Does PageRank sculpting work?

Mon 5 October 2009 20:00, Jaap Jacobs

Does PageRank sculpting work?

That should not be the question. We all know sculpting works. You want to make your most important pages more important and sculpting is the best way to do that. The question should be how you should and if no-follow is a good tool to do so. A summary of opinions at SMX East in New York.

While making your links no-follow links you tell search engines that those pages shouldn’t get any PageRank worth. No-follow started when blogs get bothered with spam comments which weren’t relevant to their pages. Most marketers saw no-follow also worked to start using it for PageRank sculpting. Did you use no-follow links? Then the value of your pages (PageRank) had been divided towards the pages that where followed so you where able to make them more important than no-followed pages. But then Google (Matt Cutts) stated that no-follow did'nt worked any more. Right now no-follow links do not get any value, and the original value would not be passed trough. What should you do to make use of PageRank sculpting?

Some cases has been done and different results had been showed. A certain website with an amount of 75% of no-follow links had been changed into follow links. After changing those links the site saw a enormous increase in visitor amounts and indexed pages. But it not always seems to work that way. Some tips..

You could think of implementing imaginary SEO levels. You can give your pages a certain weight of which you determine the amount of followed links on those pages. While no-follow does not work anymore you properly should think of decreasing the amount of links. But be aware that immediately  removing no-follow links is wrong. It could result into a enormous drop in traffic. Google crawls a limited number of pages per site and no-follow can help control which pages receive PageRank. That’s why just removing no-follow links would not be a good option. Be carefull and analyze. You are warned!

  • Comments (5)
  • SEO
  • Tell-a-cowboy

Comments (5)


  • The whole nofollow debate seems a bit obsolete. Google implemented the changed approach to nofollow links quite a while ago. When Matt Cutts made it public, it had already been in place for months, and nobody had noticed.

    Link consolidation ( has been proposed as a new approach, though I fully agree with you that you should be careful about making changes to your site. The effects of changing your site's internal link structure could be beneficial, but also disastrous.

    Di 6 okt 2009, 10:53

  • "We all know sculpting works"

    Do we?!! If you did any level of basic research to back up this post you would know the professional SEOs are split on this subject - there are those who are reluctant to admit PageRank sculpting works until it can be measured.

    "A certain website with an amount of 75% of no-follow links had been changed into follow links. After changing those links the site saw a enormous increase in visitor amounts and indexed pages"

    This could be a completely fictitious story for all we know.

    What was changed?

    How which pages and keywords experienced the boost in traffic?

    Was there any other marketing activity that could be responsible for the boost?

    Until these questions are answered, we must dismiss this story as anecdotal. It's like saying "I once heard about a ship that sailed off the edge of the world, which therefore proves the world is flat".

    Forgive me if I sound argumentative, I'm just tired of reading the same stuff written as gospel without even a basic attempt to research or test.

    Di 6 okt 2009, 10:57

    • Jaap Jacobs

    Like I said the article is based on opinions and they all agreed with each other. And I have to admit I'll follow them in their opinions.

    Di 6 okt 2009, 23:46

    • Jaap Jacobs

    Small note. To my opinion it is how you define "pagerank sculpting". Do you see PageRank sculpting as only using no-follows to divide Pagerank or in a broader perspective, using for example no-index as well to exclude unrelevant content.

    Di 6 okt 2009, 23:56

  • This is the good post but there is one thing is not clarify that if sculpting work had change it's few rules then no effect on big players but small online business will suffer a lot.Because google give big boost to Brand name earlier.

    Wo 7 okt 2009, 11:20


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