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A lot of things leak. Pipes leak. Basements leak. Sometimes even humans leak! However, there is one leak that many people might not be aware of, and it can be quite the factor in determining your blog or websites overall success. What am I be talking about?
Yes, seriously. Now, we all know that the one thing that all webmasters and bloggers have in common is a goal to attain a high PageRank and keep it. We all know the importance of that magical (and sometimes controversial) number, and when Google decides to update PageRank, it's roughly ten times worse than waiting for Christmas day to come when you were six years old.
When that sweet PR comes down the pipe and its official, it can be very rewarding (or sometimes quite disastrous, depending on your situation). In any case, when a blog/website gets a PR assigned, the goal is to at the very least maintain it, and better yet, work on making it higher. Keep in mind – there is one factor that you may not have thought about, that will eat away at that precious PR if you're not careful.
That's right; your PageRank really can leak. *gasp* Over the course of time, if this leak isn't fixed, then come the next Google update time, you will surely be sorry. Never fear, as there are a couple of measures you can take starting today that can save you from this silent PR killer. They are surprisingly easy to understand, even for an SEO noob.
Simply speaking, “Leaking PageRank” happens when your outbound links “leak” out PageRank that would normally be distributed to your internal pages, therefore reducing your blog/website's overall PageRank. Which we all know isn't good. This can really hurt a blogger/webmaster in many ways, so we need to take a look at why this is happening and what you can do about it right now.
The first countermeasure is to increase internal linking throughout your site. That means that when you write your next article, be sure to try and include a reference to an older article which is relevant to the one you just wrote. This should be common practice for you anyway, but it's easily forgotten.
Also, make use of tags, as tagging is an extremely easy way to increase internal linking. Make a habit of tagging all of your posts. Another way to increase that internal link love is to link to popular and recent posts/articles in your sidebar. This is something that most people do anyway, but if you're not practicing this, then it behooves you to start doing this right away. Not only can it help counteract PR leaking, but it can also bring visitors to your best and most recent articles, which has many benefits alone.
Last, but definitely not least, in order to help counteract the effects of PageRank leaking, you need to immediately get rid of redundant outbound links. Think of your sidebar, I bet you have a blogroll, maybe even a list of the top/recent commentators and similar links. These are most likely being displayed on every single page of your site. If your site is old enough, this can mean hundreds or even thousands of pages. Talk about major leakage!
Don't worry though, the quickest, best, and easiest fix is to limit these types of blogrolls or link lists to be included exclusively on your homepage, and no where else. There are many different ways of doing this, and the best way to find out how to do it for your particular site is to Google it. For example, go to Google and type in “limiting blogroll to your homepage. You'll uncover enough results to find out how to do it for your specific platform.
If you don't feel like doing this (I don't see why not, it's really easy) then you also have the option of keeping your blogroll on its own special page. Even worse, if you're really lazy, you could add the “nofollow” attribute to your blogroll and/or top/recent commentators, but that would kind of defeat the purpose of having them.
In conclusion, you really don't have an excuse for not putting these strategies into place right after you get done reading this article. Leaking PageRank may not be your top priority now, but once you are established and your site is on top of the world, the last thing you want is to be quietly leaking PR behind the scenes. It could really ruin your day. So plug that leak right now, get into those internal linking habits.