What You Need To Know About Rel Nofollow Links


What Is Nofollow - When and where should publishers use it?

What Is Rel Nofollow?

Adding the html attribute rel=”nofollow” to a link effectively stops a link becoming a vote for another page, as far as Google and some other search engines are concerned.. This means the link does not count as a vote or recommendation nor does it pass page rank nor does it pass topical relevance.

For instance, most blog comments, user generated or automated links on social media profiles, forums, sites like Squidoo, Youtube and the higher quality directories are nofollow links in 2013/14, because manipulative user generated links can reduce reputation or ‘linking equity’, and perhaps, the overall trust Google has in your site. I go into all that below.

Losing trust, as far as Google is concerned, is a very bad thing.

Using the html attribute on an external (outbound) link tells Google you don’t vouch for this other web page enough to help it’s search rankings. If you are worried about who you link to (typically called backlinks), and in some cases, you should be, using the attribute ‘insulates’ you against loss of reputation, if that other site is involving you in it’s link scheme.

Google Advice on Paid Links and ADVERTORIALS

Google  wants all non editorial links like PAID ADVERTISING LINKS, ADVERTORIALS, AFFILIATE LINKS and NATIVE ADVERTISING marked up with the attribute relnofollow, to separate these links from freely given, editorially approved backlinks – the type of links Google claim to reward, and discuss in this video from Google:

EXAMPLE NOFOLLOW LINK:

<a href="http://www.hobo-web.co.uk/" rel="nofollow">Hobo</a>

Definition

RelNoFollow is an elemental microformat, one of several microformat open standards. By adding rel="nofollow" to a hyperlink, a page indicates that the destination of that hyperlink should not be afforded any additional weight or ranking by user agents which perform link analysis upon web pages (e.g. search engines). Typical use cases include links created by 3rd party commenters on blogs, or links the author wishes to point to, but avoid endorsing.

Arguments

Like it or loathe it – the attribute is here to stay, and seo professionals are beginning to come round to the fact that paid links without the attribute can be VERY RISKY in 2013. Of course, with the attribute, paid links do not have anywhere near the same benefit when it comes to better search engine rankings for your own site.

There are a lot of people who argue about the attribute, when to use it, where to use it, if it can be used to sculpt link equity, how it affects Google PR and even exactly how Google sees a nofollowed link. There’s been observations and arguments ad nauseum that nofollow links pass PR and that you cannot sculpt page rank because you cannot see it, or that Google’s advice, like in most cases, is misleading or inaccurate. As usual, there’s valid arguments on both sides when it comes to Google.

I think nofollow is as Google says – effectively a non-link when it comes to ranking your site. In simple terms, you can think on links with rel=nofollow to not having any great weight towards your search rankings, and equally, to not put your website at risk (and that includes when dealing with a disavow file list and reconsideration request).

Relnofollow can be a ‘complicated’ construct, depending on who you are listening to.

User Generated Forum & Blog Comment Links 

If you have a commenting system (like Drupal, Joomla or WordPress) that allows for search engine friendly links (commonly called dofollow links) from your blog or site, you will probably, eventually be the target of lots of spam, be complicated in tiered link schemes and potentially fall foul of Google’s guidelines on using the attribute in certain situations.

“Nofollow” provides a way for webmasters to tell search engines “Don’t follow links on this page” or “Don’t follow this specific link.”

How does Google handle nofollowed links?

We are told Google ignores links with the attribute on them, which allows you to link to a site and not share your website reputation with the recipient of your link. On the whole – this seems to the case.

In general, we don’t follow them. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web. However, the target pages may still appear in our index if other sites link to them without using nofollow, or if the URLs are submitted to Google in a Sitemap. Also, it’s important to note that other search engines may handle nofollow in slightly different ways.

What are Google’s policies and some specific examples of nofollow usage?

Google presents us with some cases when to consider using the attribute on OUTBOUND links:

  • Untrusted content: If you can’t or don’t want to vouch for the content of pages you link to from your site — for example, untrusted user comments or guestbook entries — you should nofollow those links. This can discourage spammers from targeting your site, and will help keep your site from inadvertently passing PageRank to bad neighborhoods on the web. In particular, comment spammers may decide not to target a specific content management system or blog service if they can see that untrusted links in that service are nofollowed. If you want to recognize and reward trustworthy contributors, you could decide to automatically or manually remove the nofollow attribute on links posted by members or users who have consistently made high-quality contributions over time.
  • Paid links: A site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to it. In order to prevent paid links from influencing search results and negatively impacting users, we urge webmasters use nofollow on such links. Search engine guidelines require machine-readable disclosure of paid links in the same way that consumers online and offline appreciate disclosure of paid relationships (for example, a full-page newspaper ad may be headed by the word “Advertisement”).

