Vaporize yourself before Google burns your linking power

PIC-1: Google PageRank(tm) 2007I couldn’t care less about PageRank™ sculpting, because a well thought out link architecture does the job with all search engines, not just Google. That’s where Google is right on the money.

They own PageRank™, hence they can burn, evaporate, nillify, and even divide by zero or multiply by -1 as much PageRank™ as they like; of course as long as they rank my stuff nicely above my competitors.

Picture 1 shows Google’s PageRank™ factory as of 2007 or so. Actually, it’s a pretty simplified model, but since they’ve changed the PageRank™ algo anyway, you don’t need to bother with all the geeky details.

As a side note: you might ask why I don’t link to Matt Cutts and Danny Sullivan discussing the whole mess on their blogs? Well, probably Matt can’t afford my advertising rates, and the whole SEO industry has linked to Danny anyway. If you’re nosy, check out my source code to learn more about state of the art linkage very compliant to Google’s newest guidelines for advanced SEOs (summary: “Don’t trust underlined blue text on Web pages any longer!”).

PIC-2: Google PageRank(tm) 2009What really matters is picture 2, revealing Google’s new PageRank™ facilities, silently launched in 2008. Again, geeky details are of minor interest. If you really want to know everything, then search for [operation bendover] at !Yahoo (it’s still top secret, and therefore not searchable at Google).

Unfortunately, advanced SEO folks (whatever that means, I use this term just because it seems to be an essential property assigned to the participants of the current PageRank™ uprising discussion) always try to confuse you with overcomplicated graphics and formulas when it comes to PageRank™. Instead, I ask you to focus on the (important) hard core stuff. So go grab a magnifier, and work out the differences:

  • PageRank™ 2009 in comparision to PageRank™ 2007 comes with a pipeline supplying unlimited fuel. Also, it seems they’ve implemented the green new deal, switching from gas to natural gas. That means they can vaporize way more link juice than ever before.
  • PageRank™ 2009 produces more steam, and the clouds look slightly different. Whilst PageRank™ 2007 ignored nofollow crap as well as links put with client sided scripting, PageRank™ 2009 evaporates not only juice covered with link condoms, but also tons of other permutations of the standard A element.
  • To compensate the huge overall loss of PageRank™ caused by those changes, Google has decided to pass link juice from condomized links to their target URI hidden to Googlebot with JavaScript. Of course Google formerly has recommended the use of JavaScript-links to prevent the webmasters from penalties for so-called “questionable” outgoing links. Just as they’ve not only invented rel-nofollow, but heavily recommended the use of this microformat with all links disliked by Google, and now they take that back as if a gazillion links on the Web could magically change just because Google tweeks their algos. Doh! I really hope that the WebSpam-team checks the age of such links before they penalize everything implemented according to their guidelines before mid-2009 or the InterWeb’s downfall, whatever comes last.

I guess in the meantime you’ve figured out that I’m somewhat pissed. Not that the secretly changed flow of PageRank™ a year ago in 2008 had any impact on my rankings, or SERP traffic. I’ve always designed my stuff with PageRank™ flow in mind, but without any misuses of rel=”nofollow”, so I’m still fine with Google.

What I can’t stand is when a search engine tries to tell me how I’ve to link (out). Google engineers are really smart folks, they’re perfectly able to develop a PageRank™ algo that can decide how much Google-juice a particular link should pass. So dear Googlers, please –WRT to the implementation of hyperlinks– leave us webmasters alone, dump the rel-nofollow crap and rank our stuff in the best interest of your searchers. No longer bother us with linking guidelines that change yearly. It’s not our job nor responsibility to act as your cannon fodder slavish code monkeys when you spot a loophole in your ranking- or spam-detection-algos.

Of course the above said is based on common sense, so Google won’t listen (remember: I’m really upset, hence polemic statements are absolutely appropriate). To prevent webmasters from irrational actions by misleaded search engines, I hereby introduce the

Webmaster guidelines for search engine friendly links

What follows is pseudo-code, implement it with your preferred server sided scripting language.

if (getAttribute($link, 'rel') matches '*nofollow*' &&
    $userAgent matches '*Googlebot*') {
    print '<strong rev="' + getAttribute(link, 'href') + '"'
    + ' style="color:blue; text-decoration:underlined;"'
    + ' onmousedown="window.location=document.getElementById(; "'
    + '>' + getAnchorText($link) + '</strong>';
else {
    print $link;

Probably it’s a good idea to snip both the onmousedown trigger code as well as the rev attribute, when the script gets executed by Googlebot. Just because today Google states that they’re going to pass link juice to URIs grabbed from the onclick trigger, that doesn’t mean they’ll never look at the onmousedown event or misused (X)HTML attributes.

This way you can deliver Googlebot exactly the same stuff that the punter surfer gets. You’re perfectly compliant to Google’s cloaking restrictions. There’s no need to bother with complicated stuff like iFrames or even disabled blog comments, forums or guestbooks.

Just feed the crawlers with all the crap the search engines require, then concentrate all your efforts on your UI for human vistors. Web robots (bots, crawlers, spiders, …) don’t supply your signup-forms w/ credit card details. Humans do. If you find the time to upsell them while search engines keep you busy with thoughtless change requests all day long.

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18 Comments to "Vaporize yourself before Google burns your linking power"

  1. Matt Pellerin on 16 June, 2009  #link

    Thank you Greg Boser for pointing me to this article… LMFAO!

