After watching an increasing number of smarmy SEOs and supposedly “leading” SEOs come out of the woodwork over the past couple of weeks, I have decided I cannot sit by quietly any longer. If ever there was proof that search engine optimization and science fiction were closely tied together, the PageRank Sculpting debate is it.
If you have absolutely no interest in promoting your Website, I’ll be getting back to brass tacks and SF later this weekend. However if, like me, you’re a fan site operator who wants to build up traffic and search visibility, then you need to read my article Internal Links SEO: PageRank Sculpting Hurting More Sites.
PageRank Sculpting is a sham SEO tactic that was popularized about 2-1/2 years ago. It doesn’t work but the people who preach its virtues have insisted that their tests prove it works. These same people, however, failed to notice when Google changed the way it assigns PageRank to internal links about 2 years ago. So much for the sham SEO tests.
PageRank Sculptors argue that they can increase your Website’s search visibility by hiding internal links from search engines. In June 2009 Google revealed that it had altered the PageRank part of its algorithm to compensate for the harm that Websites attempting to sculpt PageRank had done to themselves. So all the SEOs who thought they had improved client sites’ search visibility with PageRank Sculpting were only noticing Google’s ability to defuse their sham tactic. They never realized that their PageRank Sculpting was doing almost nothing.
And yet now the PageRank Sculpting community — refusing to learn its lesson — has begun preaching a new set of link hiding methods that Google and other search engines may not be able to detect and defuse. Although it could be reasonably argued that I should leave these fools to sink in their own ships, many of them are surprisingly consultants and agency SEOs who work with clients. So the unsuspecting clients are paying for sham search optimization advice from so-called professionals.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the search optimization industry has no standards. I mean, literally, there is no professional standards organization. People who have railed against SEO as being nothing more than a sophisticated con job have hit near the mark — if only because the PageRank Sculpting myth embarrasses the SEO industry.
It’s unfortunate that some people who have been in the industry long enough to have developed some measure of skepticism have not been able to exercise it. Were it not for the people that have been misled by this mysterious Force from Beyond I wouldn’t normally care enough to say anything about PageRank Sculpting.
If you have read an article that proclaims the virtues of PageRank Sculpting, don’t believe it. The concept is based on faux science. The claims of success are all based on a failure to correctly detect and interpret the search results.
DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH ANY SEO who advocates the sculpting of PageRank.
They have no way of tracking and measuring real PageRank.
They have no way of accurately predicting how a Website’s search visibility can or should be affected by hiding links from search engines.
Some of the industry’s leading voices have spoken out against this practice but they have been ignored. In my opinion, anyone in the SEO industry who sells or consults for PageRank sculpting after this weekend is nothing more than a con artist. They have no more excuses for trying to pass off this nonsense as real search engine optimization.