Google is serious about this stuff. If you let your website become a free for all links farm – a link scheme –  Google will not trust the links from your website (at least). You need to decide if you care about such things, but as I said at the outset of this article, TRUST is very important if thinking about SEO.

Should I use the attribute on internal links?

Google eventually offered seo advice concerning internal Pagerank sculpting with relnofollow:

I long considered Google Pagerank, and the, some great, PageRank Sculpting discussions around the net, to be akin to an idea of wealth and cashflow – i.e. should you save what little money you have, cut out the unnecessary expenditure and spread it about to make ends meet, or do you go out and get yourself a better job with more cash? – DaveN touched on the subject of scultping with Matt Cutts recently and Matt offered up a better and clearer analogy.

Nofollowing your internals can affect your ranking in Google, but it’s a 2nd order effect. My analogy is: suppose you’ve got$100. Would you rather work on getting $300, or would you spend your time planning how to spend your $100 more wisely. Spending the $100 more wisely is a matter of good site architecture (and nofollowing/sculpting PageRank if you want). But most people would benefit more from looking at how to get to the $300 level.

Questions arise if you start thinking about it too much:

  1. Should you nofollow unimportant internal pages or nofollow external links in an effort to consolidate the Pagerank you have already accrued?
  2. Or should you spend your time getting other quality links pointing to your site to increase the PR you have to start off with (how you get Pagerank).

The long term best impact strategy here is simply to earn more Pagerank, or you’ll find it a slow rise above the core issues of your current predicament, whatever that may be, and I think the same can be said of the question of maximising page strength by PR sculpting.

In truth you need to do both, maximise what page strength you have by whatever method you use to manipulate PR and on-site relevance, and linkbuild to add conviction to your attempt at making a particular page relevant and give it a shot at those first page rankings. As far as Pagerank goes, this practice is pretty much pointless.

You can certainly control PR on a granular level (page by page in this case) – that is, which page gets available real  Google PR. It’s easy to follow, that some seo professionals think, if that’s the case, you can sculpt Pagerank, and channel page rank to important pages in a site.

For instance – adding the attribute to your contact page, or disclaimer, or privacy policy.

Should I use rel=”nofollow” on internal links to a login page?

Paraphrasing Google:

  1. Yes, it’s ok to do this
  2. Yes, it can have a ‘second order effect’ (cryptic as usual)

Clarification From Matt Cutts in 2009

Google’s Matt Cutts attempted to clarify PR Sculpting using Nofollow after the hullabaloo surrounding his comments at a SEO conference.

I’d long fell out of love with PR sculpting internal pages using the attribute as the results were not worth it for me on the sites I worked on (some are quite large) –  a few years back I posted this about PR sculpting:

I’ve been playing about with rel=’nofollow’ on this site for 4 months, and in all honesty, in future, I won’t be relying on nofollow to sculpt unimportant pages out of any possible link graph, just optimising those pages better, or leaving them out altogether, like I used to do in 1999. It can be a useful tool in a site redevelopment, but from here on in, I’ll be keeping nofollow for bad neighbourhoods and, pending further testing, on top level blog pages..

In June 2008 I also posted this about Nofollow and PR Sculpting:

I tested it, and as far as I am concerned, on a 300 page site at least, any visible benefit is microscopic.

In my limited tests ( I wasn’t using black hat or brute force methods) Matt Cutts was telling the truth – it’s very much a second order effect, if not less.

Sometimes I wonder if people even ever needed to hear about Google PR nevermind the “science” of PR sculpting in the first place.

Anybody who reads this blog knows I test things for myself because frankly I’m just like everybody else – I don’t know the lot, nobody does, but if you’re relying on here-say and other people’s unpublished experiments without testing yourself, you’re always going to be in the dark.

In theory PR sculpting sounds cool, in practice, it is very disappointing. Some people think it works, and perhaps on their sites it might – who knows. I remember one SEO saying at the turn of a year it worked and showing the benefits of it in terms of Google traffic. I checked my sites over the same time and recognised a slight increase in Google traffic over the same period – without any sculpting. But you never know, do you?