    I’ve got to bookmark your site and start reading more if you’re always like this.

    I couldn’t agree more about Google wanting us to constantly change OUR code because they found a loophole in THEIR shit.

    Kudos brother, sing it like it is. :-)

  2. The Mules on 17 June, 2009  #link

    Lordy, that spam question was agonizing. In light of recent events, we felt the sum of 5 7 might be 13.7% decayed and that the answer would, in any event, result however you’d decided it should be. Your site, your rules!

    Cute and clever… and as sensible as anything we’ve read in the post-Follorida human SEO scene. Here we thought the farm dog yapped plenty — yet online, it’s been a bucket of overturned puppies all day.

  3. Michael Thomas on 17 June, 2009  #link

    How is 5 7 13.7? What are you on?? 5 7 = 12 ‘The Mules’

    Besides that good post.

    Where does that code go exactly? I agree with Matt about changing code and the way a website works behind the scenes all the time is pretty annoying.

  4. Jessan Dunn Otis on 17 June, 2009  #link

    One word - out-fookin’-standing!


  5. supaswag on 17 June, 2009  #link

    You are funny. I like you.

  6. Sebastian on 17 June, 2009  #link

    Thanks for the compliments :)

    Michael, there are so many ways to implement this functionality, but it’s not copy ‘n paste stuff. First translate the pseudo code above to:

    Feed Googlebot with any HTML element except A that can visualize the link’s anchor text, whilst human visitors get standard hyperlinks, just as before the debacle.

    Then find the routine that formats links in your CMS and implement it there.

    If your CMS isn’t that nicely structured, then perhaps you can parse the generated markup for condomized links to alter them.

    You could also run each and every text/anything (text/plain, text/html, …) output through a parser, regardless which scripts have produced the code, that works even with static HTML.

    There are so many other ways to do it. Anyway, it’s a good practice to have some centralized routine running on your Web server that controls links, and other stuff, regardless which piece of software supplies the markup.

  7. Lee Johnson on 17 June, 2009  #link

    Love the article. Its a great take on what Google has chnaged. Done with a sense of humour but with underlying quality content.

    I cant stop laughing. Love the artificial links. even better was the follow link: rel=”dofollow highly-recommended”.

    Still chuckling………..!

    Keep up the great posts!


  8. nomalab on 17 June, 2009  #link

    Had a good chuckle over this. Thank you.

  9. […] Vaporize yourself before Google burns your linking power […]

  10. Micheal on 17 June, 2009  #link

    I am so disappointed to read this post is about PageRank. I thought you were discussing Google vaporizing green herbs instead of burning them, not green fairy dust. The Volcano Vaporizer is not recommended for vaporizing PageRank ;).

    [Spammy link drop properly vaporized by this blog’s internal PageRank™Flow®-Vaporizer©.]

  11. Jonah Stein on 17 June, 2009  #link


    I really appreciate the comment you left on Matt’s blog about how many man hours Google policy changes require from everyone else.

    I have to differ with you about labeling Michael’s comment as spammy. His take is humorous and in line with the overall tone of your post. You are, after all, telling people to vaporize before Google burns and I might not understand his joke without the link.

    I understand that you choose to nofollow it (since it is your site), but I wouldn’t call it spam.

  12. Sebastian on 17 June, 2009  #link

    Jonah, I’ve changed the URI dropped by Micheal from a sales pitch for “Volcano Vaporizer” to a Google SERP featuring the product. I’ve a comment policy linked right above the input form that states “I don’t link to sales pitches, so please don’t feel offended when I remove a link”.

    I agree that the comment is humorous, that’s why I didn’t delete it. However, link drops pointing to sales pitches are spammy. I’ve just healed the comment’s minor malady. ;)

    By the way … rel="vaporize-nofollow" does not count as link condom. The REL attribute’s content is defined as a space delimited list. Hence a search engine crawler scraping “vaporize-nofollow” from my A element doesn’t count this value as “nofollow”. Maybe the CSS highlighting condomized links in your browser assumes the presence of a link condom, but search engines shouldn’t. And yes, I’m a nitpicking old fart hiding most of the funny stuff from the rendering engine.

  13. dean on 17 June, 2009  #link

    amen brother

  14. Sebastian on 17 June, 2009  #link

    Just curious … anybody spotted the implicit part of the post’s title?

    “Vaporize [your nofollow’ed links] yourself before Google burns your linking power”

    The same goes for the URI

    /dear-google-please-vaporize[links you don’t like for various reasons]-yourself-and-dont-bother-us-webmasters[with policies requiring machine readable tagging of links]/

  15. […] Danny Sullivan responde el 16 también. Mientras tanto, en todo el mundo gente como Errioxa o Sebastian se rebelan, hacen pruebas y comparten el […]

  16. Errioxa on 18 June, 2009  #link

    Other way

    function enlacesnofollow(enlace) {

    trozoUrl = “‘http://”;
    trozoOrden =”window.”;
    trozoOrden2 =”location.”;
    trozoOrden3 = “href=”;

    eva|(trozoOrden trozoOrden2 trozoOrden3 trozoUrl enlace “‘”);


    remove spaces

  17. Sebastian on 18 June, 2009  #link

    Errioxa, I’d say your routine fails after the recent changes at Google. Not only that Google figures out such stuff for ages, for example to detect sneaky JavaScript redirects, nowadays they pass link juice with such links and that’s obviously not what you want when the original link is condomized.

  18. […] Vaporize yourself before Google burns your linking power […]

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