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Learning About PR Sculpting: internal links with rel=nofollow
tootricky




msg:3798145
 10:32 am on Dec 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

< Note: this thread begins with posts that were split out
from another thread: Experiments in keyword rich links to Home [webmasterworld.com] >

Could you say that the introduction of the nofollow attribute has allowed Google to implement more strict borders for over optimisation? Now we can nofollow "home" links without removing them as a user feature and Google has left us no excuse to have over optimised sites!

Nofollow is a blessing and a curse!

[edited by: tedster at 9:27 am (utc) on Dec. 10, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

 

pageoneresults




msg:3806012
 10:55 am on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

Wordpress.com uses rel=nofollow for internal links. BLOGGER.COM uses rel=nofollow.

Hmmm, both of them are Blogging Platforms with UGC. They both fit the profile of rel="nofollow" usage. They are prime candidates for its use and what it was intended for.

mattinertia




msg:3806016
 11:01 am on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

Matt C:

What matters the most is to have a great site and to make sure that people know about it, but, once you have a certain amount of PageRank, these tools let you choose how to develop PageRank amongst your pages.

This to me sounds like a direct confirmation that nofollow can be used to influence the flow of PR through your site? Is matt lying to us?

Right, all you who say it isnt in Gs interest to penalise SEO. You're 100% wrong.

Anyone who has followed Googles recent U-turn on SEO practices will know that Google does not have any problem with ethical, white hat SEOs and actually has guidelines to advise people on what to look for when hiring an SEO.

whitenight




msg:3806017
 11:10 am on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hmmm, both of them are Blogging Platforms with UGC. They both fit the profile of rel="nofollow" usage. They are prime candidates for its use and what it was intended for.

lol, i'm gonna entertain this argument cause its you, pageone. ;)

But they are using them on their OWN internal links.
Not outside COMMENT links.

They are evil spammers and one day when Google slaps the crap out of everyone using rel=nofollow for internal links -
They will go down in flames, yes?

If you truly believe that (which i'm pretty sure you don't) then I suggest you keep an eye on Blogger's (especially) use of internal rel=nofollow.

If they suddenly remove them, you know ahead of time of the impending DOOOOM that's coming for the rest of the web.

Shaddows




msg:3806024
 11:19 am on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

Anyone who has followed Googles recent U-turn on SEO practices will know that Google does not have any problem with ethical, white hat SEOs and actually has guidelines to advise people on what to look for when hiring an SEO.

yep, and thats about content, usability and accessability. The Whiter-than-whitehat, not definitionally SEARCH ENGINE opimisation stuff. Its user-orientated stuff that G WANTS TO REWARD.

Also, since you bring it up
[google.com...]

Page 18 and 19 are about nofollow, and using it to stop sites benefitting from your reputation, or your site being associated with theirs. Its the trust thing again.

"What matters the most is to have a great site and to make sure that people know about it, but, once you have a certain amount of PageRank, these tools let you choose how to develop PageRank amongst your pages. " can equally be read as stopping boiler-plate pages outranking content.

[edited by: Shaddows at 12:03 pm (utc) on Dec. 12, 2008]

pageoneresults




msg:3806028
 11:23 am on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

They are evil spammers and one day when Google slaps the crap out of everyone using rel=nofollow for internal links - They will go down in flames, yes?

Nah, only those who got caught doing something else after the nofollow raised a flag. ;)

I personally feel it is a signal and it goes both ways. I'm not as skeptical as I once was but I'm still not convinced. < Ya, I was telling someone earlier today that I may not be the brightest bulb but I'll surely be the longest burning one. :)

I respect Matt Cutts and his position at Google. I'm not into this whole Cuttlett thing so I'm not that quick to jump on board with everything stated at the public level. I will agree that Google have become a little more friendlier toward SEO in general but, have you noticed that they are now becoming a Q&A for all of the basics? Google have been slowly refining their online documentation that I am now recommending that all new SEOs spend the time and read the Google Webmaster Guidelines and associated documents along with the W3 of course. I've even found myself over there a bit more lately as they have been making quite a few updates that I was not aware of. I usually wait to see them hit the front page of WebmasterWorld but I'm finding a few that never even made it to discussion. :)

How do Yahoo! and Live handle rel="nofollow"? We're talking here as if Google is the only search engine that matters and that is not the case. There are still a few others who have their fingers in the pie. If you have three majors in control and all three handle the attribute a bit differently, how do you deal with that?

whitenight




msg:3806030
 11:28 am on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

Page 18 and 19 are about nofollow, and using it to stop sites benefitting from your reputation, or your site being associated with theirs. Its the trust thing again.