What do you think?

Hard Core SEO go here

Page Rank Sculpting Discussions Around The Net

Joost de Valk has a terrific article on PR Sculpting, as does Dan Thies on using links with the attribute to sculpt pagerank, and the Mad Hat pitches in on the FUD of Nofollow being a red-flag if you’re trying to maximise the visibility of page in Google. Michael Martinez has an interesting take too.

I’ve used the attribute on internal links to sculpt and concentrate internal PR and from what I’ve seen the results *might* be promising, though very minimal, and not a long term substitute for an intelligent site architecture to begin with and certainly no seo magic bullet, although you have to be careful.

I should point out I never use rel=”nofollow” to prevent the indexing of a page – merely to control which pages any particular page shares it’s link equity with, if you are Googlebot anyway.

It *appears* that the first link you nofollow on a page *might* also nofollow any other link to the same url on that page, although nofollowing the home page link high up in code (when you have another link to the home lower on the page) seems to be treated differently by Google, Yahoo and MSN. I wonder if a ‘Contact’ page is too?

Do Not Rel Nofollow EVERY Outbound Link On Your Site

How does Google treat sites where all external links are no-follow? Matt Cutts posted this video:

And he’s right. One of my clients was linking out to real and trusted sites from pages on his site and added rel=nofollow to the links because he thought this was helping his site. This is unnecessary.

There’s no reason to put the attribute on editorially approved links.

in my experience, if you write a blog post and use the attribute on all links on your blog for no other reason that to conserve Pagerank, or even think linking out to irrelevant sites will hurt your site, you’re misinformed at best.

Google doesn’t penalise you for linking to irrelevant sites if both pages in question are relevant to each other.

Use nofollow only if you don’t want to vouch for the page you’re linking to, for fear of losing reputation. I often surmise Google might be taking in the quality or accuracy of your outbound links in some minor way to measure the strength of your trust, so don’t miss out because you are effectively not linking to anybody.

Also consider, the link you make might be the link that helps another REAL site get traffic from Google and satisfy Google’s users – that’s not a bad thing for anybody.

I have little reason for the attribute these days outside of user generated comments and affiliate links. I don’t use it to sculpt pagerank, and I don’t use it in any arena where editorial moderation is in play.

I only use it for sites that don’t deserve the link to be search engine friendly and in 99% of the cases if I don’t have any reason to trust a site, I won’t make the link a link at all.

Pet hate – web sites where every outbound link is nofollowed.

Can Nofollow Links Pointing TO My site Hurt MY SITE?

Should I add rel=”nofollow” to links that are included with my widget?

Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I edit this post every year or so with the latest information….

NOTE – You do not need to employ the attribute to mark all links on a page as ‘untrusted’. You can also use robots meta tags or X-Robots-Tag HTTP header to control how Google treats ALL the links on a page. You can still block actual pages using robotstxt (or xrobots or meta tags) or block outbound links via redirect scripts if you are worried about losing trust and reputation in Google.

If you have paid links on your site – I’d be careful in 2014.

More Reading – Search Engine Land.



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55 Responses

  1. Jaan Kanellis says:

    Nice round-up. A good example of nofollow use could be adding the attribute to all those social network buttons on your blog, but no one has really any proof that is makes a big difference in doing this. Their in lies the whole perplexity of nofollow.

  2. Shaun says:

    Thanks for the comment, Jaan. It’s a terrifically confusing subject, virtually impossible to test with any accuracy in the real world, and it’s obvious to me benefits are minimal at best, and probably better addressed through an intelligent structure to begin with.

  3. Jaan Kanellis says:

    “probably better addressed through an intelligent structure to begin with.” EXACTLY. You know we (well some of us, not me) SEO’s are easily swayed by new concepts in SEO. We want to be the first to use them and show that they work. Especially if the concept is “somewhat” touted by Google (Matt Cutt’s) themselves. In reality testing really is the only thing that can show real results in SEO and in this case this concept or technique is impossible to test its effectiveness.

