Nofollow Change: Why Life Just Got Tougher for Niche Sites

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Niche sites exist, by their own definitions, to fill the gaps left behind by their larger, less focused competitors.

However, have those gaps really been left behind because the larger site is inept, or because their focus was in a different place all along?

Enter PageRank sculpting.

For years, large sites have focused PageRank flow to broader, more easily monetized, landing pages. They’ve sacrificed much of their deeper content to do so. This deep content, as it turns out, is exactly the content that many niche sites use as their competitive advantage.

Recently, however, Google stated that the use of Nofollow to sculpt PageRank is ineffective. The large site, built around PageRank sculpting for years, now has something to consider.

Follow this thought progression carefully:

  1. The large site has been very successful with SEO using PageRank sculpting.
  2. The large site learns that they have been successful in spite of, and not because of, PageRank sculpting.
  3. The large site now realizes their perceived incentive in Nofollowing deep content was taken away some time ago. Yet, they were wildly successful with their pages done this way.
  4. The large site, having no reason to continue Nofollowing deep content, removes the Nofollows. Potentially millions of previously buried, deep content pages are now crawlable.
  5. This long tail content, granular, linked well and detailed by nature, is now made powerful and accessible to Google.
  6. The depth and focus of this long tail content turns out to be exactly what the niche site has been built around exploiting.

And now it’s not so niche.

Do you see this as a very possible result? Are you, as a niche site, concerned that your competitive advantage could be in jeopardy? How do you see Nofollow changes, or clarifications, changing the SEO landscape? Am I right or wrong? Let all of us know how you feel. Make sure you comment below as this one has the potential to get heated down there in the ‘Comments’.

Matt Leonard currently directs SEO, SEM and Revenue Management for Cruise Critic, the world’s largest cruise site and part of the Trip Advisor Media Group. You can follow Matt Leonard on Twitter to keep up with his updates

Matt Leonard
Matt Leonard currently directs SEO, SEM and Revenue Management for Cruise Critic, the world’s largest cruise site and part of the Trip Advisor Media Group.... Read Full Bio
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