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The nofollow attribute was not created to be a substitute information architecture—one for end users and a different one for the commercial web search engines. Instead of solving the problem SEOs are creating a new one.
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from vivitron 2232 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I have seen search engines index thousands of "Add to cart" pages - even with the nofollow, noindex meta tags.

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from AFisher 2232 Days ago #
Votes: -4

I  think SEO’s would be wise to take caution before they go slicing and dicing their websites link structure with no follow tags.  What I don’t really understand about the rush to use no follow is this:  If you accept this idea you are basically assuming that the search engines haven’t identified and already devalued Privacy Policy, Copyright, etc. in their calculations,     in my opinion the idea that search engines haven’t long since identified this very basic pattern in websites is silly. The SEO community has discussed at length disqualifies search engines might use to devalue a link such as the text "Sponsored" or "Links" among others and with the search engines having come this far it’s highly unlikely that your site is penalized for these pages.   I think that argument could also be expanded to "add to cart" and other e-commerce pages as well.   These are legacy 1.0 designs implemented into practically every website today.  The SEO community has always been overly paranoid,  but I think in this instance it’s a true stretch.Speaking of paranoia,  try this on...   If you use a "no follow" in your links.  What are you REALLY telling the search engines?     "Here is a link, but I don’t really trust the content."  If you don’t trust the content, then why link to it anyway?     Let’s expand that idea...  "Here is a link,  but it’s an internal link to another part of my website, which I don’t trust enough for you to follow"  Hmmm....    Do you see where I’m going with this?   "Here is my content,  I’ve deemed it worthy to host on my website,  but don’t look at it!"    Can anyone say Suspicious?  This to me seems like SEO bait to me.  I would be interested to if websites that heavily use this nofollow to slice their websites up are flagged as over optimized/spammy down the road. 

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from NickWilsdon 2232 Days ago #
Votes: 9

<font face="verdana" size="2" color="#000000">Q) Does Google recommend the use of nofollow internally as a positive method for controlling the flow of internal link love?A) Yes, webmasters can feel free to use nofollow internally to help tell Googlebot which pages they want to receive link juice from other pages(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.)http://www.seomoz.org/blog/questions-answers-with-googles-spam-guruSometimes new techniques or tools appear and even as an experienced SEO you have to take note of them. I don’t get the impression Shari has actually tried this techique before writing a critical piece on it? That would seem to be a fairer and more sensible way of evaluating its success or failure?</font>

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from mpilatow 2232 Days ago #
Votes: 2

It sure is not hurting Wikipedia and other large sites who use no follow on pages that they do not want to push page rank to. Maybe the engines do devalue those pages for their own purposes but if you are passing page rank to them you are still limiting the amount of page rank that you can send to other more important pages. Matt Cutts stated that it is a good (yet highly grainular) way to control the flow of page rank througout your site and I think he has a pretty decent idea about how Google works.

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from adam 2232 Days ago #
Votes: 0

wtf this has been submitted three times?

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from thejenn 2232 Days ago #
Votes: 3

I dunno, there’s no denying it works, but I’m still not sure it’s a good idea. There’s no denying Matt Cutts has said it’s ok, but I’m STILL not sure it’s a good idea.To me, this simply reeks of gaming the algorithmic system for the sake of rankings with no positive impact on users. Overall, that flys in the face of what I personally aim for with search marketing. I’d rather see a site focus on crafting something for the users instead of for the engines. Search engine FRIENDLY, but people optimized.So this leaves me torn. Google has changed their viewpoint on things in the past. To me, siloing using NoFollow seems like a really easy thing for an engine to pick up and either discount or penalize. It’s makes it very, very clear what you’re trying to do. While Matt says they’re ok with it (now) there’s nothing to say they won’t change their mind down the road when it’s no longer in their best interest to have people using it. Personally, I’d rather see companies focus their time and efforts on really getting a conversation going with their target audience than spending time crafting page code to improve rankings, but in a highly competitive market, I can see how the temptation is there.I remain wary of the concept, but undecided on what I’d do if I were working with a client who would benefit from the tactic. Though I will say we’re not doing this at Search Engine Guide. (A site with enough links and content to actually benefit from it.) Just feels "off" to me.

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from NickWilsdon 2232 Days ago #
Votes: 4

I know what you mean Jenn. You should only be making changes to your site for users, not the search engines. That was the rule and Google broke it. As a marketer you go with the rolls and see if there is some way you can benefit from the changes. With Google spending so much effort in getting us all to use nofollow though, I would be extremely surprised to find them penalising it. Literally overnight they could roll back all that PR effort. As you say, they could change their mind in the future. Once they find an alternative to link-based ranking. Yep, I would start to get nervous about nofollow plastered all over the site. ;)  

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from AFisher 2232 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Ooops, I feel the need to clarify part of my comment where I feel may deliver the wrong message.I had said:"The SEO community has discussed at length disqualifiers search engines might use to devalue a link such as the text "Sponsored" or "Links" among others and with the search engines having come this far it’s highly unlikely that your site is penalized for these pages.   ’What I meant to imply was the unlikeliness of a website being penalized by almost universally common pages such as "Privacy Policy", "Copyright", etc.    - NOT by links with text such as "Sponsored links" or a "links page"  - which is obviously a different ball game that will penalize a page/website in the eyes of a search engine.Apologies on this one  -  I should have been more clear in my original comment and not assumed people would make that inference from the previous paragraph.  

