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.