  4. Shaun says:

    True. I liked the idea of nofollow, but it just doesn’t quite all ‘fit’, as far as I can see. I don’t think we’re being spoon fed all the info we need to know to take advantage of it’s benefits. I see pages nofollowed still apparently in the link graph, still ranking no1 for (albeit uncompetitive) terms, 4 months after I applied rel=”nofollow”. I’ve decided I want every page on my site to rank for something, long tail or not. That will include my contact page. If I don’t need a page enough to nofollow it, I’m now questioning myself as whether or not there’s an argument for just leaving it out all together.

  5. Jaan Kanellis says:

    “I see pages nofollowed still apparently in the link graph, still ranking no1 for (albeit uncompetitive) terms, 4 months after I applied rel=”nofollow”.” That is because just nofollowing a link to a page in your website won’t stop it from getting indexed and ranked. I don’t think Google ever said that would happen. The reason for this is simple, other links without nofollow could be pointing to the page and other links in the past could have pointed to the page.

  6. Shaun says:

    I am aware of this, but through linking, I’ve purposely aimed to “nofollow-orphan” pages to see if they ranked, based on some others’ analysis and my own, and they still do, if they were indexed before you applied nofollow. I always thought orphan pages was a surefire way to tank in Google, but it doesn’t appear to be in this instance.

  7. Johan Karlsson says:

    Hi, When i build a new niche page i usuaully nofollow the “contact us” and “terms” pages directly from start. What im now starting to wonder is if thats a good ideas? I have heard Google will check if you have those pages if its a small page and if you dont you might get lower ratings. If i have nofolloed them.. does it count as i dont have them maybe? Thanks for a great article. BR, Johan

  8. Shaun says:

    I’m thinking of perhaps optimising my contact page, and perhaps having terms etc only accessible from the contacts page. :)

  9. Dan Thies says:

    Jaan, One of the points of nofollow is that it removes a lot of SEO constraints from the design of your user navigation. This means that you can do SEO with less impact on usability. The argument that you can’t directly test the impact could be applied to almost anything we do in SEO. There are *always* hidden factors that can’t be measured.

  10. Shaun says:

    “One of the points of nofollow is that it removes a lot of SEO constraints from the design of your user navigation. This means that you can do SEO with less impact on usability.” Thanks for the comment Dan. This is what I liked about nofollow in the beginning, and why I think it can be useful when restructuring an existing site. If I’m building a site from the ground up, I’ll be doing it without nofollow, and eventually always attempt to phase it out over time in redesigns.

  11. Jaan Kanellis says:

    “The argument that you can’t directly test the impact could be applied to almost anything we do in SEO. ” Not really. I see results from SEO changes I do all of the time. Better titles, better content, better internal navigation, better syndication of content which lead to links to my website, etc. I used nofollow in a few test situations and I didnt see much improvements at all. Doing the above changes did. Either way we are beating a dead horse here, we know how both of us feel about it.

  12. Dan Thies says:

    How do you know that the title changes didn’t impact user behavior that’s being measured in some way? Having seen sites go from a few hundred to a couple thousand pages indexed within a few weeks of a nofollow restructure, and never seeing it go the other way, I believe that it’s working. But I can’t prove it – we can’t prove anything. And all these people claiming big traffic gains make it hard to discuss, because that’s a huge stretch absent any analysis of the cause. But yeah, the horse is dead.

  13. Andy Beard says:

    I recognise that title Mickey Mouse or one of his followers hit me a couple of days ago again, but to a different site. The strange thing was the comment actually used his first name, and a gmail address along the lines of firstname.surfboarding@gmail.com Who knows, maybe it was even a genuine comment, but I need to drop the email address an email to be sure.

  14. Shaun says:

    Re: I recognise that title – yeah, thought I’d join in on the sidelines as a bit of an experiment. :) I see Dave’s got a Shpinn in and see where you’re syndicating your content to, so it’s actually a useful face off to watch and watch what’s happening regarding ranking for the post title. Both of your sites have the quality links and link weight to out rank this site by some way, but still useful to see how I get on not pushing the post in any way off-site, if you get what I mean.

  15. Shaun says:

    PS Regarding Micky Mouse, yeah it’s becoming a joke.

  16. Andy Beard says:

    I do have it being fed to Gooruze, but that is like Technorati in many ways, hard to quantify the juice, plus Dave got a link there anyway as I linked to him at the top of my post. Lisa, Josh, and now you have linked to both of us I think Andrew just linked to me Everyone who linked to me gets a link back, as long as they ping, unless they make the mistake of using plugins such as smart update pinger which often get post updates wrong and don’t re-ping. For some reason my Gooruze profile doesn’t show any juice in the toolbar, which is odd compared to other profiles. I have linked to it in the past. Maybe they have been found to be buying or selling links. My army of splogs for some reason didn’t pick it up, they need more training. I wonder if WPN will pick it up, and use the same title just for fun.

