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PageRank sculpting is an advanced SEO technique that gained popularity in 2007, when Matt Cutts pointed out that Google was using rel=”nofollow” to control which videos YouTube passed PageRank value (commonly referred to as “link juice”) to. So buy using rel="nofollow" on some links, webmasters could direct more link juice to some important pages in the same website and not waist it on navigational link. But that doesn't work anymore, as Danny Sullivan explains:

Imagine authority is money, and a particular page has $10 in “authority” to spend. It links out to 10 pages, so each of those pages gets $1 ($10 divided by 10). If it links to 20 pages, each gets 50 cents ($10 divided by 20). If it links to 5 pages, each page gets $2 (you get the math by now).

So rather than being able to apportion a page’s link juice, now you can only choose whether or not to pass that link juice on—the link juice you don’t use evaporates:

Again — and being really simplistic here — if you have $10 in authority to spend on those ten links, and you block 5 of them, the other 5 aren’t going to get $2 each. They’re still getting $1. It’s just that the other $5 you thought you were saving is now going to waste.

This means that the link juice isn’t as strong to the un-nofollowed links as it used to be.

Google has also started indexing links in JavaScript—which used to be a “Google-approved” way to keep from passing link juice to paid links.

While there’s no immediate penalty for not fixing those paid links immediately, it’s important to know that if you were using JavaScript as a Google-okay method of displaying paid links, unless you’re redirecting through a page that’s blocked by robots.txt, you’ll have to find another way to display your paid links (if you care about following Google’s guidelines, anyway).

[via marketingpilgrim.com]