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from DariaGoetsch 2232 Days ago #
Votes: 1

>>I predict that many SEO professionals will massivly abuse the nofollow attribute and that it will no longer be valued. This paragraph is interesting. So if SEOs overuse the nofollow attribute then eventually it will be devalued like every other overly used SEO technique? Seems like exactly the opposite of what Google was trying to achieve with nofollow and links. Then again some SEOs might like that concept.

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from stephan 2232 Days ago #
Votes: 19

No disrespect intended to Shari, but this piece is classic FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt). "Nobody ever lost their job by choosing IBM," the classic FUD saying goes. "Nobody ever lost their ranking by refusing to implement PageRank sculpting" is the FUD peddled in this article.<div></div><div></div><div>Well, if SEO is going to be respected as an experimental science instead of black magic, it needs to be implemented with an experimental approach and all tactics tested for effectiveness (within the bounds of what is acceptable according to the engines). With SEO, you don’t just "set it and forget" using the purported "best practices" as defined by the SEO bloggers and speakers (and sure, feel free to include me in that set).</div><div></div><div></div><div>Matt Cutts has publicly condoned the use of PageRank sculpting on repeated occasions. Google has even used the technique on their own properties.</div><div></div><div></div><div>So my question to Shari is: "Have you ever conducted any testing of the PageRank sculpting technique?" We at Netconcepts have, and it works.</div><div></div><div></div><div>According to our tests, there are plenty of occasions where it can be a valuable tool, if used wisely. For example, if you have an ecommerce site and the category pages contain 3 links to every single product page -- the product name as a text link, the product image thumbnail as an image link, and the words "View Product" as a text link -- you could nofollow the image and "View Product" links and funnel more PageRank through the much more contextually-relevant product-name-based text links.</div><div></div><div><div>"I am always a fan of giving people more flexibility and more tools," Matt said in reference to giving "more flexibility to site owners to sculpt how they want to flow PageRank or to change how the page should be indexed" (quotes from my interview with him at PubCon, published on stephanspencer.com).</div><div></div><div></div><div>So if Shari wrote this piece without any testing, it’s just unsubstantiated opinion -- and I wholeheartedly disagree with it. :-)</div></div>

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from seobook 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 7

I wonder if fearmongerSEO.com is available.  

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from toddmintz 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 5

I see Shari’s article as pointless...from my viewpoint, sculpting page rank via "no follow" is either irrelevant to information architecture or could actually enhance it...I can see why she might have the opinion she does but a close study of the issue should debunk the viewpoint she puts forth.

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from BrianChappell 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 4

People do things Matt says explicitly not to do. Yet still reap huge rewards.Matt Cutts says to do something, and states it IS condoned by google, yet we should be afraid and not do it according to Shari.Am I missing something here, where is the logic.

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from tonyadam 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 6

So, to start, nothing against Shari and the post, but I would really like to know how much research was put into it before actually writing and submitting this?A couple things to think about:1. As Stephan mentioned in a previous comment, "Matt Cutts has publicly condoned the use of PageRank sculpting..." and it is true that they use this within their own properties.2. There are many times where a search engine will crawl and index a contact us page...just because there is a form on the page, doesn’t mean that the engine will automatically decide not to crawl it.Before posting something on a widely read and is talking about Organic SEO, you should probably do your research.  That’s just my 2 cents.

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from JeremyKuo 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Stigma is all in the semantics.NoFollow "abuse" is only abusive on the premise that PageRank sculpting is bad.  Based on a loosely subjective interpretation, the nofollowed destination page can either be construed as 1) a fear-mongered non-trusted page, OR 2) from a practical and usability standpoint as a trusted page that is useful but not mission-critical for what the site visitor is really there for (e.g. the privacy policy can be argued as a legal requisite and a comfort doc, but not mandatory for an informational or sales transaction -- the original intent).  Stephan’s example of nofollowing the non keyword-rich anchor text version is right on point too.Similarly, popular use, and perhaps adoption of internal nofollows as a best practice won’t necessarily devalue it’s alleged impact.  I think the meta tag analogy is irrelevant.  Meta tags were used back in the day as an absolute site ranking mechanism.  Internal Pagerank sculpting is firstly a page-relative method to promote designated pages on your site with more impetus.

