Danny Dover at SEOmoz posted a “scientific” study on whether or not PageRank Sculpting works and his conclusion was – surprise! – it works. Michael Martinez at SEO Theory wrote a scathing refutation of the report. Who is right?
I have to say that my concern is the same as Michael’s and a few other prominent SEOs. Why doesn’t Dover provide the list of websites he used for his study? He’s asking us all to take his results as gospel without providing the necessary proof. That said, I’m willing to accept that maybe, possibly, PageRank Sculpting works under a few isolated cases. If the conditions are right you can influence your PageRank using internal links. But I’m not willing to buy that spending the time on pursuing it is worth it in the long run.
For every search engine optimization decision you make there is a cost and a (potential) benefit. The problem with SEO cost-benefit analyses is that what works today may not work tomorrow. So you spend hundreds or thousands of hours sculpting your PageRank only to find out a year or two later that everything you accomplished went up in smoke. Maybe that’s why Danny and SEOmoz chose not to publish the websites – they’re afraid Google may reverse engineer the study and change their algorithms to shut it down. Or maybe the test just doesn’t prove the conclusion? Or maybe it does and Danny is protecting his future tests?
Or maybe it doesn’t really matter! If PageRank Sculpting ever really worked at all, it only worked on sites large enough that you’d have to spend hundreds or thousands of man hours carving your link juice just to improve the PageRank on a few pages of your site when you could have done the same thing by performing honest link building, which we’re fairly confident will always be approved by Google and a part of their ranking algorithms.
Personally, while I think this is an interesting discussion, I think PageRank Sculpting is a waste of time. What do you think?