Websites everywhere – especially blogs – have lists of “favorite links.”
They might be a traditional blogroll – a list of other blogs that the author reads. They might be lists of resources that the author found informative. They might just be a collection of reciprocal links that the author thought would boost his search engine rankings.
Did you ever think that they might actually be damaging your SEO efforts?
A Quick Look at PageRank Calculation
Google Page Rank – a measure of your site’s importance and “trust” – is a pretty deep topic. Here’s a very brief overview, based on Phil Craven’s much more thorough explanation.
Every page starts with a Page Rank of 1. When other pages link to this page, it gains Page Rank. When it links to other pages some of this Page Rank is ultimately transferred to the other pages.
By linking to a site, you’re telling Google that you trust it – and you’re giving away some of your own search engine juice.
Not entirely. The web wouldn’t work if people didn’t link to each other. Google wouldn’t know how to crawl the web if it didn’t have external links to follow. Search engine rankings are based on a balance of give and take – you want to give out some link love, but make sure that you get some back.
Consider the effect of including an external link on every page of your website. If you have five hundred pages in your site, one link in your blogroll is really creating 500 external links. Multiply that by your typical 10-12 site blogroll, and your site is hemmorhaging page rank value.
You’re transferring a lot of your site’s collective pagerank to other sites, when you should be attempting to spread it around your more important articles and landing pages.
Is There An Alternative?
The idea of blogrolls isn’t bad. Readers want to know what influences you as a writer, and it would be a bad idea to keep them in the dark.
Nerds at Work offers an alternative solution.
The traditional blog roll is simply a list of links on the sidebar. These are a drain on pagerank, and they really don’t give your readers a lot of context.
Instead, create an alternative blogroll page – kind of like an about page. On this page, include an annotated of list of a handful of the sites that you frequently read and find important. A good rule of thumb would be a dozen sites – anything more might be overwhelming.
You should then modify your theme to include a link to this blogroll page throughout your site. It becomes one of your important meta pages – like About and Contact. When users want to know about your influences, they click on that nifty blog roll button.
You still link out to your trusted and favorite sites. Your readers know where you’re coming from. You’re not bleeding page rank anymore.
Sounds like everyone’s happy.
Are you happy? Maybe you should go and revise your blogroll.