Well if you sincerely believe it's about "trust".
(something i argued ad infinitum with EFV and has yet to be proven otherwise since it first came out)
then I wouldn't use it.
(or I would keep a close eye on sites that use it and their rankings)

My tests have always said different, even when it was ONLY for "comment spam".

Add to that, the most popular, most "trusted" sites on the Net, are using it now as well.

I'm not worried about it at all.

I've been using it for 2+ years and the ALGO has never indicated rel=nofollow had anything to do with trust
or whether "I like my own pages or not"

whitenight




msg:3806037
 11:32 am on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

Nah, only those who got caught doing something else after the nofollow raised a flag. ;)

If rel=nofollow is the first thing "raising flags" for SEO'ed sites, then Goog is denser than we could possibly imagine.

Shaddows




msg:3806040
 11:46 am on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

@whitnight
Never said it did :)

Just pointing out to others that want to take Google's proclamations as gospel when it supports their position, and ignore it when it doesn't.

Reasonably sure it isn't about trust. Am interested (at "NoFollow 101" level) whether nofollowed links are removed from the PR distribution calc or included but 'waste' PR.

I have much more interesting questions as well, but maybe for another time

@P1R- ye, but Google is almost entirely focussed on the user experience. No tidbits on gaming the system.

Of course in SEO, like poker, you can be a winning player just by doing the basics, because so many people are either clueless (not people here) or do stupid things trying to be too clever by half.

And like poker- trying to emulate moves you see the pro's do, well, you better know what your doing.

whitenight




msg:3806045
 11:51 am on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

@whitnight
Never said it did :)

Just pointing out to others that want to take Google's proclamations as gospel when it supports their position, and ignore it when it doesn't.


ah, gotcha. ;)
did someone mention poker?
lol now all my analogies are going to be poker-related!

If you have three majors in control and all three handle the attribute a bit differently, how do you deal with that?

Goog is the only who relies on (real)PR for their rankings.
So the sculpting aspect doesn't apply for them.

The others are whales for the taking. Or is it donks?
Yea donks. Not enough traffic to be whales =P

tootricky




msg:3806046
 11:54 am on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

Until Google says differently (or at least coherently) all sculpting does is not benefit things. It can't benefit things.

But it DOES benefit things. If nofollows worked like Google say they do then third teir PR sculpting would not work: But it does. So either Google are lying; keeping it simple for the layman by talking about "trust" or they have realised the extra benefits of it and have changed how they handle it's use.

buckworks




msg:3806209
 4:12 pm on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

What happens when an external resource links to the destination page?

Don't confuse apples and oranges here.

Using nofollow on one's own internal links is NOT a tool for keeping pages out of the index so that's not what anyone should expect. It's just a method for funnelling PR so that some pages get a bigger share of one's existing PR than they might otherwise. Using rel=nofollow on a link will not keep the page being linked to out of the index if Google discovers the page in other ways.

If you want a page to stay completely out of the index, use <meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow"> or <meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow"> on that page. I do the former on hundreds of pages and it works just fine.

robzilla




msg:3806267
 5:54 pm on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

How would that work with outbound links on, say, blogs? It looks like what you're saying is that when you have a blog post with 20 comments, you lose PR to links within those comments, but the spammers don't actually acquire any PR - i.e. PR dies. That doesn't make any sense to me.

Why not?

The opposite makes no sense. Adding more links to a page obviously should impact the other links on a page. None of this, and the random walk idea, makes any sense otherwise.


You'd still get punished for comment spam. For one, it opens up the opportunity for competitors to diminish your PR simply by spamming your pages where possible.

