What I know About Nofollow Tag – Shared Here

The nofollow tag is a consensual way (approved upon by major search engines and blog software developers) of embedding links or letting others post links on your website, often within blog comments, without you taking editorial responsibility for the landing page quality of the link.

Some misunderstand nofollow tag by believing that if, say Google bot, encounters one, it doesn’t follow the link to see where it’s pointing to. Others see in nofollow tagged links the way escape loosing PageRank.

Unfortunately for those guys, Google Changed How It Handles Nofollow, and apparently decided to let some link juice bypass the censorship.

This is inaccurate, because the search engine will follow the link but will not assign it with any authority or PageRank from your website, due to your attitude towards it – “I’m not recommending it” – manifested with the nofollow tag.

Here’s how a nofollow tag appears:

<a href=”http://www.targetdomain.com” rel=”nofollow”>anchor text</a>

When and how to use the nofollow tag

If you’re practicing SEO on a thin affiliate website, limit the use of nofollow tags in content pages only. Trying to sculpt PageRank by diverting it to monetization parts of your site basically lets search engineers know your exclusive “make money online” intentions and this will get you penalized.

For legitimate, solid business websites that offer search engines with unique content is OK to use the tag more freely.

Focus on letting the link juice/authority flow solely between important pages of your site. From an SEO perspective, pages like about us, terms of services, don’t bring you any benefit.

Using nofollow tag on links to pages that don’t need to rank prevents the link juice passed between important pages from being diluted.

A more advantaged technique of using nofollow tag is to embed it on links that point to category pages. Doing this will:

1) prevent PageRank from being distributed upwards through the site and

2) narrow its focus towards pages that convert.

As with all smart methods,

there’s also a sneaky side of using the rel=”nofollow” – in reciprocal linking.

Basically if you nofollow tag a linking partner you’re left with a one way link that is more valuable for SEO. I don’t recommend the practice because can become detrimental for your brand, once exposed.

The other reason why I’m not practicing it has to do purely with SEO. A site with loads of unverified links doesn’t give search engines sufficient motives to rate it as a trusted resource for the web. This isn’t necessarily the case with article directories where some of the most reputable ones use the no follow attribute. Don’t filter them out of your article submission software checklist – a little diversity in your linking pattern doesn’t hurt.

Third, there seems to be some little-discussed SEO benefits that come with freely linking out. See this blog post on SEOmoz on why is beneficial to link out to other sites without nofollow tag.

If you are currently sell ads on your blog or static website make sure you have them nofollowed or if the client demands a dofollow link, integrate them within the page’s context because Google doesn’t like seeing followed ads.

Not the Google bot is the inquirer here but the search engineer, so take care your sold ads are well disguised within the topic. Keep it in mind for when you buy adds, also!

Of course there’s a more simple way of channeling PageRank to pages that are the big earners for your business and that is by systematically building links in these directions, and at the same time “neglecting” parts of your website that are less important or don’t convert as well.

This is perfectly doable and gives real ranking results but I suggest taking advantage of the nofollow tag concept in optimizing your site.

What’s you opinion on nofollowing links leaving your site? Do you approve them or rather find them kind of selfish?

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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Sire Says:

    Seems silly providing a link to a website that you wouldn’t recommend. If I don’t like a site enough to link to it I don’t link to it. I’ve always wondered about the way google thinks.

  2. Gareth Adams Says:

    I agree with Sire, I can understand the uses of the nofollow attribute, and many use it to protect, and of course spam commenting, but as you say, if you don’t like the site, don’t allow links!

    I also think that with the dofollow and nofollow that many people don’t bother following if they have a blog for that reason, I know myself when I started I refused to comment on blogs even if I had an oppinion becasue they were nofollow (I have since grown up a little) and realise that it really makes no difference to me what Google thinks, you can do just as well writing quality content for your site, and posting decent comments on others, if you fail to make search engines, you will still drive traffic to your site from your links. So really in my opinion it’s all good!

    When I do links I simply go to article directories, I find these the best choice really. I found this site while looking for some ways to speed up articles, and it’s true that you are limited only by the amount of articles you submit and the work you put in. Although this may or may not boost your PR instantly it does encourage you to find new angles to promote, and to write more fresh content, this then (we hope) gets distributed around on other sites, and you grown and grown.

  3. Cristian Says:

    TheTyne thing with commenting to drive traffic isn’t as efficient as in the past years. I mean, let’ s be honest – we don’t read all the comments of a post, all the more so if there are dozens of them. Many. Are just endulging themselves in obtaining a link from a decent comment (often) with nothing new to say.

    As far as google’s attitude towards nofollow links, I’m not 100% that they pay attention to webmaster’s intentions-especially now that the main reason behind implementing the nofollow atribute, namely discouraging spam, didn’t serve this purposes as expected. And since yahoo and msn discard this atribute, why shouldn’t GOogle have the same policy – even discretionary and elusively.

    Hope this thoughts make sense because I’m typing from my iPhone and the screen is kind of narrow :)

    Thanks for the comments and rest assured that my PR is passed on your websites :)


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