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from graywolf 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 2

too long for comments so go herehttp://www.wolf-howl.com/google/why-theres-nothing-wrong-with-sculpting-your-pagerank/

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from MariosAlexandrou 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 2

You can stick to ideals and oversimplufy real-world situations by saying "just fix it the right way" or you can accept that sometimes a patch is going to get you the necessary rewards to keep moving a project forward.

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from weboptimist 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’m with Shari and Jill on this one. I don’t see nofollow as the link juice funnel that it is being promoted as being. It’s like putting a band-aid on a bee sting in a room of bees. occasional first aid is OK, but fix the real problem. Don’t keep slapping nofollow band-aids all over the site.

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from grasshopper 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 6

it’s one thing to make an argument, it’s another to talk down to the audience you’re making that argument to: unlike most SEOs, I try to build sites that have a good information architecture, site navigation, and cross-linking structure from the onset.yeah, none of the rest of us poor dumb bastards ever think about IA or internal linking.  never.sanctimonious much, shari?

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from davidmihm 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 5

Well said, Grasshopper --I agree that nofollow shouldn’t be used as a crutch, but as Stephan and others have said IT WORKS when used in combination with well-thought-out site architecture. Higher-converting pages rank better because of it. Given that my job as an SEO is to help my clients’ best pages rank better, I’m going to continue to use it.Also, I would LOVE it if Google would de-value nofollow, cuz then we could end this ridiculous paid links debate right then and there. Ain’t happening anytime soon, as far as I can tell...

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from shadowdaddy 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 1

where do you get the idea that "search" and "usability" are two separate issuesAll other debate about the topic aside, this statement warrants the sphinn.

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from Sugarrae 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 10

On what planet is a contact page on every page of the site poor usability or bad information architecture. Yet, with nofollow, the user can still have their GOOD usability and the engine can know not to pass any "power" to that page and instead pass it to other pages you DO want to rank. That isn’t an IA issue - it is a pagerank issue.That said, I don’t employ the use of nofollow for pagerank purposes because I don’t "need" to. Yes, there might be an instance where an idiot SEO is nofollowing pages because he has bad architecture, but guess what, when an SEO without their head up their ass thinks of sculpting, they think of not passing pagerank to pages like contact, about, testimonial pages, shopping cart pages and the like. I feel like SEL is letting Doug Heil write freaking articles - full of assumption, ignorance and arrogance.

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from BrianL 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Those of you in agreement with the article are free to have your opinions...and continue your quest for perfect IA while the rest of us outrank you.  I’ve seen it work across dozens of sites.  I talked one on one with Matt Cutts about it and he said that if it’s used for the purpose of pushing link value to the pages a user would want to see come up in the SERPs, it’s a good thing.  Not only are you helping yourself by doing it, you’re helping the engines weed out things that are low value.   How can anyone argue with that?

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from cre8pc 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 5

I’m sorry Shari. I had to read this three times and each time, I tried to stay calm. However, my reaction continues to be similar to how I react to Jakob Nielsen’s writings at times. There’s a tone and word usage that comes across as though we’re being talked down to sometimes. When that happens, even the information that’s useful becomes influenced. Shari wrote,"In a nutshell, if you want a site to have an effective information architecture for both end users and search engine spiders, then create a good information architecture. Search usability professionals have been doing this for years, creating web pages that rank and convert, and continuing to evolve their interfaces."Yes. IA is gold. It’s vital. She’s absolutely on the money there. But what is a "search usability professional"? The term "search usability" is her trademarked term if I recall. I don’t know anyone who refers to themself as one. I am a usability consultant who sub-contracts to SEO’s. I bear witness that there are many SEO’s and SEO companies well aware of the importance of web site usability and how it fortifies their efforts. They do their thing and I do mine. We work together.Shari wrote, "Many SEOs quote Jakob Nielsen and other usability professionals as long as it suits their needs. I view these people as usability parrots, not usability professionals or practitioners."Usability parrots? I found this to be cruel. I don’t understand this statement or its meaning.This said, Shari is right to call out the mis-use of a practice. However, I’m not sure how many SEO’s rack up billiable hours adding "nofollow" to links that don’t need it. That was a blanket statement and not backed up. Maybe it happens. Maybe it doesn’t. It’s great ammo for those who hate SEO’s and need more proof they’re whack jobs.I want to be taught, enlightened, and supported by leaders. Shari’s approach is technical. She’s painstaking in her work. She knows about building pages that are immediately SEO and usability-ready going out the gate.But I’d never stop a contact or about page, or even a privacy policy page from being indexed. If a web designer remembers to put a call to action prompt on them, they’re essentially landing pages that will be spidered and can lead visitors back to task or persuade them to perform one.

