<   Prior Home         Share Blog Bloke     Share Blog Bloke Tips       Share to Twitter       Share to Facebook       Share to Twitter       Share to Google Plus       Share to LinkedIn       Pin this       Get Updates            
        Next   >  

What is “NOFOLLOW” and Should Your Blog Get Rid of It?

Recently a reader asked me to explain in layman’s terms what is “nofollow” and what I recommend you should do about it.

Quite simply, “nofollow” is a piece of code that is inserted into a link. It’s format will look like this:


The major blog platforms including Blogger and Wordpress automatically put the “nofollow” attribute into comment links.

It was originally created as a deterrent to combat comment spam.The thinking was if the spammers knew that commenting on blogs provides no link love they will stop spamming. Or if they were too stupid to know any better then too bad for them.

Well I don’t believe it worked and in fact it only hurts legitimate commenters. After all, isn’t that what we have Akismet for?

You see, normally when the search engines index your blog and find a link, it will follow that link and decide on what rank to give it. Hence, the term “link love” because links are the stuff that search engines use to determine our blog pagerank.

But if the search engines see a “nofollow” attribute, it will not follow and just ignore the link. At least according to the theory anyway because not all search engines interpret the attribute the same. Nevertheless, the grandaddy of search engines Google strictly interprets “nofollow“ literally and will NOT “follow” the link at all.

Hence, no link love. There’s a plugin you can use that will make your Wordpress blog do follow and you can grab it here. Blogger users need only to search their template and delete any references they find.

You can also read more at: http://www.blogbloke.com/say-no-to-nofollow and just follow the links ;)

But is “nofollow” evil in all cases BLOGBloke (you might ask) ? No, in fact there can be some good uses for it.

For example, from an SEO perspective it might make sense to manually input the nofollow attribute for internal links to pages that are not relevant for the search engines and are only for visitors to the blog. This could include pages such as “About Me”, “Contact Me”,  etc.

Or perhaps you might want to link to a blog but don’t want to give them any linky love. Like for example that snobbish a-lister you have a love/hate relationship with. ;)

All you have to do is insert the code like so:

< a rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.blog-snob.com” >

Sneaky, but effective. :)

UPDATE: Since writing this article numerous sites have popped up listing blogs that have removed “nofollow”. This is done solely for the purpose of targeting “dofollow” blogs to game them and improve the spammer’s pagerank. Unfortunately the comments left behind are garbage and in fact spam, leaking out the legitimate blog’s Google juice over to these garbage links that are left behind and damaging our reputation.

I’ve played around with various plugins that enable or disable “nofollow” on a case by case basis but none of them work very well. It is also a pain in the you know what trying to determine which comment is legitimate and what isn’t. It is very time consuming and extremely aggravating.

So unfortunately I’ve had to reconsider my position on this topic. I feel conflicted about it because although I believe in removing “nofollow” on principle, as always the few rotten apples have ruined it for the rest of us.

Written January 22nd, 2008 by | 254 Comments | Filed under: Blog Tips, Blog Tips for Beginners, Design Tips, SEO Tips, Search Engine Tips , , , , ,

Thanks for Sharing     Share - enable java in your browser Share to Twitter            

Did you enjoy this article? Keep up to date with Blog Bloke Tips the moment it's published by email. Your Privacy is Guaranteed and will not be shared with anyone.

Keep it real with Blog Bloke Thanks for reading the original Blog Bloke. You can read more about me here. Contact me if you have any questions, tip requests or if you would like to be a guest blogger. Keep it real every day and subscribe to the newsfeed, share with friends or follow me.

    Subscribe to the Newsfeed     Share to Twitter     Share to Facebook     Share to Google Plus     Pin this     Share to LinkedIn

Got an opinion? Let's be real and start a conversation:

It's your turn to tell Blog Bloke what you think, ask a question or suggest another blog tip. Don't forget the comments policy and I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say.

254 Responses to “What is “NOFOLLOW” and Should Your Blog Get Rid of It?”

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1126 » Show All

  1. 1
    Kathy Says:

    Done! Thanks for the explanation and link to the plug-in. I’m a “Do Follower” now :)

  2. 2
    Blog Bloke Says:

    Check your email attachment Kathy. There’s a present there for you. :)

  3. 3
    Kathy Says:

    Thanks! You’re the gift that keeps on giving!

  4. 4
    Debbie Dolphin Says:

    < a rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.snob-snob.com” > is a Hilarious prank until the A-lister peeks at your source code and fuels the flame of another Blog Battle! :)

    Now for a serious question about the multitude of plugins: What happens if the code of any plugin causes your blog to behave strangely? Is there a simple diagnostic procedure to locate the plugin problem? Or do you have to deactivate all the plugins and lose every benefit of your plugins?

    In this post example, Nofollow to Dofollow seems to be a simple code exchange without needing one more plugin code to be concerned about. Unfortunately, the comment.php and single.php files do not contain the “external nofollow” code. Perhaps nofollow is a WordPress Black Hole that needs a plugin?

