SEO – Link Building Series: Arrest Page Rank leak & Optimize Your WordPress Blog

What we have seen so far in this series is a number of tips on how to SEO Optimize your blog – both onsite and offsite. Keyword optimization, Page structure optimization, Internal linking etc are examples of onsite SEO optimization. Backlink building, being in the good neighbourhood, getting social bookmarked etc are some of the offsite SEO examples.

As I mentioned sometime ago, the judicious use of the rel property is essencial on every single page of your website to make sure that the link love is shared with deserving target pages. In this post, I shall share a few practical tips to make sure that the possible PR leak from your pages is prevented thereby retaining more PR weightage for yourself.

Tips to arrest PR leak on your blog pages

The following are the actual fixes that I recently did to this blog’s homepage in order to reduce the total number of links and put rel=nofollow on certain links.

#1 Reduce the total number of links

I had a personal goal of reducing the total number of links on my homepage to 100. After some effort, I was successful in bringing it down to 110s from 140s by using the following methods:

  • Reduced the top commenters count from 8 to 7 and further to 6
  • On mutual agreement, I took out 3 blog roll links and link exchanges. Moving it to a different page would be an even better idea
  • Took out my favorite pro-blogger lists (3) and charity links (2) that were not at all receiving any clicks!
  • Took out the link on the author name under each post title
  • Reduced the homepage Recent posts count to 6 where as for individual posts it is still 8
  • Totally redundant stuff such as Recent comments, chronological archives etc were either removed or shifted to inner pages long back

Another step that I actively started taking sometime ago was to stop linking from the excerpt area or whatever comes before the ‘more’ tag of the posts. This makes sure that quite a few links are reduced on the home page depending on the number of posts you show there. But indisciple has now pushed my homepage link count to 120s.

#2 Work with the ‘Read more’ or ‘Continue reading’ link

Warning: Before proceeding further let me warn you that the next few changes are actually done on the WordPress core files or the theme files. If you want to attempt these changes, please backup those files first and in addition keep the change log in a text file or something like that.

A quick run via the NoDoFollow Firefox extension revealed that both the post title and the continue reading were following links. Now, even though they are links pointing to internal pages, why mark both of them as follow links. Moreover, I would rather make the Post title as a following link (because it has keywords, may be) and continue reading doesn’t carry any such value. So I edited the get_the_content() function in the file wp-includes\post-template.php to mark all ‘more’ links as nofollow (See the image below)

change to the more link

This change saves as many following links as the number of posts that you display on your home page.

#3 Optimize Recent Posts

I decided to work on recent posts for two reasons. First, I wanted to set the recent posts count to a reasonable number for a regular but weekly visitor. But for a search visitor (who usually hits single posts) I wanted to provide more options. So the following code was added to implement the Recent Posts (I do not use a widget)

Now, I wanted to mark it ‘nofollow’ because (i) most recent posts are already available on the homepage and hence the sidebar version’s role here was faster accessibility (ii) Single posts PR dilution had to be avoided as much as possible by not linking unrelated posts

(Small but sensible changes like not showing the latest post in ‘Recent Posts’ if the user is on homepage etc were already present)

change to recent posts feature

#4 Top Commentator Plugin

On the top commentator plugin, the idea was to give PR juice to regular visitors where as this had to happen via home page alone. By giving PR juice from internal pages, they are not benefited much where as the donor pages (single posts/pages) were loosing a lot. The following were the changes done to my version of the Top Commentator Plugin

change to the top commentator plugin

#5 Blogroll Links

Making blogroll links nofollow on inner pages is done via the following code change in the _walk_bookmarks function (wp-includes\bookmark-template.php module)

change to bookmarks rel property

#6 Comments, Responses links

The links to comments of posts (the link that read ‘Leave a comment’, ‘3 Responses’ etc) was made nofollow as well by editing the wp-inclueds/comment-template.php method by name comments_popup_link.

#7 Popular posts

The popular posts feature in my case has been a manually updated list. I decided to selectively mark some of them as ‘nofollow’ on the homepage because even without a following link they were already popular with search engines. In addition, on all other pages than the homepage, the popular posts were made ‘nofollow’! This change was done on the footer area.

#8 Other changes

In addition, I changed the following URLs on the homepage to rel=nofollow:

  • All external blogstat links and the widgets. This includes RSS (feedburner) URL and button image, blogcatalog, follow-me on twitter, twittercounter etc. Some of them use Javascript to render the links and in this case it wasn’t completely possible
  • All social bookmark links
  • All pages linked from the top nav bar. They mainly contained contact, advertise, archives, about pages which I thought do not any search visibility

Things in the TODO list

The category links under the post title is something that I haven’t made nofollow yet. This is due to the need to write a couple more variations of the stock functions.

(In addition, I would like to mention another important aspect of inbound PR juice here. Sometimes, you have to also make sure that you actually get the PR juice that you deserve from your link building campaigns. At the end the net PR that your pages is what really matters)

I hope that, with these changes and some link building, I will get an improved page rank on homepage during the next PR update. Please provide your comments as to whether some of the tips mentioned above are of some use to you or they are utter nonsense! Also, please let me know if the code snippets mentioned in the tips could be improvised at all.

Happy SEO!

Part X: A SEO Case study


  1. Believe it or not you can over-optimize and google penalizes for this. Excessive usage of nofollow has been proven unofficially to be demerit link authority. Few case studies done – look up the seo sultan for more info.

  2. I am concerned that your new nofollow link policy will largely be negated by Google’s new nofollow policy

  3. I’ve got a penalty by Google because of the big number of inner links I have on my wordpress blog pages. Fortunately after applying your tips I’ll be back in serps. I’m especially interested to add rel nofollow to a part of sidebar links (I have top articles, top visited posts, etc).

    Thanks mate!


  1. […] motives behind the change was to stop PR leak, improve internal linking, allow some of the selected posts to receive more PR juice, get more […]

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