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from jaybong 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 0

How exactly does an invisible nofollow tag affect usability? Sure wikipedia and del.icio.us are ugly and pink to me, but not for regular users.@Jill - "I’m in 100% agreement with Shari on this.  If your site architecture isn’t designed in the best manner possible to funnel internal link popularity to the appropriate places, then fix it so that it does."The basic use of nofollow is to put it on the boilerplate pages like privacy policy etc. In my opinion it is enhances usability to have the privacy policy linked to from every page within the footer (not to mention it increases AdWords quality score).If your opinion is such that that nofollow helps in terms of SEO but that it is an inferior replacement to proper site architecture, what would you suggest doing about this page rank leakage, or is it not a problem?I am not saying that nofollow is the holy grail of SEO, just that small fixes like this can aggregate and benefit indexing of 3rd tier pages.

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from Halfdeck 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 6

I don’t know why this is such a big deal. I’ve never heard anyone bitch about META ROBOTS noindex,nofollow, robots.txt, or 301 redirect - all of which influence PageRank flow.According to Shari, robots.txt disallow is evil and we should never, EVER use 301 redirects to consolidate PageRank. Sorry, I use whatever tools I have available in my toolbox. If Google gives me lemons, I make lemonade.

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from crazycat 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"I  think SEO’s would be wise to take caution before they go slicing and dicing their websites link structure with no follow tags." I agree with A.Fisher on this. I’m not an SEO pro and I’m learning from your comments. Good discussion.

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from LocalHound 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 0

It seems like this technique is going mainstream. yellowpages.com has carved up half of its homepage with no follow links.  I tend to agree with Aaron Wall, when he reviewd Dan Thies free seo book (that jumpstarted this debate"):"I think excessive use of nofollow carves up the web, leaving scars in it and making it more wounded for those who use it."An example of this is 2 of the links yellowpages.com carved out were to Amacai and Acxiom, whom they use as content providers.  If actually using them as content providers for a site like this doesn’t merit an editorial citation, I don’t know what does.  Its over use will warp the search relults

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from Jonah 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Just for the record, Matt Cutts didn’t only say it was OK to sculpt page rank and to use nofollow, he actually RECOMMENDED IT almost 2 years ago. http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/bot-obedience-herding-googlebot/Recently Adam Lasnik has been speaking out against the effectiveness of PR Scultping in general, but I agree with Stephen that if can be used to great impact. i see no reason to globally follow links to a privacy policy or a contact page and I will continue to no follow links with generic anchor text in favor on a strong internal anchor.As for the debate about architecture and UI, Shari is missing the point.  It is a good user experience to include a link to a content rich privacy policy or warranty on every page, but that doesn’t mean we should be telling the engines that this page is more important than a third level product page.

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from AccuraCast 2231 Days ago #
Votes: -2

FFS. Isn’t this discussion old now? I’m tired of reading it in like a 100 different places. If you wanna do it, do it. If you don’t wanna, don’t. But don’t rant about why / why not to the whole world. Most of us don’t give a shit how badly you do your SEO!

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from ljs4iu 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Shari, Jill, and other old-school SEOs sometimes have such a prediliction to take self-rightous mucky-muck positions! How the heck could it be bad to NoFollow a contact form? Not everybody has a milliondy-billion bucks to do Grantastic Designs. When we have a spare 20K we’ll clean up the homepage and take on the No NoFollow puzzle Shari suggests. We’re not all working on perfect sites. Unfortunatly our sites have shelf lives and some of us must adapt them and deal with it. We’re told that Google likes direction for crawling. We’re lawyers, plumbers,  and doctors who can’t possibly run to usability clinics and redo the site everytime Google changes their mind about how things work.Our agency sealed off one of our site’s contact forms, some old .PDFs and made sure the spider enters the site-interior by way of homepage anchor text, not a redundent image link. Hoopty-doo Shari, now there’s some "unwise advice..." HELLO!!!!!!!!!!

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from AccuraCast 2231 Days ago #
Votes: -3

Oh, and BTW.... enough of the "matt cutts said this".... "no matt cutts said that". We can all read and make up our minds for ourselves as well. (Now i feel like i’ve just admonished my 42+16 favourite children. But what the hell. If it shuts this stupid discussion up, it’s well worth it)

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from rickh 2231 Days ago #
Votes: -2

If nofollow "siloing" actually works then the analogy with metatag abuse turns out to be appropriate after all. Here we have a practice that changes a site’s SE performance without any change to actual content whatsoever. That sounds like a pretty good definition of SEO manipulation and (dare I say) abuse. Ah yes, but it is sanctioned by the almighty Matt Cutts and sucking up to him has also been shown to be a good thing. The reason there is a debate about the appropriateness of this is that Google is being blatantly inconsistent. The artificial structure of Page Rank and it’s reliance on "link juice" is the culprit, and as we all know that is the invention of Google. The only logical thing is to follow Google’s lead and not get hung up on principles. Just hold your nose and do whatever works.

