Can PageRank Sculpting Get You Penalized in Google?

Apr 21, 2008 • 8:08 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

A DigitalPoint Forums thread asks if PageRank sculpting, be it through the nofollow attribute, JavaScript or robots.txt file, can it penalize you in Google? Will Google ever look at that to penalize your site? And so on.

I am 99% sure Matt Cutts of Google said you will not be penalized for using the nofollow attribute to flow your internal PageRank, as you see fit. We have some more conversation on quotes from Matt on that over here.

But will it ever raise a red flag? I would be lying if I said no. I would think it could be used as a measure to see which sites are overly optimized for search engines. Heck, what normal webmaster would nofollow their internal links? Most webmasters have no idea what a nofollow attribute is, let alone use it for internal links.

So to say it will never raise a red flag and possibly lead to Google reviewing your site and then penalizing it for reasons outside of the realm of PR Sculpting, is not possible to say. In my mind, it seems like a natural step for some Googlers to look for, when bored.

Forum discussion at DigitalPoint Forums.

Note: This post was written last week and scheduled to go live on April 21st.

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04/22/2008 09:02 am

There is one benefit to placing "nofollow" within internal links - you can manipulate sitelinks. I have tested this on clients and I have been able to remove sitelinks like "about us" or "affiliates" and Google replaced them with actual products or other/better pages.

Rob Abdul

04/22/2008 11:58 am

Mr Kalman Sir , Google Web Master Central/Sitemaps allows you to manipulate sitelinks. nofollow attribute - Google Will not penalise your pages - I have used this on blog comment pages, it does what is says on the tin! JavaScript - Googlebot is very intelligent, however using scripting is not a good idea. robots.txt file - Will exclude your page/directory form the index

Michael Martinez

04/22/2008 11:46 pm

Why not just remove the "About Us" pages from client sites, since they obviously provide no value to visitors? I have to ask how many people who work to remove "About Us" pages from search results actually check server logs to see who is visiting those pages and how they are finding those pages. In any event, since using NoFollow on internal links is a self-imposed penalty, I see no reason for why conspiracy mongers should dredge up any unexplained Google illnesses.

Dan Thies

04/24/2008 06:33 pm

I'd say the much greater risk of using "sculpting" is the risk of doing it wrong and making things worse.

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