Drupal Nofollow Link Sculpting
"Link sculpting" (also know as "pagerank sculpting" or "link juice flow optimization") is one of the more recent and popular trends in search engine optimization. Although some people have been using this concept for years, it has entered the SEO mainstream over the past year or so.
The idea is that if links are "votes", then you only want to vote for the content you care about on your website. So, if there are pages on your site that don't really add much value in terms of SEO yet you want to keep them for your users benefit, then you can use the "rel=nofollow" attribute on the links to that page or in the meta data in the page. This will notify the search engines that, for some reason, you don't want them bothering with that page, and don't want to give them any link juice. Examples might be a "policy" or "copyright" page, which would often be linked to on every page of your website yet isn't that SEO worthy.
Many sites use "nofollow" for any links within user-generated content (including drupal.org and wikipedia) since they cannot vouch for the link and it may end up pointing to a spam site. You don't want your site associated with bad sites, so this is a proper use of "nofollow". But, more recently, "nofollow" has been adopted into use for link sculpting as well.
There is some controversy over the use of "nofollow" for pagerank sculpting. One naysayer is well-known SEO expert Shari Thurow who discusses not using the "nofollow" attribute. But, the original idea was strengthen by Google's own Matt Cutts when he said:
"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."
So while Shari believes that it's bad information and site architecture to need to rely on "nofollow", Matt is saying that it's not really a problem. So, many people are on the pagerank sculpting bandwagon including those doing Drupal SEO.
There are several ways to you can deal with using "nofollow" in Drupal to optimize your link juice flow:
- Nofollow Module - Drupal 5 only and only dev version.
- Meta Tags (nodewords) Module - You can set the nofollow on the page itself.
- Menu Attributes Module - My new favorite module! Only available for Drupal 6, it was just developed in the last month or so. You can set all sorts of handy attributes for any menu item. Why didn't anyone do this feature before?!
So, get your link juice optimized using Drupal nofollow link sculpting techniques today... it's easy!
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