  17. Shaun says:

    I’m watching it all very closely…. :)

  18. Evil Linkbaiter says:

    I’m always suspicious of things that sound like “movements” in the online marketing world. The dofollow movement, the nofollow movement, what a load of utter tosh. People have to make their own decisions, if you moderate with the carefulness of a surgeon on roller skates whilst performing a vasectomy for Mike Tyson then yeah, go the dofollow route But, if you simply haven’t got time to monitor, protect your ass. Most of us make our money online, it’s our way of earning a crust. We have to protect ourselves from comments linking to bigtitsplaypokerinbathofvi4gr4.com Like I say, if you closely monitor comments, you should be fine. And I am sure no one would ever think to redirect those links from letallloveeachotherandbehappy.com to bigtitsplaypokerinbathofvi4gr4.com

  19. Shaun says:

    @ Evil Linkbaiter Lyndon, How very dare you! :)

  20. DaveN says:

    should I change the title of my blog Post just for a laugh ;) DaveN

  21. Shaun says:

    Might as well, you’re goin’ down (in US Google anyways) :) It’s an interesting combo face off to watch for a bit of fun…. comment dofollow, linky love & nofollow showdown. I was hoping to take you on doing nothing but on-page but some PR9 Uni in the US went and linked to me – sods law – couldn’t buy that kind of link ha ha.

  22. DaveN says:

    co.uk domain on a US ip… it has alwsys cause me issues .. lol

  23. Shaun says:

    We just moved the Hobo site to a UK IP, up until last month we were in Australia. Not seen any difference, probably because we already have a lot of links from UK based sites and domains.

  24. DaveN says:

    I think the tld pulls most weight but, if you have .com 301 into your co.uk things get funky daven

  25. Shaun says:

    Hmmm…. interesting. I was about to 301 the .com back to this domain. Can you expand what you mean by ‘Funky”?

  26. DaveN says:

    lol ,, sometimes I rank in the co.uk and not the com, sometimes I rank in the com and not the co.uk, and some times I rank equally in both. but never the same pattern, just funky DaveN

  27. William - Guava says:

    I’m personally quite fond of the nofollow tag for blog comments, however I would only put it on over time that way you get them sucked into commenting on your blog and they just can’t stick away once you add nofollow *insert evil demon face here*

  28. Jason says:

    I follow, but I moderate. I guess if moderating becomes a daunting task I’ll go to no follow.

  29. Shaun says:

    Thanks Dave – Nofollowing external links to other websites? I don’t believe Google counts these as links and transfers no link power whatsoever. Google says that’s the way it is while many conspiracy theories persist I see it that way. For me, I use the Linky Love Plugin so I control who gets a search engine friendly link and who does not. In short, you need to hang about in the blog for a number of sensible comments and the link you get is followed by all search engines. I like it that way, and I heavily moderate everything. Intelligent contribution for a link. Most blogs however have comments nofollowed, so spammers cannot get links from real blogs. This isn’t in the spirit of blogging for me although there is a risk if you link out, I’d say extensively, to a bad neighbourhood, Google might penalise you.

  30. James Harrison says:

    So, basically sculpting is for PR. Doesn’t seem to make much of a difference in ranking…yeah? After reading all those links in your other internal link scupting post, I decided to take one of my 10 page sites and start it from scratch. Well, I made every link on the site nofollow. I plan to work backwards by taking away the nofollow one link at a time using this pr tool. http://www.search-this.com/pagerank-decoder/ Any experience with this tool? I heard it wasn’t accurate but gives a good idea. Any other way you suggest figuring out the best sculpture? I read that you like to avoid math. I wonder how you determine the ‘perfect architecture’ then. Bet its all based on experimenting, huh!?

