Web Design and Development
Improving and maintaining PageRank is a top priority for webmasters because it affects how much traffic a website will receive from Google. But what many webmasters do not realize is that their websites are leaking PageRank, causing their overall site-wide PageRank to be lower than it should be.
PageRank leakage is when outbound links to external websites give away pagerank that could be better distributed among pages within the website. The effect of pagerank leakage is most profound when a website has many links to external sites, and when internal pages are not well linked.
There are two main ways to prevent PageRank leakage:
Many websites and blogs have footers and sidebars which contain outbound links. The footer, for example, might contain links to the company that developed the website or to the content management system on which it was built. And the sidebar often contains a blogroll.
The problem is that these links are typically displayed on every page of the website, causing PageRank to exit and adding no value to the page.
To fix this problem, you can remove all of these redundant links and place them in all in one single page. This solution is very popular because it enables webmasters to share a limited amount of PageRank, while not dramatically contributing to the website’s overall PageRank leakage.
Another way to limit PageRank leakage is to completely stop links from passing PageRank. This is easily done by adding nofollow to links, as shown in the example below.
<a href="http://www.example.com" rel="nofollow">Example</a>
This method is very effective, however, many webmasters are reluctant to add nofollow to links because it is often considered selfish to avoid passing PageRank to legitimate websites. And you also don’t want to completely stop linking to websites because there is evidence that Google does take your outbound links into consideration when ranking your website. But you should consider using nofollow when linking to advertisers and sponsors, and in any links that you do leave in your footer or sidebar.
You can also use these techniques to control PageRank distribution within your website. If you have some preferred content that you want to rank well, you can prioritize it by linking liberally to it from your other pages. Additionally, if you want to avoid wasting PageRank on a page, you can opt to use nofollow links when linking internally.
In the Google Webmasters/Site owners help, Google calls this crawl prioritization and gives the following example:
Search engine robots can’t sign in or register as a member on your forum, so there’s no reason to invite Googlebot to follow "register here" or "sign in" links. Using nofollow on these links enables Googlebot to crawl other pages you’d prefer to see in Google’s index.
For more information on pagerank, see our article "How To Improve and Maintain Your Google Pagerank".Tags: Google, links, nofollow, pagerank