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rel=nofollow on internals not working for me

 2:07 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I while ago I added rel=nofollow to a lot of internal links, hoping to focus the PR flow throughout my site. All it seemed to do was disappear about 20% of my non-supplemental pages. I had previously removed non-relevant pages with content=none no that isn't what happened. I took away half of the rel=nofollow links and gained about 10% of the non-supplementals back.

Has anyone had good results using rel=nofollow to control PR flow?



 3:00 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I tried this recently on a limited basis by adding nofollows to some of the links on a site's main page that point to pages whose rankings don't matter like "Contact Us", "Ordering Information" and such. I've seen enough of an uptick in the traffic to that site's internal pages (which had been pretty anemic) to believe it helped and to start making similar changes to other sites I operate.


 3:27 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I wonder if your adding rel="nofollow" dropped those pages out of the non-supplemental index which made room for more relevant pages to which you are now seeing more traffic.

Have you tried adding:

<meta name="robots" content="none">


<meta name="robots" content="noindex">

to the pages that don't matter? That will remove them from Google's index directly so they don't take up non-supplemental spots.

I'm was using content="noindex" already and adding rel="nofollow" to a lot of links on top of that had the above affect.


 4:13 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

My goal wasn't to remove those pages from the index completely. I was just trying to do a little experiment using what Matt Cutts recently referred to as "PageRank sculpting" - that is, taking care to funnel the main page's PageRank primarily to the most important internal pages and not squandering it on non-essential general information pages. And I saw improvements in traffic to the site's internal pages from Google that I couldn't attribute to any other cause (the site is mature, with nearly static content and no recent link building).


 4:29 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I understand, but I'm saying that maybe the reason you saw more traffic to the important internal pages is that the non-important pages were removed from Google's index due to lack of PR flow, making room for important pages. Have you checked?


 4:29 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I agree, I used this same technique. My default shopping cart page had a PR of 4. Several months after applying nofollow it is at 0. There was no reason at all for this page to have that much PR.


 7:11 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)


How long did it take till you noticed improvements? We added nofollows to similar links and ALSO other boilerplate links that aren't spider worthy. Would you suspect that it might take upwards of 5 weeks or so to readjust PR?

kamikaze Optimizer

 2:04 am on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

I was reading a blog post today from a respected SEO blogger who was discussing something similar to get pages out of the supplemental index.

I understand the purpose of the link tag “nofollow”. I only use it on my site for outbound links when needed and if I want to block Google from certain non-content pages (Legal Notice ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Terms of Use ¦ Contact Us…) I do that via a deny in the robots.txt file.

I found one of the reader comments on this blog post interesting:

In the context of trying to flow PR to your true content pages in an effort to help to get them out of the supplemental index, and not to waste PR on the way to your real content pages; it was suggested (unlike the “nofollow” link tag mentioned in the posts above) to use the meta: <meta name="Robots" content="follow, noindex"> on ALL pages (category navigation, tag clouds, sitemaps…) with the exception of your index page and your REAL content pages.

Which, as it was suggested (or as I understood it), would accomplish two things:
1) It would still give you the benefit of the onsite navigation PR flow that is followed on the noindex-ed pages, however (as it was suggested) that by not indexing those pages, it would flow more PR to your real content pages.
2) And leave room in the main index for more of your site to get bailed out of the supplemental index.

Has anyone tried this? Results?


 9:28 am on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

I would of thought that Contact Us, Privacy Policy etc would be good pages for people to be able to find on Google.


 2:56 pm on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Agree with menton. I don't mind if my contact us or policy pages are indexed. In fact, I'd rather them be in there. I can't think of any reason why I would use noindex on this type of page.

A question though. Will PR still flow to a page with noindex? Will googlebot realize that if a page uses noindex that it is basically pointless for PR to flow to it?


 3:47 pm on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

I saw noticable improvements in 3-4 weeks.

Everyone's site is different. I particularly wanted to de-emphasize the Contact Us page to reduce the number of SPAM attacks on my web form in addition to giving my product pages a bit more ranking oomph. Generally speaking, my attitude is that if people want information about me or my site, I'd prefer that they start on my main page where they can easily navigate to the appropriate internal page through prominent links - but only after I've had a chance to give them some ideas for other pages to check out on my site once they've taken care of their first chore.


 4:46 pm on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Will PR still flow to a page with noindex?

Yes. The noindex keeps that url from being shown in search results. But as long as links point to a url, then that url will accumulate PR.

Its outbound links will pass PR along to their target urls, too, unless the meta tag is "noindex,nofollow" or there's a rel="nofollow" in the anchor tag itself. That passing along of PR can be far from pointless, itcan be important for other pages on the site.

Unintentionally shutting down this PR circulation can also be one area where people hurt their own site when they are too casual about using nofollow for internal links.


 4:51 pm on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Let me ask, since the others are also supporting the nofollow attribute, what type of behavior have you seen with Yahoo!, Live, etc.?

kamikaze Optimizer

 5:20 pm on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Let me ask, since the others are also supporting the nofollow attribute, what type of behavior have you seen with Yahoo!, Live, etc.?

It is interesting that you ask about Yahoo. It is generally understood that when you search for back links in Yahoo, that Y lists them in order of “importance” or weight.

My number one back link on Yahoo is from Matt Cutt’s. I posted in his blog with my url. And he is using the no follow tag for blog comments.

So, it would appear, that Yahoo is not recognizing the no follow tag.

[edited by: kamikaze_Optimizer at 5:43 pm (utc) on Feb. 14, 2008]


 5:53 pm on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

So, Yahoo! may be ignoring it. That probably means that the others are too or they haven't quite figured out how to deal with it. Either way, there's this round robin thing going on. If Google is the only one supporting the nofollow attribute, which I'm still not convinced is happening 100%, what purpose does it really serve? If those links are being picked up and regurgitated elsewhere because that original nofollow attribute was not adhered to, how does that effect the whole process?


 6:16 pm on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Officially, Yahoo! and MSN Live are both supposed to be on board with rel=nofollow - that is, links with that attribute will not be used for ranking purposes. All three made an announcement about their combined support, at or closely following some SEM convention, as a means of combating BLOG comment SPAM. While the reasons for using it have expanded, I haven't seen any of them announce withdrawing their support. The differences in support should be limited to those fringe details like whether or not their individual crawlers actually follow such links. Like most people, I'm not so worried about how Yahoo! and MSN deal with it. What I've seen from Google's behavior is that whatever else they may or may not do with nofollow'ed links - it looks to me that, as promised, they don't pass link juice, and further that nofollow'ed links don't count as links in how the PageRank passed by the normal links on the same page.


 5:13 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

It sounds like the optimal configuration is noindex on pages you don't want taking up non-supplemental spots, along with nofollow on all internal links to those pages.

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