Bot herding (read “PageRank Sculpting”)
Amplify Interactiveâ€™s notes from SMX Advanced Seattle 2008
First day of SMX Advanced, my focus today is on the SEM Organic Track
Session 1: Bot Herding
Moderator: Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz
Q&A Moderator: Matt McGee, SEO For hire
The real title of this session probably should have been “Pagerank sculpting”, and that was the focus. It was about making sure that the Pagerank you acquire from Google goes to the right places on your site. Due to this, there was quite a bit of technical (SMX “Advanced” right) information concerning cloaking and “conditional redirects” that I am not covering.
Amplify Interactive does you robots.txt files and nofollow to accomplish PageRank sculpting. The more technical elements (“conditional redirects” and “cloaking”) are not used by us. Using these methods can be viewed as sinister by Google b/c the search result may not be the same page as the user sees. There can be ways to do this correctly, except the definition of “correctly” seems to change with search engine algorithmic and policy changes.
Michael Gray, Atlas Web Service
There is no reason to waste your PR on your contact page.
What to sculp out?
- Locations (unless multiple location business), put address in footers
- Company bios, unless wanted for rep management
- Legal pages, advertising stats,
Use Nofollow to sculpt.
New sites should do this. When you are building a new site, it is much easier to put these practices forward at the beginning. If you are trying to work with an older site–”If there are other major issues (fires), take care of this first.” Basically, although it is important, we don’t know how important so work on serious problems (duplicate content) before going into this advanced method.
Adam Audette, AudetteMedia
Adam is not a fan of PageRank sculpting and he had eight points against it. The main issues are that we donâ€™t know everything about PR. We do not know how much we have on a domain. It fluctuates as well.
- Sculpting PR is back-seat to making a good user experience.
- There is no standard among search engines.
- Nofollow is aimed at Google PR, not user experience and as stated above, not fully understood.
More at www.audettemedia.com/nofollowStephan Spencer, Netconcepts:
First, Stephan came out with some serious slides and information. There were a ridiculous amount of slides that even a court reporter couldn’t keep up with. Stephan speaks about very technical subjects and problems with dynamic URLs and duplicate content problems on e-commerce sites and how to fix this. At Amplify, we provide SEM-friendly URLs. We currently do not deal with any e-commerce sites that put users through a shopping cart that can later cause this duplication problem.
The highlight of Q&A was a Microsoft Live representative who said that MSN currently does not follow (no follow), but that will change. He later corrected this after the end of the session, but it highlighted the problems with “Page Sculpting”. In this, I agree with Adam. One should robots.txt out pages that don’t need to go into search results and use nofollow when it is obvious and can do no harm. On the other hand, building good site architecture that a visitor will enjoy is the real goal.