    Also, is WordPress Pings a problem ruining Pank Rank or is this some more Blogging Paranoia spreading like a virus over the net? (Ref Link: Wordpress Ping Warning )

    P.S. looks like your feeds are showing your newest post correctly… For a time, I thought you were competing in the race with Technorati to see who can create the most Black Holes in the digital universe!

  5. 5
    Blog Bloke Says:

    Just call me the drumming blog bunny.

  6. 6
    Blog Bloke Says:

    Hi Deb, all I can say is if they want a fight … bring it on! :)

    Rather than trying to hack Wordpress I recommend just installing the plugin which you can find here: http://www.semiologic.com/software/wp-fixes/dofollow/

    I did and notice no adverse affects.

    Regarding the pinging problem I’ve heard about this before and I will look into it.

    Glad to hear my feeds are working again. When I took the blog offline for a day, it took the feed two more days before it finally returned. The blog host company and Feedburner are still scratching their heads.

    Oh yeah, there are a few things you can do to diagnose plugin problems. First, make sure the plugin is designed to work with your version of Wordpress. If it is the right version, you can try deactivating it and then reactivating it again. If that doesn’t work, deactivate it then delete the plugin and re-install again. If that doesn’t work, try deactivating some of your other plugins to see if there is a conflict. That’s happened to me before. If it still doesn’t work try contacting the person who made your theme and ask them if there is a known conflict.

    The last resort would be to try and edit the plugin itself. I’ve already done this before with the “Top Commentators” plugin. I was having a problem with the links not showing up. So in my cPanel I went into the “File Manager” and clicked on the plugin PHP file that I wanted and chose “Code Editor”. I removed the formatting parts such as bullets and saved it. After that it worked. For some reason there was a formatting conflict with my theme.

    Alternatively, I also use code editing software like WeBuilder (which is amazing) to edit the PHP files. PHP files are easy to figure out and edit.

    If you want me to write a more detailed post on this let me know and I will put it in the calendar.

  7. 7
    Curtis Says:

    Will be installing this plugin this weekend. Thanks Bloke!

  8. 8
    Debbie Dolphin Says:

    Hi Bloke,

    @ Dofollow Plugin, thank you! After installing the plugin, the google nofollow evil empire has been defeated!

    @ Pinging Problems: if what they say is true than it seems strange that WordPress pings between publishing or changing a post.

    @ Diagnose Plugin problems: Plugins are great for adding WordPress features until you need to edit them and I have yet to determine where the Plugin plugins into the Theme in order to find the conflict between the them.

    Although Blog PHP programming may be beneficial to the performance of a Blog , total control over the code is a key advantage in web-site design. As a Web-site author, it is very easy to locate and change the code of my web pages as well as find any errors in the code I used to design the site. Whereas, finding errors in PHP files and Plugin PHP files is extremely difficult for me to locate.

    I understand the general flow of the PHP files but determining where the problem is, is the problem! Considering your options, the best solution seems to be to contact the Plugin author and hope he or she has the answer!

    @ Editing PHP files: I use Smultron (a iMac program) which is multi-functional text, HTML, PHP, etc. program.

    The PHP files seem easy for locating the line of code to modify. Understanding most of the PHP code itself looks like a steep learning curve!

    Your formatting conflict was similar to a WordPress theme problem I experienced when moving to WordPress. The Sidebar menu was placed after the posts in this theme. The demo of the Theme had a UL list in every post that apparently made the Sidebar position align correctly next to the posts. Needless to say, it took hours and days to find that bizarre code issue. To solve the problem, I used a empty UL list at the bottom of each post to keep the Sidebar in the right position!

    Due to this bizarre problem and my limited understanding of correct PHP code design, I scraped that first test theme for my current theme which has had no problems so far!

    @ writing a more detailed post: If you can cite a resource that reveals how and where Plugins plugin into the Theme so we can see the flow of the code than hopefully, that info will be helpful to check for conflicts when needed. I agree that the Theme PHP files are easy to edit and sometimes the PHP code is easy to figure out.

  9. 9
    Blog Bloke Says:

    Hi Debbie.

    I understand what you are saying and your frustration. Diagnosing a problem can be hit and miss or best guess. But if you take a logical approach to it you can improve your odds.

    I start with the easiest/most obvious fix and work my way down. If it works for others and not you then it has to be one of three things. Bad programming that’s causing a conflict:

    1. It could be a conflict with another plugin;
    2. A conflict with the theme/template;
    3. A conflict with your version of Wordpress

    If in the end a plugin is just not working for you then you need to make a decision if it is really all that important to you. Or alternatively, contact the plugin designer or consider looking for a similar plugin or trying another theme.

    I’m sure there’s no perfect solution out there. Software is designed by humans who are flawed by nature. It stands to reason so will their designs.

    Is it any wonder why Microsoft has so many versions, upgrades and fixes? They outsource their coding to the cheapest labour they can find. Crikey, they still haven’t got XP right and now we have Visa to contend with.


    Regarding plugin resources I would start at the source:


  10. 10
    Lee Says:

    I’ve been a DoFollow blog for a while now, thanks to the plug-in. But that brings up another question. Rather than using Akismet, I am using Defensio as my spam killing plug-in. Is one better than the other?

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1126 » Show All

Leave a Reply