Any link with the rel="nofollow" attribute will not be used to calculate PageRank or determine the relevancy of your pages for a user query.
Source: Google Help: Comment spam [google.com]

BradleyT




msg:3806287
 6:33 pm on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

YouTube uses nofollow on video links all over the place. Even Yahoo uses it on internal links once you get into some of the portal category pages.

Someone please report these SEOs for trying to game the SERPs.

pageoneresults




msg:3806289
 6:37 pm on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

YouTube uses nofollow on video links all over the place.

UGC. They most definitely fit the profile for rel="nofollow".

Even Yahoo uses it on internal links once you get into some of the portal category pages.

Internal links? Like, on site internal links? Outside of UGC? That's their SEO reading WebmasterWorld and experimenting. :)

steveb




msg:3806474
 11:38 pm on Dec 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

"This to me sounds like a direct confirmation that nofollow can be used to influence the flow of PR through your site? Is matt lying to us?"

He's not likely lying, though he's always been an ESL candidate.

You just are refusing to believe what he says. You CAN influence the passing of PR through a site... by denying PR to some pages. But evidence suggests you can't increase PR to a link via this sculpting, which is what a lot of folks wish they could do.

There can be some sensible uses of the granular nofollow, but for the most part webmasters would improve their overal PR by focusing on "noindex,follow" meta tags, which will keep duplicates and crap pages out of the index, but recycle the PR of those pages rather than discard it.

Shaddows




msg:3806502
 12:23 am on Dec 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Outside of UGC? That's their SEO reading WebmasterWorld and experimenting.

LOL its late on a Friday night here in the UK- and that is v.funny

[edited by: Shaddows at 12:24 am (utc) on Dec. 13, 2008]

tedster




msg:3806661
 6:27 am on Dec 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Back when Matt Cutts first began discussing rel="nofollow" I remember him mentioning something intriguing. Google already had an internal tag that they were applying to some links that acted the same way as this new attribute they were introducing. Google found it very useful in their ranking algo and wanted to offer the functionalty to the public - or something like that.

I've been looking for a reference and it's elduing me so far, but I remember it quite clearly. I've been wondering if Google still applies their own internal "nofollow" in some cases even if it's not in the source code. That could be playing into the gray bar disease, for instance, where a page seems to act as if all its backlinks are rel-"nofollow" even when they're not. My guess is that they've continued on with this.

tootricky




msg:3806722
 10:20 am on Dec 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I would be very interested to learn more about this internal tag, this is the first I have heard of it and it sounds intriguing!

tedster




msg:3806752
 11:51 am on Dec 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Matt made another reference too, a bit later on, that was similar - saying that Google now had functionality built into the algo that could stop PR (maybe he said link juice) passing from a domain level, a directory, a page or an individual link.

I'm pretty sure these are online somewhere, not just comments he made in person. I'm hoping someone has better bookmarks than I do ;)

whitenight




msg:3806771
 2:10 pm on Dec 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

yea, he said it.
Vaguely remember it being a podcast?

But then again, I don't devote much RAM to Goog comments :)
So maybe it's on his blog somewhere or one of the other well-known SEO sites that he visits.

whitenight




msg:3806806
 3:25 pm on Dec 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I would be very interested to learn more about this internal tag, this is the first I have heard of it and it sounds intriguing!

From what I remember, tedster pretty much summed up the entire conversation about it.

I don't recall anything else that was said which was noteworthy about their "internal tag".

tedster




msg:3806855
 5:38 pm on Dec 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

There's nothing much you can do with that information anyway, except to know that it can happen. So when you run into a situation that seems to be stuck, you can stop banging your head into the same wall over and over and go look for a different approach.

JS_Harris




msg:3807037
 2:40 am on Dec 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

I fear we are entering the age of the nofollow Shark. A competitor who's versed in the art of nofollow can see that you've messed up rather quickly and "all of your articles are belong to him".

If you happen to cut off and strand some articles completely and they fall from the serps they can be copied and used on other sites and the thief won't get a duplicate penalty.

I vote to re-inforce that "nofollow is dangerous goods in the minor leagues" warning on this thread. Nofollow is an excellent tool useable if you can't solve your internal pagerank flow requirements with good old fashioned site structure implementation.

Marcia




msg:3807076
 5:41 am on Dec 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

They have a lot of internal tools for their own use, so the PageRank they show internally isn't necessarily the same as what we see on the toolbar. Here's the thread where Matt Cutts mentioned what they see internally:

Yahoo Directory gray barred? [webmasterworld.com] and here again [webmasterworld.com] in the same thread.

He mentions internal systems (plural), so that kind of settles it; regardless of what those systems are, we'll never know.

[edited by: Marcia at 5:59 am (utc) on Dec. 14, 2008]

Marcia




msg:3807111
 10:38 am on Dec 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Further clarification from Matt Cutts on the nofollow attribute [webmasterworld.com]

[edited by: Marcia at 10:39 am (utc) on Dec. 14, 2008]

whitenight




msg:3807133
 12:39 pm on Dec 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks Marcia

(emphasis mine)
Matt's precise words were:...

The nofollow attribute is just a mechanism that gives webmasters the ability to modify PageRank flow at link-level granularity. Plenty of other mechanisms would also work (e.g. a link through a page that is robot.txt'ed out), but nofollow on individual links is simpler for some folks to use.

There's no stigma to using nofollow, even on your own internal links; for Google, nofollow'ed links are dropped out of our link graph; we don't even use such links for discovery. By the way, the nofollow meta tag does that same thing, but at a page level...

Ok, now we can take off the tin foil hats, yes?

Nice to see we ARE at the higher octave!

Hopefully when we discuss this 2 years from now, we'll be talking about the BEST way to sculpt, instead of if sculpting works.

(a person can dream, can't they?)

tootricky




msg:3807434
 9:32 pm on Dec 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well lets start that discussion now? :PP It is within the remit of the thread and I for one am very interested in other peoples views/uses of nofollow and sculpting link juice, especially when their experience outstrips mine.

I generally go down the road of nofollowing pretty much any link that doesn't pass relevant anchor text value (including images) this includes links called "home".

I am a big believer that link juice should pass up the directory structure as well as down. so I tend to create dead end pages on the third tier (nofollows on most internal links) by heavy use of nofollow and pass juice back up through some kind of user navigation (breadcrumb etc.) This seems to create natural hotspots in the site, where sections with the most third tier content end up getting the most link juice from their children. Instead of the juice being spread evenly across the site, the link juice matches the relative onsite value of a section.

What are other peoples techniques/observations?

londrum




msg:3807463
 10:05 pm on Dec 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

if you do a site:www.example.com search on google then my directory index pages always fill the first page. and they happen to be the same pages that are linked to on every other page of the site.
so i'm guessing that if you do a search like that then the pages are listed in terms of page rank.

so i look at that quite often, and try and demote individual pages that appear too high up, by trying to shift some of their page rank onto other pages by nofollowing some of their links.

tedster




msg:3807472
 10:26 pm on Dec 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

i'm guessing that if you do a search like that then the pages are listed in terms of page rank.

I don't see that as true. It's easy enough to check for this on a site that has an internal page with lots of external backlinks. And even beyond that kind of example, I often see deeper pages with higher PR than top level pages and they still don't migrate to the top of the site: results.

If there is an intentional order to site: results, I'd say it has more to do with site architecture than PageRank - the kinds of metrics Google uses to choose Sitelinks.

Marcia




msg:3807509
 11:46 pm on Dec 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Just as a data point, on a site that's mostly PR5/PR4 for content pages, I've got a page that's got "gray bar disease" and when you do a search for site:example.com - that's the second page listed, right after the homepage.

Receptional Andy




msg:3807512
 11:51 pm on Dec 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

To my mind, site: searches are closer to PR order than general keyword searches, since they remove keyword-level relevance. But that isn't anywhere near saying "PR order". If nothing else, site: and link: searches seem to be deliberately obfuscated.

This 211 message thread spans 8 pages: < < 211 ( 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 > >
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