SEO PageRank Sculpting

Google has made yet another change in their algorithm.  As of last month, Google has changed the way they look at PageRank sculpting and “nofollow” links.  Let’s first define PageRank.  PageRank was designed by Google to show how valuable the search engines will percieve a webpage to be – ranking a page 1 through 10 (10 being the best).  Many factors go into earning a good PageRank from Google, especially link popularity. 

In a website, the power of a good PageRank can flow (or be distributed) from page to page.  The deeper the site goes, the more diluted that influence becomes from page to page.  A goood example would be a river or irrigation system.  In desert regions you will see how green and lush the landscape is near a body of water.  As you move further from that body of water, the irrigation has a diminishing effect and the land becomes less green.  This is how the power of PageRank works as you move from the home page deeper into the sub pages.

To ensure that the more important sub pages (such as product pages or pages used for “selling” and conversions) benefit from the PageRank distribution the use of “nofollow” tags has been used.  Let’s use the irrigation system analogy again.  Let’s say you have only a certain amount of water to distribute so you want to make sure that the most important areas are irrigated.  You could shut off the flow of water to certain areas.  This is how “nofollow” links work. 

Well, as always, things change.  Nofollow links will no longer be able to control the flow of PageRank influence.  The best way to combat this is to ensure websites have a sound SEO architecture and internal linking process.  The best practices still apply so the more compelling content and inbound links you have the better.  The higher your PageRank is, the more you will have to distribute.  If possible, try not to make your site too deep…4 to 5 pages deep is ideal but not always possible.

It is still possible to control the flow of PageRank influence.  It is really all about your site architecture.  Link pages together in a logical way using a good breadcrumb strategy.  If you  can avoid it, don’t go further than 5 levels deep.  Use anchor text links to connect good content pages to their parent category pages.  Keep it simple and follow the usual rules.  As far as what will happen to rankings, we’ll have to wait and see.

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