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from searchcommander 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 1

This is the first thing I’ve ever Desphunn - and well deserved too.  Shari, do you really not get it? I’ve read you for years, and find it hard to believe you’re really serious.  No following the pages that are just sucking up juice is common sense, and good SEO.Maybe Google should offer a way to exclude pages you don’t want to get any juice right in Webmaster tools, but until they do, use of Nofollow makes perfect sense, and it’s one of the few remaining "techniques" that we have at our disposal. Building a site as Shari suggests (without nofollow), and just "...create a good information architecture..." might then mean an ecommerce site with every product linking back only to the master categories and home pages - no links to privacy, contact or other areas that may interest visitors. That’s just dumb...

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from bwelford 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Well said, rickh.  I don’t think it’s even a question of holding your nose.  Reading the comments above they fall into two groups.  Some black and white moralists seem to feel that it is a sin to use the NoFollow to sculpt PageRank.  Others feel it’s not a question of morality.Google introduced NoFollow to correct what they saw as some Relevancy problems.  They acknowledge as they see the concept working that it could have some rough edges.  If we are affected by those rough edges, then they offer ways of correcting for the problem.  If you don’t think you’ve been affected, then good for you.  Don’t worry.  Be Happy.

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from sza 2231 Days ago #
Votes: -1

"a practice that changes a site’s SE performance without any change to actual content whatsoever. That sounds like a pretty good definition of SEO manipulation"Are you serious?

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from CommonDavid 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 0

WOW! This article scared me quite a bit since I’ve spent the past few weeks nofollow’ing all the privacy, contact, driving direction etc pages for over a dozen sites. Good thing after 10 minutes of research I realized that this article is COMPLETELY WRONG. I searched the MOST competitive keywords on Google and EVERY SINGLE first page listing is using nofollows in their privacy, contact etc links. So don’t worry, this article is just wrong. How many good listings could this author have if she thinks that ON SITE SEO = SEO MANIPULATION. Unless you have the privalage of dealing with the most popular brands "Auto Trader" "Best Buy" "Amazon", on-site optimization is a MUST. Anyone who says it’s a moral issue is either broke, or on crack. What is immoral about doing something that will keep your valued PR from going to pages on YOUR SITES that you don’t care about? It’s pretty moronic to think that there’s any MORAL issue, if that was the case then why don’t you make all your sites in Flash because they look cooler? By these standards it’s IMMORAL to make a site in XHTML because you’re trying to get SEO listings hahahaOh well, I’ll stick to my theories and let everyone else stick to theirs....

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from incrediblehelp 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 1

To many people on either side here. I think I am going to just go with the stance of to each your own. Seems like many people feel it helps target pages rank better, but I have yet to see it in action. Guess I will do more testing. I would love to see a case study on making PR Sculpting changes alone moved target pages up in rankings, but you will never find one. Where you can easily say when making title changes, content changes, link changes, navigation changes, etc do make a difference.

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from fathom 2231 Days ago #
Votes: -2

>>If you use a "no follow" in your links.  What are you REALLY telling the search engines?     "Here is a link, but I don’t really trust the content."  If you don’t trust the content, then why link to it anyway?<<That isn’t quite accurate... that’s a reverse interpretation, of a dumb-down explanation, meant for simple-folks that don’t understand attributes anything.What this says to the search engine [Google] don’t use this specific link to determine the value of the link to page"... My dumb-down version (on your intrepretation) is more like:"I don’t review the page every hour, day, week, month, and year and prefer not to be accountable for any changes that occur on that page without notice".In a real ’off-site’ value - "links from you can harm you"... in the game of "gaining ranks" not everyone knowledge and skills are equal, people you link to do "dumb things" through ignorance - the "nofollow attribute prevents any harm from links to pages you can’t/don’t have any real time authority over".

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from NickWilsdon 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 2

"a practice that changes a site’s SE performance without any change to actual content whatsoever. That sounds like a pretty good definition of SEO manipulation"Err, also sounds like a pretty good definition of link building? ;)

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from NickWilsdon 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 3

@FathomAh you’re still on nofollow v.1. That was when Google supported it as a method to fight spam. You nofollowed user generated content because you didn’t trust it. Welcome to nofollow v.2 - Google now tells us it not so much about spam, or trust but about not manipulating their search engine with paid links. That is why you are asked to put it on *all* your advertisers, editorially trusted or not. If you want to use it on your own site, then feel free.

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from fathom 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 0

That’s not really a representation of what the bots do and ultimately how these attributes affect algorithms...The nofollow attribute is merely a set of instructions like those used in the Robots.txt and the Meta Robots...When you add a page to robots.txt -- are you saying to the search engine "I DON"T TRUST THIS PAGE"... or are you really saying "don’t crawl this page"... [there’s a major difference]Google get’s asked broad-ranging questions that they attempt to answer in the simipliest way so the masses can understand - but that answer doesn’t match your question (you idea of versions).Re-interpretation of a comment that was meant for the specific context it was offered and attempting to make it an all-encompassing "QUOTE"... is mis-information.

