Matt Cutts – Pagerank Sculpting Doesnt Work Any More

by seoibiza on 3, June, 2009

So if this is true (..not saying anyone would doubt your word of course Matt ;) ) this is massive news and is effectively the end of Pagerank Sculpting as we know it, in fact it looks as though it may have already died a little while ago..

Lisa Barone at Outspoken media has just possibly published the SEO scoop of the year, following a conversation with Matt Cutts.  Speaking on Pagerank sculpting..

“It seems like you supported PageRank sculpting a year ago and now it seems like you don’t support it anymore. Why is that and will it become a negative indicator?

MC. No, it won’t hurt your site. You can do your links however you want. You can use it to eliminate links to sign in forms and whatnot, but its a better use of your time to fix your site architecture and fix the problem from the core. Suppose you have 10 links and 5 of them are nofollowed.

There’s this assumption that that the other 5 links get ALL that PageRank and that may not be as true anymore (your leftover PageRank will now “evaporate”, says Matt.). You can’t shunt your PageRank where you want it to go. It’s not a penalty. It’s not going to get you in trouble. However, it’s not as effective.

It’s a better use of your time to go make new content and do all the other things. If you’re using nofollow to change how PageRank flows, it’s like a band-aid. It’s better to build your site how you want PageRank to flow from the beginning.

Danny follow up – Why is it less effective?

He (Matt) talks about the YouTube case and talks pleasantly around the issue about how YouTube sculpted their pages for users so that “random videos” didn’t shoot up. Initially, if you had 10 links and 5 were nofollowed, the other 5 would get all that PageRank. That’s not the case anymore.  They didn’t it change it because people started sculpting.

Michael Gray: If you’re trying to mitigate the nofollow, doesn’t that say it’s working the way we want it to?

Matt: We’re not trying to mitigate it. [Matt's doing the Google shuffle trying to get out of the clenches of Graywolf.]  He ends up explaining his way out rather well. Graywolf seems settled. For now.

So it’s official, PR sculpting v1.0 is dead, Long live PR Sculpting v2.0, which is sculpting it into your link structure from the very beginning, or SEO by design as we call it ;)

(and Search Engine Land’s post here)

{ 3 trackbacks }

Pagerank Sculpting Really Dead?
14, June, 2009 at 9:35 am
Nofollow - Are you taking it off?
26, July, 2009 at 9:28 am
Is rel="nofollow" killing search results? - Page 2 - WebProWorld
2, October, 2009 at 2:17 pm

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

mattinertia 3, June, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Hhm. Hhhm… Hhhhmm. I dont know what to think to be honest? Does that mean that a blog post with loads of nofollow comment links are causing your PR to “evaporate”? That cant be good? Or does this only apply to internal links? Hhhhmm….

seoibiza 3, June, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Think we’re talking internal links.

and some folks have reservations about some parts of this message anyway.

Chris Ronk 3, June, 2009 at 7:31 pm

This doesn’t effect my work personally. I use the rel=”nofollow” very seldom and primarily use it exactly what it was meant for.

People I associate with often scream when Google makes a change. I look at it as an opportunity to adapt quickly leave the others behind.

Rob Andrews 12, June, 2009 at 11:15 pm

PageRank disappearing by using ‘nofollow’ is crazy. Matt, you need to clear this one up very soon.

karma 13, June, 2009 at 10:25 pm

thanks for the information. lets see what will happen in next update.

Koral 20, June, 2009 at 1:50 am

Wouldnt it still work, like instead of using nofollow on internal links use robots.txt to block those pages from index? atleast that sounds a better option.

seoibiza 20, June, 2009 at 11:16 am

Hola Denmark.

block which pages? this is about the remaining links on a page being stronger (or not, any more) ..not keeping pages out of the index?

Koral 20, June, 2009 at 7:24 pm

like for example blocking contact page, i think will have same effect making remaining pages stronger.

seoibiza 20, June, 2009 at 7:52 pm

yes maybe using the noindex follow meta on the page, but not disallow in robots.txt.

but the point is that real sculpting was never just about the minute fractional gains blocking just 1 or 2 pages out of many might give.

and you shouldn’t block those pages anyway, Google may use a contact page, address phone numbers etc as a signal of trust for all we know.

get your seo design architecture right, leave the links live and let Google decide.

Connecticut website design 19, July, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Yeah, I’m with you on that, let the search engines decide. put energy into making a quality site and building back links, let the search engines decide…

Chris 31, July, 2009 at 11:16 pm

As far as “evaporating” PR goes, I think that he is pretty clearly saying that the algorithm has been altered. The original PR algorithm allowed for a random surfer to “get stuck” on a page with no links out. The PR of that page was then distributed to all of the rest of the pages equally. One simple way to to alter the algorithm is to “evaporate” PR of the no-follow links by equating them to a one way link to a page with no links. 5, August, 2010 at 5:28 pm

I can imagine that PR sculpting in this way was useful for some sites but I can’t say that we’d ever use such a technique, our service is focused on content and external content (press, articles, links, Social mentions etc).

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