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How Much Is Your PageRank Worth?

August 7th, 2009
9 Comments


Just got a call from a client who is negotiating with a partner to put the partner’s content on their site.  The partner is requiring that each page with partner content link back to the partner site.  This is a typical deal point for “powered by” content-sharing arrangements, but the SEO implications could be profound.

SEO-wise content providers will make it a deal point that the link back to their site cannot be tagged as “nofollow”, which in theory would prevent the passing of PageRank to the content provider’s site.  The problem with this is that you will be passing PageRank to the other site, which helps their SEO and has real value.  My guess is very few companies have ever gotten an equivalent value in return out of this type of deal because either a) they don’t know how much the PageRank is worth – probably more than the main deal terms – and b) they don’t even realize they are providing the partner with this benefit.

So here’s what I propose:

1. Where SEO is concerned, this kind of biz dev deal is no different than buying links off a site.  So if you’re selling the links you need to figure out what they are worth.  There are no good benchmarks for this, but you could always call up a couple of linkbuilding companies and get an estimate from them as to how much they would pay for links off your site.

2. Since you probably don’t want to be passing PageRank over to the partner anyhow, you need some negotiating leverage.  As you may know, Google’s guidelines require that any paid link be tagged with a nofollow tag.  This will prevent the passing of PageRank via the link.  If you don’t use the nofollow tag here’s how Google words the potential consequences:

“Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.”

So you can effectively argue that you can’t link to the partner’s site without tagging the links as nofollow, which will make the links worthless for SEO, which was probably the reason why they wanted them so badly in the first place.


Tags: Linkbuilding

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Will Hanke // Aug 7, 2009 at 9:17 am

    I’m going to assume that isn’t what your client wanted to hear… heh

  • 2 Stever // Aug 7, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    “So you can effectively argue that you can’t link to the partner’s site without tagging the links as nofollow, which will make the links worthless for SEO, which was probably the reason why they wanted them so badly in the first place.”

    or

    So you can effectively argue that you SHOULDN’T link to the partner’s site without tagging the links as nofollow, which will make the links worthless for SEO, which was probably the reason why they wanted them so badly in the first place. So the price goes up, way way up.

  • 3 Andrew Shotland // Aug 7, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Potatoes, potahtoes Stever.

  • 4 Stever // Aug 7, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    I like my potatoes french fried :)

    I’ve run into this with clients too. They end up getting random link exchange requests, most of them of the worst sort – asking for the link to come from their home page, while the supposed reciprocal link comes from a lame, poorly crawled directory or links page with far too many links on it. Or it may be a more equitable exchange, as far as PR goes, but the two sites have nothing in common and the links provide no real value to users.

    Seems most the time those asking for such link exchanges, or content/link exchanges know full well the value and are hoping the other party does not know enough about it. Certainly not enough to assess what is a good link and a poor link.

    I generally tell my clients to ignore such requests unless their may be some value in the links for their visitors. Depending on what their business is I give them some guidelines as to determine what might be a decent link exchange. But when they do get one that MIGHT be a decent fit, do ask me about it first.

    My clients tend to be individual local businesses and for the most part any sort of paid link, be it money, or anything else in exchange, is simply not appropriate for them.

  • 5 Alain // Aug 11, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Some do not worry about PageRank, since they do not rely on organic traffic and are only interested in buying links on high traffic sites to get traffic.

    But, if you are serious about SEO then it is not worth it to buy links that pass PageRank.

  • 6 AhmedF // Aug 11, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    I don’t know how you can say that Alain – TripAdvisor is one of the most successful UGC sites ever, and their entire SEO strategy in the early 2000s was to buy text links wherever they could.

  • 7 Liza // Aug 12, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I don’t actually see the point of arguing and setting prices over Nofollow anymore, seeing as nofollowed links are now page rank sinks. You still lose that PR that you’d be passing on, it just doesn’t go to the provider of the content. And if that’s the case, why not just let them have the link juice as opposed to letting it drain away?

  • 8 Bernie // Aug 26, 2009 at 2:48 am

    Liza, some prefer not to give away something useful, even when they know the only other option is letting it go down the sink… They would prefer to ‘control’ the juice flow while they can, rather than disseminating it freely out there.

  • 9 Alok // Jan 5, 2010 at 9:32 am

    I am always afraid to respond back to a link exchange request because you never know what kind of link profile your target site is having.

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