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from DrPete 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Putting aside the nofollow debate for a moment, I completely disagree that controlling what you put out to the spiders is bad usability. If it’s cloaking and trickery just to promote rank, then yes, it’s deceptive and may hurt users. In many cases, though, I’ve used Robots.txt and other mechanisms to actively promote search usability.Case in point: Google is starting to reject search within search. They have a good reason for this: users don’t want to click on a search result and arrive at another search result. So, for some clients, I’ve strategically pushed product pages to the spiders and blocked search results pages. This has led to cleaner SERPs, less steps for visitors, and higher conversion. I don’t know what Shari means by "search usability", but that sure sounds like search usability to me.Even as a usability person, I’m often turned off by the tone of usability professionals, and this article is exactly the kind of attitude that rubs me the wrong way. Yes, there will always be people who just want to game the system, but I know plenty of pro-usability SEOs, and the best thing I can do as a usability professional is work with the SEO community, educate them/you (without being arrogant about it), and, just as importantly, let you educate me.

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from fathom 2231 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Here are some really good reasons for using rel="nofollow" both on site and off-site and none of it has to with PageRank [inherently though anything you do with links effects PageRank - but that’s by default not design]1. Links from you can harm you... you purposely link to a great resource and through ignorance they get themselves banned (they setup a different resource for each city in the US BECAUSE someone in Chicago doesn’t want a resource for Los Angeles)... and their total network of sites gets banned - including the one you linked to... and because "link from you can harm you" they take you down with them... with the nofollow link - your domain is protected.1a. Seriously every domain owner conscious of SEO can be in one of those positions - ignorance IS the #1 reason domain get banned.2. Many SEOs run test sites (like I do) the problem with testing some things though is "link from you can harm you" - you gotta have something driving a test site to rank... and if you happen to burn the test site and "link from you can harm you" you can easily burn everything you care about - the nofollow attribute prevents domain annihilation.3. You have pages in your domain that are temporary placed for searchers and once the event is over the "search" usefulness isn’t there but the visitor value is... (or maybe you don’t have time to groom your domain to remove the page and all links. You add the page to robots.txt, and you add Meta Robots to the page itself - but all the links to that page are still ’active’... the nofollow attribute removes any potential of lose ranking resources to a page you clearly don’t wish the page to have...You call it a question of "trust" e.g. I don’t trust that page - because Google ’suggests’ this is ONLY about trust - but Google didn’t say that at all - you interpreted that way.4. I TRUST NO SITE ABSOLUTELY to notify me when their content changes, site restructuring, redesigns, obsolete content/pages are removed, replaced, updated, changed, or domains are dropped ’not needed anymore’... and someone else pick it up because "I have links to it" - not because "I trust the new owner"... how many site owners that get penalized or ban actually notify anyone to remove their links so you don’t lose with them... I can honestly say - I wouldn’t, you wouldn’t, no one would so the "risk" of being banned is equal to your ability to trust that others aren’t stupid or ignorant.Surely Google’s use of the word "trust" isn’t an all-encompassing position.

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from DarkMatter 2230 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Google has given me a tool, it works very well, and I’m going to use it. I may consider emailing this article to some of my competitors though... ;)

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from Jonah 2230 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Ah yes, but it is sanctioned by the almighty Matt Cutts and sucking up to him has also been shown to be a good thing. Quoting Matt Cutts about what is acceptable SEO practices isn’t sucking up to him. For that matter, having a lot of respect for his integrity and speaking out when people flame him isn’t sucking up either.Telling him how sexy he looks in that miliary green T-shirt, that is sucking up!  For the record, it didn’t help any of my clients sites rank.

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from FLSEO 2230 Days ago #
Votes: 1

A) It works really well to manage the link juice for a site. B) There are no negative effects if done correctly C) The Point?

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from toprank 2229 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Like any tactic, the proof is in the pudding when the rubber hits the road and pigs fly. LOL, just trying to see how many cliches I can use in one sentence.Since the idea of Page Rank sculpting isn’t a usability issue, I suspect that with an increasing number of sites that implement siloing using nofollow would make it fairly easy to identify them as "SEO’d". That’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as the SEO implementing isn’t prone to chasing other tactics that are not endorsed by Google employees.

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from slingshotseo 2228 Days ago #
Votes: 0

For now, using nofollow to craft PageRank does have a positive effect on search engine rankings if done right. As others have stated, Matt Cutts is not explicitly against it nor does he lead me to believe it will be penalized anytime soon. I think I’ll wait for my warning email from Google or for my data to show it’s negatively influencing my search rankings. Thanks for your research, feedback and opinions Danny, but I’m with Rand on this one.

