A while back I mentioned how much better the web would be if all of us small blog owners banded together in the “dofollow” movement and removed the nofollow attribute from our comments and links to other websites. The theory I espouse is that major commercial websites (like wikipedia.org) have enough links coming to them, we don’t need to give them any more; however, smaller blog-style sites need all the help they can get. So use nofollow links to link out to the big boys and dofollow links to the rest of the unwashed masses.
I still think that’s a good theory and a great way to run your blog, but it doesn’t necessarily work with a decent-sized informational or service website. If you’ve got anywhere between a couple hundred to a couple hundred thousand pages indexed (or hoping to be indexed) in your website, then you’re going to need to consider a proper internal link structure. Hopefully this was put into practice when you originally designed the site and mapped out the site architecture. You did do that, didn’t you?
Well if you didn’t, there’s still hope for you yet. Randfish at MOZ wrote an excellent article yesterday where he outlined how to use PageRank sculpting via nofollow links to control and focus the link juice that your home page passes to internal pages. Here’s how it works:
Let’s say you obtained plenty of links to your site’s home page and you picked up a good PageRank of 5. That PageRank is just a number, don’t let it go to your head – but what it does represent is how important, or authoritative, Google feels your web page is. This does not mean you will rank first for your keywords! It just means your web page has gained some importance in Google’s determination; it may or may not have the potential to begin ranking well for your keywords depending on your SEO skills. What it does mean; however, is that you now have a PageRank of 5 which gives you a certain amount of “link juice” or “linking power” or whatever you want to call it. You can now pass that authority to other pages to make them more important as well.
OK, so your home page has achieved a PageRank of 5. But wait, you’ve got 5,000 other pages in your site – doesn’t that mean every page is important now? Nope. Every single page on your site is going to get it’s own PageRank, and quite often on a site with thousands of pages, they’ll have none. So how do they get some?
There are two methods to funnel PageRank to internal pages on a large site:
If it took you 3 months to get a substantial number of backlinks to your home page, imagine how long it will take you to get several links to each of your 5,000 internal pages? Sure, you can hire an SEO firm (please do!), or you can start funnelling your home page’s PageRank to your internal pages.
This technique will help you to pass PageRank to your internal pages where you want it most. Now the only thing left to do is start ranking those pages for your target keywords …