Home Affiliate Marketing Blog The future of nofollow and pagerank sculpting – Rand Fishkin Interview Part IV

The future of nofollow and pagerank sculpting – Rand Fishkin Interview Part IV

The future of nofollow and pagerank sculpting – Rand Fishkin Interview Part IV

Click here to read part III of my interview with Rand on link building strategies.

Where do you see the value, or relevance of the nofollow tag going in the coming years. I.e. as Google’s engineers build a smarter Google - do you see the relevance of the nofollow tag being diminished - or possibly being made completely obsolete?

I don't think it's going to be completely obsolete, I think they're going to continue to obey the directive which is to not pass link juice through it. Now the evaporation thing with Google saying that now you can't conserve pagerank by using nofollow, I think means that smart webmasters are going to use different systems right? They're going to use, whatever - I'll only show you this navigation if you're a cookied user, I'll only show you this navigation if you have javascript of flash available - well actually javascript's not going to help cos Google crawls that now. I'll put this navigation in an iframe from another domain so that users can see it but I don't want Google following those things and I don't want to loose the link juice. So they've just made it more complex to do the same kind of link-scuplting things. However smart, aggressive SEOs did that long before there was a nofollow. I knew plenty of guys who were like, yeah, ok, big site, I'm trying to get lots of pages indexed so I'm going take all this - everything that's in the footer basically, I'm going to stick that in an iframe and block out that iframe so that I'm only passing link juice through the links that I want. Fine. I mean, I think that it's ludicrous of Google honestly to do it this way, cause it just makes it harder for companies that are less SEO savvy and those who are less aggressive and manipulative to do a good job of link sculpting. It seems totally asinine to me. You are basically rewarding those who are - you're rewarding people like you and I, which, not that I don't like us, but I don't get what Google's angle is. Like, why give us value? Give it to the small business owner who doesn't know crap about SEO, like let him have an easy way to say, oh right, this isn't an important link for Google, well what's an easy way? Ah, iframe blocking? Come on! I can't do that. I'm not going to do anything.

The other thing I'd say about nofollow is that I'd advice those people who are thinking, ah ok it's leaking juice, I'll just pull all my nofollows off. Don't do that. Be very, very cautious and be very systematic about measuring and tracking that. We had I think three sites now in the last few months that we worked with, either sort of directly or through Q&A on SEOmoz. And they, all of them sort of removed all of their nofollow links and saw tons of pages fall out of the index. Like they lost a ton of indexation, and our theory around that is, maybe you're still leaking the juice but at least you're not wasting the crawl bandwidth, and now you're wasting the crawl bandwidth on these unimportant pages. Get the nofollows back on there, get the architecture back to where it was and Google sort of crawls those pages again and indexes them.

That's really interesting.

Yeah it's kind of frustrating and infuriating too! 'Cause, the messaging is, ok, don't do this anymore, and then when you don't do it it hurts you... it's just terrible. I don't know. I feel sort of strongly that... so I imagine myself working inside Google right and thinking about the things that I can do to help. And yes, I recognize that the most important customers of mine at Google are probably two people. Number one is the people who search with me, and they have to have the best possible experience, and number two it's probably my advertisers. But I think a big third group is webmasters, people who create this content from which I've become a billion dollar company. Right? 'Cause I don't create anything, I just make everyone else's content accessible and that's I think a noble cause and a great thing to do, but when I think about that third audience, I want them to have a good experience sort of working with me, I want them all to be partners of mine. Even if that's sort of a distributed fashion, I think it's really important to have that. I think it's important to have the messaging be clear and consistent and easy to use and friendly and so I get frustrated when I see this sort of thing because it doesn't make good business sense to me as an entrepreneur. That's my rant anyway!


Rand Fishkin is the founder of SEOmoz - an SEO consultancy and training site. I highly recommend them as one of the best SEO resources on the web.

4 Comments Add your comment
  • Reply Andi Putra3461 days ago

    So basically Google is making the search engine more complicated and even more inaccessible for newbies -_-...just waiting for another so-called gurus to claim they have break the Google SEO code and selling courses based on it. Any moment now...

  • Reply Michael Holdcroft • 3459 days ago

    I covered Pagerank and nofollow on my internet radio show just recently. One important message "stop linking from important pages to non important pages using nofollow". Sounds logical and it is wise to do to keep your pagerank where it should be.

    Now I discover that Google changed nofollow over a year ago, making nofollow effectively useless. Now you say, removing nofollow can cause loss of ranking. Great!

    I agree with you completely. This should all be easy to understand and use. I would also wish Google would be more transparent with decisions like this.


  • Reply Jashimuddin • 3157 days ago

    Excellent points and great post! Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts and the post for all of our readers! Thanx

  • Reply eve isk • 2825 days ago

    Love people who can tell their ideas clearly. Thank you.

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