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from ShariThurow 2228 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Hi everyone-Sorry, I was out of town, training a company. Clients take priority. I am not done reading all of the comments and writing a list of questions to answer.I do use the nofollow attribute on Web sites. I NEVER said to not use it at all. I do not use it as a substitute for site architecture. Yes, I recognize that some "Add to Cart" URLs are spidered, and that is a situation where I might use it, but I’d explore other options via robots exclusion, among other things. I will not use it or test it on a Web site for siloing or a substitute site architecture. It is a ridiculous thing to ask me to do, IMHO. Some people should know me well enough by now that challenging me to a contest where people will willingly try to "game" the search engines is against my principles. You can do  whatever you want with your business and your clients. Why ask me for advice on "cheap" (substandard) usability testing and information architecture research? You are asking the wrong person because, quite frankly, lowering standards frequently results in substandard conclusions, and sometimes outright erroneous conclusions. If the problem is a site’s information architecture, then fix the information architecture. I am not afraid to say this to current and potential clients. I am aware that many SEO professionals do not have the same experiences I have, and I have to function in communities that really dislike our industry. Whether any SEO wants to accept it or not, some of the negative opinions of this industry are justified. This whole ’nofollow’ PR sculpting thing? I do not believe it is justifiable, just another way to try and game the system. I think some readers might believe i am against the nofollow attribute’s usage as a whole. I am not. The ’nofollow’ usage? Yes, there are some instances where it is needed, but not as a substitute for information architecture. To think that sculpting PR is not a usability issue? Hmmm, I guess I have to side with my usability colleagues on that belief. I do not believe that many SEOs get that Web site usability has a direct impact on search optimization. But that’s okay. Do what it is that you want to do. And I will do what I believe is effective. I have no problem pointing out to my usability colleagues (and professors) what has emerged and is emerging in our industry. It leads to interesting reading and debates, and the continued negative reputation of SEO. I can hold my own among this group, whose opinions and research are very important to me. I read my SEO colleagues’ usability evaluations and have had to replace my broken jaw as it keeps landing on the floor. If I have permission, I show these evaluations to my usability colleagues and get their feedback. I get that people will feel I talk down to them. I cannot make all of the people happy all of the time. I change my tone? Someone else will think I am talking down to them. So I will just continue to write my way and deal with the criticism as it comes. Always read and respect Kim Krause’s feedback. Search usability might be my trademark, agreed, but Nielsen and Moreville have done so much in this area, even though we might have differing definitions of the phrase. My work evolves based on their research and findings. Spool’s and Constantine’s as well, among others. Honestly, Kim, I think you misinterpreted the point of my article. But we can discuss this in some other venue.Still not going to use the ’nofollow’ attribute to sculpt PR. I’ll come up with information architecture’s the old-fashioned way: iterative usability testing. I find that it works far better than any other method. Sorry, such a long post. Interesting debate.

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from slingshotseo 2227 Days ago #
Votes: -1

Maybe you can explain Zillow.com using nofollow to craft a bit of PR. I think Vanessa Fox would speak up if this wasn’t the best strategy now that she works for Zillow. It is minimal use of nofollows on the Blog, Sign Up and Here links, but it speaks volumes to me. It would be pretty far out to assume that Vanessa Fox isn’t being paid to or hasn’t been asked to evaluate Zillow.com’s site architecture with regards to search engine rankings. Maybe she overlooked the nofollow usage. Again, I enjoy your blog, SMX, Sphinn and what you’ve added to this community. Keep up the good work!

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from linkmoses 2227 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I have tremendous respect for Stephan, Shari, and Matt, and have known them all long enough and well enough to call them friends.  Spoken with all of them over the years on panels, etc.  I think they were all still in college when I started, the whippersnappers... So...with all due respect, I can say from very specific experience that for some sites, sculpting PR makes absolute perfect sense, while for others, it makes no sense whatsoever.  I have sculpted, siloed, and funneled sites to improved rankings, and I have done the same with no effect. I’ve also seen first hand with my own sites that #1 rankings can occur with zero attention paid to sculpting or architecture.  For me the argumet isn’t whether you should or shouldn’t.  It’s recognizing the individual scenario and nuance for each site and understanding when they call for sculpting as a viable strategy or not.   And that’s not always easy.Eric

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from vanessafox 2227 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Hi slingshotseo,I actually don’t work at Zillow anymore and don’t do any work for them. I believe they have an in-house SEO. I haven’t looked at their current site architecture so can’t speak to their SEO implementation.

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from linkmoses 2227 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I helped zillow during the initial launch with some linking analytics consults, but back then the nofollow/sculpting tactic wasn’t part of my role.-Eric

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from slingshotseo 2227 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@VanessafoxIt’s hard to keep up with everything. You’re a mover. Keep Slingshot SEO, Inc. in mind next time you need a job. I have a blank check with nothing but your name on it. You fill in the blanks. There’s more than corn in Indiana.

