Series of Google updates raised numerous thoughts and philosophies against the link building methodologies. Although there were no doubt in the authority of links in populating results higher in the SERPs. And kept the principles of link building same in the core.
(Although to control the link spam Google has stopped updating the PR, check my last post for more details Google Page Rank Gone- Future of SEO Ahead )
Google was never able to deny the importance of links in computing the authority and reputation of webpages.
According to the algorithm attribution of PR points were supposed to decay(10-15%) with each link transfers.
So What is Link Sculpting?
Consecutively this raised the importance for webmasters to harness the actual potential of PR points while either manipulating or rendering the same for their ranking needs. And this was termed as PR sculpting or Page Rank sculpting.
And the weapon for this tactic was encoded with rel=nofollow attribute.
rel=nofollow got global recognition post penguin updates and this made necessary for everyone to understand it’s importance; especially for bloggers, to add nofollow attributes to all it’s comments and outgoing links which were not worth “referring and relevant”.
rel=nofollow was not only helpful to save pr dilution when pointing to external links, but was also helpful to direct the pr points, considering the internal pages based on importance. To what extent this is recommended is still a debatable topic.
How to understand the competition’s sculpting practices?
To understand the sculpting practices at your niche-
1.Download “Add-ons”/ “Extensions” from your browser; for example- for Mozilla download “Highlight NoFollow links 126.96.36.199” and restart your browser
2.Open your competitor’s website; for the sake of the post let’s open realtor.com
3.Locate rectangular dotted box on the webpage
These highlighted anchor texts are generally those links which are restricted to retrieve any PR juice or PR points.
Hence all these concludes that pages which are created just to provide generic information and are not relevant to pop-up ROI can be kept in “nofollow” loops. For Example you may add “nofollow” attributes to these pages:
1.Agent Benefit Program
6. Contact Us
9.Categories duplicating the content
11.Social media icons
Note that excessive practices can hamper your SERPs, so make sure that you are not aggressively adding these attributes at your code or consult an expert or SEO consultant for more clarity.
Check out my last post to know best link building practices for 2015
Above pros and cons of nofollow are explained considering the internal website links but the same tactics are worth considering when you are getting the same from external sources.
Follow or No-follow? Better to adopt balance link profile
At the end your objective is to generate relevant traffic, and ultimately business; and both can only be achieved by balanced targeted approach. I am sure you must have read Matt Cutts popular suggestions on Links.
The objective is not to make your link appear natural, The objective is that your links are natural
Huge variation in the follow & nofollow ratio can send spam signals to Google; and more likely are the chances of collateral damages.
So balance carefully and stay tuned with your referral and search engine traffic flows.
Tips to extract more out of your nofollow links:
1.Relevancy in pages- CTRs have lot more to do with the relevancy; links and comments post on non-relvant resources may get some traffic but they will be only helpful in increasing your bandwidth not your customer base.
2.Relevancy in Content-Comments should be relevant to page topics; create and comment something sensible on to the topic and divert from the flow.
Note that both (follow/nofollow) are important and both deserves the place on your online marketing strategies.
Wrapping it Up
Google has nailed down the massive link building practices to prevent enormous web-spams; even though it plays major role in populating results in SERPs. Right of link selection lies on your though processes and expertise. It’s never recommended to jump into a practice without actually identifying the sources which are actually good for your campaign and this requires complete competition & market analysis.
Post analysis you need to keep track on balancing your nofollow & dofollow link attributions & keeping a constraint on rich anchor text link generation.
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