Matt Cutts on Internal Nofollow & Pagerank Sculpting

  • Thread starter 15Katey
  • Start date


May 10, 2021
Reaction Score
  • #1
I was reading up on whether or not using the nofollow attribute for internal links was advised and I stumbled upon a post written by Matt Cutts of Google back in 2009. Apparently, after the nofollow link attribute was created, some crafty webmasters decided to use it to their advantage. They would add nofollow to any link on a page that they deemed unimportant, which would have the effect of "funneling" pagerank to those remaining links that the nofollow attribute wasn't applied to. Initially, they had good success, that is, until Google caught wind of what they were doing. As a response, Google changed the way their pagerank flowed through websites so the funneling effects no longer bore fruit. Basically, as Matt Cutts stated in his post, if there are ten links on a page and five of those links have the nofollow attribute applied to them, 20% of the page's link juice no longer passes through each remaining link. The way Google reconfigured things, now only 10% of the page's link juice passes through each remaining link. The remaining 50% of the link juice goes somewhere. And therein lies the rub. Neither Matt nor anyone at Google, as far as I know, has ever indicated where the remaining link value goes. Does it evaporate? Does it go down the toilet? Does it get applied to the five links that have the nofollow attribute applied to them? It's sort of like blocking pages in the robots.txt file. If you link to those pages within your website, those URLs still have pagerank value applied to them, even though they're blocked. That's my opinion, of course. I may be way off. This is just what I've noticed through the years.

In Matt's post, he says that it's not a good idea to use the nofollow attribute for internal links. He says it's just not a good idea. That pagerank doesn't flow through those links. The thing is, I've observed very successful website utilizing tons of nofollowed links on many of their pages. Forums are good examples of these. I'll search for something on Google and the first page of results will be full of forums; all of which use many, many nofollowed links on both their landing pages as well as their forum list pages.

This leads me to ask the question - what gives? Has the overall pagerank of an entire website taken precedence over individual pages? Does a nofollowed URL aquire pagerank, but not pass any through to other pages? If so, wouldn't that be considered just a terminal page that contains no external links on it? And if it is, who cares? The internet is full of dead-end pages that have pagerank. I guess what Matt's saying is that perhaps the URL will have pagerank applied to it, but since the content may or may not be crawled, those pages will never rank for anything. But then again, isn't that the purpose of nofollow? I'm so confused.

If you have any insight into this topic, please feel free to share your opinion down below. I should would appreciate it. This is the very technical side of technical SEO and any and all opinions are welcome.