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from ShariThurow 2227 Days ago #
Votes: -1

Hi everyone-<div><div></div><div>Now that I’ve had a chance to read all of the posts, I do have one more comment.</div><div></div><div></div><div>Me, not test??? I have been testing site architecture, navigation schemes, and cross-linking on interfaces for well over 10 years. It is my dissertation topic. I constantly give usability tests on interfaces with various types of cross-referencing. I am sure many people would love to have a pre-published copy of my dissertation (and others don’t care), and the results of client usability tests (which would really tick my clients off and get me sued) and ROI tracking. I won’t share that information, of course. My colleagues can "case study" for evidence all they want. I have case studies, too, and over 10 years’ worth of data. </div><div></div><div></div><div>I did write that people are going to do what they are going to do. I am going to continue doing my version of search optimization. Others will do their versions. I sure pushed a button, though, didn’t I? (To my great amusement.)</div><div></div><div></div><div>The point of this article was and still is to point out that if your site has a solid information architecture in the first place, including boilerplate elements, then there is no need for the ’nofollow’ attribute, with notable exceptions (such as the reason it was created in the first place). </div><div></div><div></div><div>If my prediction is wrong? I have no problems admitting when I am wrong. And if my prediction is accurate? We will wait and see about that.</div><div></div><div><font size="4"><font face="Verdana, Helvetica, Arial"><font color="#000080"> </font></font></font> <!--EndFragment--> </div></div>

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from Jonah 2219 Days ago #
Votes: 0

deleted

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from palcomweb 2134 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Search engine optimization is a time taking and tricky business. It requires a lot of effort and hard work to rank in top. But the key phrases used to rank well on one search engine may totally fail or be less effective to rank on other search engines. Well all the majorly known search engines differ from each other in some form or the other. It is for this reason that some people create web pages for a particular search engines while the rest of the pages are created for other search engines. Usually a slight difference is present in these pages. So when indexing takes place the search engine crawlers might find the slightest difference and mark them as spam. To overcome these difficulties a robot.txt file is created which is a simple txt or word pad file that is uploaded in the root folder of your site.   Write the following User-Agent: (Spider Name) Disallow: (File Name)   To disallow all engines from indexing a file you simply use the * character where the engines name would usually be. However beware that the * character won’t work on the Disallow line. Palcomonline.com

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from WebGuerrilla 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Typical Shari Speak. Regardless of the topic, she always finds a way to preach her rediculous "search usability gospel"

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from shoemoney 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

How does this person write for searchengineland. Course anything from that domain will make it to sphinn front page.

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from Sugarrae 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I don’t use nofollow for sculpting... I don’t see myself using it (or needing to) but a nofollowed link is no less visible or usable to the end user than a link without the attribute.

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from BrianL 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

It works and as Matt said, it’s a good way to get users to be able to find the right pages on your site...even with excellent architecture.

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from graywolf 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This original article is way off base ...............

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from davidmihm 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

As is often the case, Michael has hit the nail on the head...

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from stephan 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

As I stated in my comment, this article is primarily FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) and unsubstantiated and misguided opinion

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from grasshopper 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

it must be hard to communicate with the masses, what with being so far up on that high horse

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from DavidWallace 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I pretty much same have the same sentiment as others who desphunn.

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from bwelford 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Sites like Wikipedia don’t need any more authority. The article is naive.

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from cre8pc 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Sad to see another wall thrown up between SEO and usability.

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from Halfdeck 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Yeah so I guess robots.txt and META ROBOTS tags are equally evil in manipulating how bots index pages on a client’s site. Gimme a break.

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from DariaGoetsch 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I don’t agree with the tone of the original article or the generalization that most SEOs do not focus on usability or website structure.

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from HamletBatista 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I personally don’t nofollow my internal links, but I do think the technique has its merits. The article is way off

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from Jonah 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Nofollow for PR sculpting is a legitimate and useful tool that allows boilerplate content to be linked globally without worrying about diluting page rank.

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from AccuraCast 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I agree with the point of the article but i’m just tired of reading the same old shit spewed out every week.

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from NickWilsdon 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

HalfDeck has already said it. These are valid techniques.

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from searchcommander 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This is the first thing I’ve ever Desphunn - and well deserved too.

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from JohnWeb 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Not only is it an invalid argument, its not even backed up with any proof. Pure conjecture, and wrong at that.

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from Jeremy 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’m surprised SEL would even publish this. Hands down the least accurate, most poorly thought out article I have ever read on SEL.

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from FLSEO 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This is a highly subjective point of view ... to tell the community that rel="nofollow" is dubious advice is negligent. She obviously does not have a very professional way of communication

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from andyed 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Wow, what an attitude. When your TOS and Privacy Policy show up in your site links, I bet the tune changes.

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from DanThies 1738 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Desphunn so as not to reward ignorance. It’s just a tool.

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