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PageRank Sculpting- Maximizing the Impact of the Links You've Earned

Posted at Oct 15, 2008 12:46:02 PM by Joey Wolff | Share

When it comes to SEO, link building is probably the most time-consuming part of most campaigns. This is why it’s important to tweak every onsite factor possible to maximize the impact of the inbound links that you’ve acquired. One tactic we’ve used in the past here at THAT Agency is a tactic known as PageRank sculpting. This tactic is geared towards maximizing the impact of the inbound links that a website already has on search engine rankings.

What is PageRank Sculpting?
PageRank sculpting is a technique where, by adjusting onsite elements like website architecture and applying nofollow tags to chosen links, you can guide the search engines in assigning PageRank to the most important pages of your website. Ideally, you’ll want to guide PageRank to pages that you’ve optimized for search and that will convert well with your visitors.

In general, most websites have the strongest PageRank on the homepage. This is because PageRank is determined mostly by inbound links and most people will link to a website’s homepage more often than to an interior landing page. Since PageRank can be passed from one page to another when one page links to another page, how you design your website navigation will affect the way that Google assigns PageRank to internal pages of your website.

For example, internal pages linked to from the homepage will look, in the eyes of Google, as important pages because the most important page on the website, the homepage, links to them. Pages not linked to from the homepage but linked to from other pages on the site will still get PageRank, but not as much. Also, on most websites, the navigation area and footer appears on each and every page of the website. Usually, these areas content links. In the eyes of Google, any page that is linked to from many internal pages also appears to be important and thus, will likely receive more PageRank than internal pages with fewer internal links. These are only two examples of how your website architecture will affect your PageRank. The important thing to remember is that your most important pages should be linked to from your homepage and from the global navigation, if possible.

The NoFollow Attribute
On many sites, the global navigation links to the ‘About us’ or ‘Privacy Policy’ pages. From the user experience perspective, this is necessary. From a search engine perspective, this can be a bad thing. By linking to these types of pages, which aren’t typically optimized for search, you’re passing PageRank that could better be used on pages that are optimized for search.

This is where the nofollow attribute comes into play. It looks like this html:

a href="http://www.yourwebsite.com/page.php" rel="nofollow"

The nofollow attribute can be applied to any link and tells Google not to pass PageRank to the page on the other end. In effect, this means that a little more PageRank will be passed to each of the other links on the same page. By applying this attribute to global navigation links which link to non-important pages (form the perspective of search engines), you can force PageRank to be passed to the more important pages.

The three important things to remember about PageRank Sculpting are:
* Link to the important pages on your website from your homepage
* Link to the important pages on your website often
* If you have unimportant links (privacy policy, about us, etc.) in your global navigation, apply the nofollow attribute

Tags: SEO, General

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