PageRank Siloing or Sculpting - What is It?

This article briefly describes you the idea of PageRank Siloing or Sculpting and tries to explain whether you should do it, or not do it or do it partially.
| Friday, October 24, 2008
Sometimes you really don't find what you are looking for on the web. Recently, I was searching for "PageRank Siloing" and "PageRank Sculpting" without any proper results explaining it clearly for beginners. So, I decided to write this article that would help explain what exactly is PR Sculpting and how it is done.

Understanding PageRank Siloing/Sculpting

PageRank Siloing and Sculpting basically mean the same thing. Going by the actual meaning of the word sculpting, it is quite obvious that it means "to construct something or to shape something". PR Sculpting is about how to design internal links on your website which would aid in improving your Google PR. This technique involves linking to only those pages on your site which match the theme of the current page. For example, if you are selling dog food on a page, you can link to pages like dog food recipes, healthy dog foods, etc rather than linking to cat food, pet adoption, lion food etc. All unrelated pages that link from the current page are set the rel="nofollow" attribute. The basic idea is to give more PR juice to those pages that are closely related and more important. The practice of PR sculpting has been in effect since long.  In the good old days, people used to achieve this using javascript as crawlers had problem crawling and identifying javascript links. PR sculpting can also be achieved with the use of robots.txt, needless to say how. Most SEOs do this in a bid to target keyword phrases that are most important to them and thereby stand a better chance to rank in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). So, the big question is whether one should do it" Well, it depends! its all about how search engines take the whole sculpting thing in the future. One cannot ascertain how search engine algorithms would behave with regards sculpted pages.

I personally think, sculpting is a little bit over hyped. Most expert SEOs do say this helps, but the big question is how much; I mean c'mon search engines rank pages based on 100s of factors, so giving sculpting too much importance would be crazy. However, it would certainly be different in case of bigger more established sites, as we can say they have the capacity and capability to try it out; for sites that just started their journey on the web - I would recommend this as a moderate no no!

Can sculpting be useful?

PageRank Sculpting can sure benefit in some ways. Sculpting if done wisely can be beneficial like setting nofollow or blocking pages that provide little or no value for people searching through search engines. For God's sake nobody is going to search your contactus or terms and conditions page through search engines. They can instead follow these pages of yours through your homepage. When thinking about sculpting, imagine the distribution of PR juice that each page would get; blocking unwanted pages is only ideal. However, if you are trying to achieve sculpting for a lot of pages on your site and trying to draft a sculpted internal link structure - think on the feasibility and maintenance aspects first.

Update

This is what Matt Cuts our GoogleGuy said about sculpting in an interview -

"Good example is, maybe you have a login page, and everybody ends up linking to that login page. That provides very little content value, so you could NoIndex that page, but then the outgoing links would still have PageRank.Now, if you want to you can also add a NoFollow metatag, and that will say don't show this page at all in Google's Index, and don't follow any outgoing links, and no PageRank flows from that page. We really think of these things as trying to provide as many opportunities as possible to sculpt where you want your PageRank to flow, or where you want Googlebot to spend more time and attention."
   
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