Nofollow is dead

According to Matt Cutts, PageRank sculpting is now dead and has been for some time; people simply didn’t notice the change in Pagerank designation that Google secretly made sometime ago in 2008.

At first, we figured that site owners or people running tests would notice, but they didn’t.

Classic PageRank (ignoring the decay flow factor of 10-15%) was seen like this: a site with “10 PageRank points” and 10 outgoing links (5 of which are nofollow) will give each link without nofollow 2 PageRank points.  However, now a site with the same structure will only give each of the links without nofollow 1 PageRank point.  Links with the nofollow attribute are designated their respectful PageRank, but when the times comes to assign it, this PageRank simply disappears.

What does this mean for webmasters?  Matt Cutts suggests that you let PageRank flow freely throughout your website; I agree with him to an extent, but I think that people will still try to PageRank sculpt in a new way.  This new PageRank sculpting will encourage webmasters to reduce the number of links on a webpage or hide these links away from getting PageRank by using iframes or other techniques to ensure that the other links on this webpage get the maximum flow of PageRank.  Some webmasters might even consider removing comments on their blogs because all of the links from comments is destroying their PageRank flow throughout their websites.

PageRank is clearly a much more complex topic than this.  For instance, link placement on a webpage affects the authority it is rewarded; a navigational sidebar link is going to be designated less PageRank that an in context link.  Time will tell if people start this new PageRank sculpting, but I doubt it will be beneficial for the time it takes to implement and its implementation will likely make a website awkward.  If it does become a new practice to optimize websites, one thing I believe is that Google will pickup on this and change their algorithms accordingly.

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Footer Links Overrated?

Footer links can be seen to be not very beneficial or useful for the following reasons:

  • Footer links are likely devalued by search engines
  • Footer links get low CTR
  • Footer links are usually never the first link on the webpage

There has been mounting evidence that search engines, like Google and Yahoo are starting to devalue links that are included on the footer of websites.  Many times these links and there anchor text keywords are not relevant to the content on the webpage, so these links loose some link juice for seo right there.  Additionally, footer links are the last ones seen on the webpage by search engines and users; since they are the last links on the webpage, they are devalued even more.  Since users see these links last because they are the least visible, they are unlikely to click on them and generate traffic to those webpages.  Instead of adding links to the footer of your websites, consider placing them elsewhere on the page, so that they are more usable for visitors and valued more by search engines.

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Content Is King

In contradiction to our last post: Content Is Not King?, we will give the reasons that content is the true way to create a quality website.  When you make a website that has unique content of substantial quality, you’re site will grow and develop.  Although it is possible to attain high search engine rankings through links, content can have a much greater impact on your rankings within search engines.  Quality content will generate natural links and promotion through other websites once it is discovered.  It may take time for your original site to be found, but once it is websites can grow at exponential rates regarding search engine rankings.  One site might link to an article of yours, which will encourage another site to do the same, and this spread will continue throughout your niche.  Content is king because if original, it gives users new ideas, can spread like wildfire, and can take advantage of organic seo.  Spending time developing content has the advantages of link building with due time, but it also provides many more benefits.  Original content will enables websites to grow to their full potential in a natural manner.

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Content Is Not King?

Content is not king in the modern search engine era in which websites exist now.  Links have a much greater impact on search engine results than one might want to acknowledge.  Google bombing actually proves that links can play a much larger role than content regarding search engine ranking.  Granted that in these Google bombing incident the results were later fixed and the sites return to their normal rankings, it still justifies the importance of linking.  If a site that is unrelated to a keyword can rank first simply from links, then a site with related content to a keyword can easily rank first because of links.  Acquiring the number of links to attain and maintain the first ranking may be a challenge but it is definitely a feasible option.  Websites really do not need to have amazing quality content to rank first for their keyword and this can be seen in many Google searches.  If you search a keyword phase, many of the sites in the top 10 ranking will likely address what you are looking for, but there are sure to be better more in depth website hidden further back in the rankings.  Websites attain top rankings for keywords because of links and many websites remain as undiscovered paradises because they lack the links to achieve better rankings in the search engines.  Content is not king and links are king, but we look at the other side of this issue in content is king.

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Finding And Fixing Broken Inbound Links

To find the broken inbound links in a quick manner, I suggest using the Google Webmaster Tools which provides a report that shows inbound links pointing to nonexistent webpages.  Inbound links are an important factor in search engine rankings, so you do not want to link to pages that do not exist as this will have no affect on your serps.  Additionally, broken links are not user friendly and can agitate your visitors.  You may have accidentally created broken internal links by making your website have keyword friendly urls.  To fix these broken inbound links, you can contact the sites that are linking to the nonexistent webpages, or the easier method is to just fix it yourself using 301 permanently moved redirects.  It is essential that you fix broken links as your website’s full potential is not taken advantage of with broken links.  By fixing broken inbound links, you can improve your visitor experience and improve your search engine rankings at the same time.

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Buying Links By Buying Websites

Instead of buying links, which violates Google’s webmaster guidelines, you can buy existing websites that are related to your niche.  Granted it costs more to buy an entire website as opposed to a link, this is a legitimate method of acquiring links to your website, but can also benefit you in other ways.  You are not only acquiring potential links to your website when you buy another, but you are gaining all of the content, age, and authority that this domain may have.  You can choose to simply add links on the existing website that you purchased to pass on some PageRank to your website, or you can slowly move the content to your domain.  If you choose to move the content, then be aware that you should slowly 301 redirect pages over to your site; if you 301 redirect all of the pages to your website at once, then search engines will be suspicious.  After you have moved all of the content to your domain, you should see noticeable changes in your existing website as the content, age, and authority will be passed on.  By buying a website that is in a related niche, you can significantly improve your own website by slowly transferring the website, or by adding a few links to your website and maintaining the website that your bought.  Both of these methods can have great impacts and improve your website through the acquisition of another.

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