  31. Shaun says:

    Thanks for the comment James. Yes, from my tests, PR Scultping using nofollow is very much a ‘second order effect’ and one I really wouldn’t bother with (using internally I mean and a site with a few hundred pages and lots of IBLs). From what I see, Page Rank gets you into the main results pages, especially internal pages. It may kick in when all else is equal – and it never is. Beyond that, I cant determine what else it is useful for. Sure, you need to get page ran to internal pages, but really, you should be doing this via an intelligent usable architecture and siloing of content. I carried out a very simple test to see if I could determine the real page rank of my site internal pages recently. I might have an interesting result to publish shortly, but it’s such a noisey fluctuating signal, and I could be chasing flat earth theory here. The pages on your site with the most page rank are your home page, the pages you link to from it, pages linked to from a sitewide navigation and the pages you link often too – of course, internal pages gain page rank when other sites link to them too. You don’t need maths to work this out (thank f*k!). The only tool I used to determine my real page rank was Google. Wonder if I should share? Thanks again for the comment :)

  32. Lorne Fade says:

    I think if you allow for a little link juice in one way, you will get it returned in another, call it Google Karma if you will.

  33. Andy Williams says:

    I have to agree, I think this is all a load of noise about nothing. According to Matt Cutts, this was all put into place a year ago, no one noticed so it couldn’t have had much of an effect could it. So to start panicing and reacting to it now would be a waste of time. If nothing happened to your rankings, be it good or bad, a year ago, then it’s no big deal is it.

  34. Brian says:

    I completely agree with you as well. Of course I’ve been following along with a lot of what you’ve talked about on this blog for the past couple months or so as you’ve helped me out a bit with the startup of my new site. I haven’t used the nofollow tag for any pages on my site just used simple structural (navigation) linking techniques between pages of my blog and I’ve seen traffic increase every week since inception – six weeks in a row. I don’t think it’s worth spending the time and energy on this when you can spend the same time working on the content and navigation of the site and realize even more benefit. To paraphrase, I think you said on one other page of your site (forgive me if I’m thinking of someone else) that would you rather work on squeezing a few more visitors out of Google by working your butt off on sculpting or simply leverage more traffic from Google by working on content creating better content. I’d take the second.

  35. Andy Beard says:

    I have switched to Disqus for a while to encourage others to do so, because it will provide some limited additional links back, and is something anyone can do. At a later date I have some better solutions that will actually boost search still giving link love. Nofollow those dupes is going to get a revamp.

  36. Shaun Anderson says:

    Howdy Andy I had spotted your article and gave it a quick scan. It’s on my list later when I get a minute to read everybody’s responses. I doubt I’ll be switching to anything for now I’m happy with Linky Love. Good to see you blogging again :)

  37. Heidi Cool says:

    I think it’s very helpful that Matt Cutts continues to educate us on the various nuances of Google, it helps us put everything into perspective. And I agree that many people are overthinking things like PR sculpting and even page rank itself (i.e. they’re not putting these into proper perspective.) Brian is right, the key is content. Everything we do for onsite SEO should make our wonderful content more findable but we really need to focus our SEO efforts on the tactics that will make the most impact. A page rank of 10 isn’t our goal, neither is the #1 spot on the seach results page for term X. Our real goals are to sell more widgets, build our brand, increase blog subscribers or whatever we define for our given site. Our strategy to achieve such goals is to increase traffic from visitors in our target audience. SEO is one of many marketing tactics we can use to do this. In the end the boss won’t give you a raise (or shouldn’t) for increasing PR from 3 to 6, but he should if you increase sales by 50%–no matter what the PR may be. It’s important to structure our code correctly and use the right keywords, but sculpting page rank seems to go beyond what is practical and efficient. I’d much rather spend my time on things that give visitors a reason to visit or link to my site. If we focus on readers instead of robots the rest will follow.

  38. Dave Ash says:

    I agree with what you say here Sean: “Sometimes I wonder if people even ever needed to hear about Google PR nevermind the science of PR sculpting in the first place.” Far too many people place some sort of massive SEO emphasis on the green PR indicator in their toolbar, even though when you go to find out more you only ever read that it’s not a useful indication of anything and should never be relied upon, even Matt Cutts says that that article when he says: “I’ll do the rest of my blog post in the framework of “classic PageRank” but bear in mind that it’s not a perfect analogy.” Yet people still obsess about it, even if by Google’s own admission it’s not accurate.

  39. Andy Beard says:

    Dig around Disqus a little, think of it as lots of comment blogs on subdomains. It gets more interesting if they can be encouraged to SEO a little.

  40. Shaun Anderson says:

    I might actually thow it up on my personal blog for a Spin :)

  41. