry no value, we choose to nofollow each occurrence.

This description and example just brush the surface of the PageRank sculpting topic and are in no way a complete strategy to improving Search Engine rankings.  Combined with solid web content, a diverse linking strategy and good overall site organization, these techniques can be utilized to help give you an advantage over your competitors.

For more information on this topic or to inquire about MorePro’s SEO services, please contact us.

Cory Howell
SEO Strategist