NoFollow To Cause Revolt: Wasted PageRank via Sculpting & JavaScript Links Require NoFollow

Jun 3, 2009 • 8:55 am | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Last night at SMX Advanced Matt Cutts of Google reportedly dropped a bombshell on the SEO community when he said that using the nofollow to PageRank sculpt might not work like you (SEOs) thought. Danny Sullivan explained it well:

If you have $10 in authority to spend on those ten links, and you block 5 of them, the other 5 aren’t going to get $2 each. They’re still getting $1. It’s just that the other $5 you thought you were saving is now going to waste.

In Danny's simplistic example, if you have a PageRank of 10 (I know it doesn't work this way) and you link out to ten pages, each page would get PR1. Now, if you nofollow 5 of those links, then the 5 normal links should get PR2s each. This is not the case, instead they get PR1s and the other PR5 is wasted.

But what really annoys me is that Matt left this out of a video he published days before the conference. Matt in his videos, answered a question about PageRank sculpting. He completely left out these details in that video. Why? I am not sure, but watch the video:

Why leave it out there Matt? Was it reserved for SMX? If so, why not wait on that topic and publish the video with the full explanation later?

In any event, Danny goes on to explain that Google now crawls and indexes links within JavaScript’s “onClick” events. Using JavaScript for links you don't want Google to find, for example, text ads, was a great solution. Now, it Google indexes those links, and that means, you need to slap on the nofollow attribute on those links or possibly be penalized in the future.

As you can imagine, both the nofollow sculpting topic of wasted PageRank and the fact that JavaScript links may now need nofollows added to them, are pretty major. Stuff like this can cause a revolt in the SEO world.

Forum discussion at Sphinn.

Here is the live blog coverage of the news:

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