Monday Morning SEO: Social Search and PageRank Sculpting

Monday Morning SEO: Social Search and PageRank Sculpting

SEO is an ever evolving discipline, and keeping on top of changes is one of the challenges that any SEO faces. This means that the typical SEO spends part of their day researching what the search engines say they are doing, keeping in touch with what other SEOs are writing about, exploring new websites and new business models on the Web, participating in social networks and other sites where news and information and ideas are shared.

One type of site that can be helpful are curation sites, where links and often some commentary about the destinations of those links are shared. A few that I visit regularly and find informative are the marketing focused community curation site, the startup and tech-oriented curation site Hacker News, and the Web technology industry focused Techmeme.

Without those curation sites, I’d have to rely upon my RSS feeds at bloglines and Google Reader. Being able to visit sites and find new content through an RSS feed speeds up the discovery process tremendously.

I only have a handful of pages to cover out in this edition of Monday Morning SEO, but I also wanted to point at some of the places where we discover some of the new content that we write about. The Web is a huge source of information, and having sources like curation sites and RSS feed readers makes it easier to keep track of the research we do as SEOs.

Eric Enge conducts interviews with a lot of people in the Search and SEO fields, and usually uncovers some really useful information while doing so. In his latest interview with the head of Bing’s search, Stefan Weitz, we get some insights into Bing’s integration with a growing number of social networks in their approach to social search. Their recent addition of FourSquare annotations into Bing is discussed, as well as some hints of how Quora might be among some future additions.

Last week, Google made another addition to their Google Analytics suite of tools, with the addition of a Structured Data Dashboard that can show you different types of features that you’ve integrated into your site, and a rich-snippet testing tool that will tell you whether or not those features are working the way you might hope they are. It’s nice being able to conveniently test these types of features.

I’ve been discussing features related to local search with Mike Blumenthal at his blog for a number of years, and he does a great job of keeping the industry informed of new changes and features involving local search, as well as bugs in the operation of Google Maps. His post from last week detailing the Step by Step Guide to the Google+ Business/Local Merge Verification Process is extremely useful.

Retro Corner

To close things out for this week’s Monday Morning SEO, a look back at PageRank Sculpting, and Matt Cutt’s blog post on the topic that disclosed a change at Google on how they had been treating the nofollow link value.

The rel=”nofollow” attribution value for links was introduced in 2005 to try to help bloggers buried by spam within their comments. Google later pointed to another use for it, to link to pages where a link might have been paid for, such as an advertisement. Google’s guidelines on the nofollow value describe those uses today.

When Matt wrote his post, a number of people in the SEO community were trying to use nofollow links to try to control which pages got PageRank and which didn’t. Matt told us of a change in how Google was using the link value with his post:

So what happens when you have a page with “ten PageRank points” and ten outgoing links, and five of those links are nofollowed? Let’s leave aside the decay factor to focus on the core part of the question. Originally, the five links without nofollow would have flowed two points of PageRank each (in essence, the nofollowed links didn’t count toward the denominator when dividing PageRank by the outdegree of the page). More than a year ago, Google changed how the PageRank flows so that the five links without nofollow would flow one point of PageRank each.

His post is a good example of why it’s so important for SEOs to keep on top of changes in Search and the SEO industry.

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