Matt Cutts tells SEOs ‘no more’ sculpting via nofollow by Guest Author codesucker, who takes an educational approach to modern web development and marketing strategies via social media and optimization.
Some slightly sad news for the slightly unethical came on a live SMX Broadcast June 2nd 2009 – when Matt Cutts suggested that using the nofollow HTML attribute value when defining a link does not make the Google algorithm skip it when considering when considering the sum of the pages outbound links.
Who is Matt Cutts?
The only legitimate liaison between Google and the SEO community. He’s the head of the Google Webspam Department, or Search Quality team – whatever they call it. We DO know that he gets to wear plainclothes to work, but like all other Google employees, if he says ‘Bing!’ too loud he gets instantly vaporized.
We found him under the alias GoogleGuy, which first suggested that Google was listening to us as a community – and willing to offer us insight on how optimize our pages for Google’s ranking algorithms.
SEO’s have built careers off of what Matt says or does. He shocked us recently by changing his blogs domain name from dullest.com to mattcutts.com – The idea behind this was to prove that webmasters shouldn’t be afraid to have a 0 PR and how to switch domains properly with a 301 redirect for those who once thought it ‘gray hat’ or unethical.
Now, Cutts is Google’s most powerful tool in communicating to us, as webmasters, exactly what they want us to do – and how they want us to do it.
Everything he says about Google penalties is extremely vague and also circular and nonsensical – it seems clear there are some things that the big G doesn’t want us to know about.
What WAS PageRank Sculpting?
PageRank Sculpting was the practice of making some links on a page nofollow so the rest of them pass more linkjuice. I wrote a post explaining exactly how to scuplt rank using nofollow back in April: Carving Inner PageRank via nofollow and link orders which I now have to render useless – woe is me. I normally suggest linking to older posts in your blog, especially when they come up in your blogging,- so do as I say, not as I just did. However, it’s no longer relevant and I want the other links on this page to pass more juice.
SEOMOZ post explaining pagerank scuplting and praising it’s results.
What am I supposed to do?
I don’t recommend anything at this point, don’t start un-nofollowing links, especially paid ones!
You’re likely to notice some negative changes in your PR or SERPs if you:
Made your social bookmark buttons nofollow (like the SEO community has been telling you to do for years).
- Have paid links and use nofollow for them.
- Use nofollow to link to your competitors.
- Use nofollow on your tags or labels (That’s every blogspot user, btw).
- Have a large nofollow blogroll!
Yeah and by the way, we don’t know what Bing! is going to do.
For those keeping score, Matt Cutts (along with Jason Shellen) is the one who started all this no-follow nonsense in the first place. The link is to the official Google blog where he announced the HTML attribute value.
He has also recommended it for sculpting purposes to the community – he commented on an SEOmoz post recommending nofollow for pagerank sculpting that ‘those who have the time, may benefit’ that’s paraphrased, see what he said in the post. Although the statment is vague, it’s actually one of the most revealing statements Cutts has shared with us on the subject.
In summary – like I said, I don’t recommend changing your nofollow links to dofollow, this will not save you from the algorithm changes. It’s not like your site is really losing PR, the PR it ends up at is where it should have been all along. Again: there is nothing you can do about this, we just have to collectively eat it.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about and you are scared, you really shouldn’t be: I bet you aren’t using nofollow links at all – thanks for reading my post but get back to writing fresh unique content, buddy!
Related post: Say NO to Black Hat SEO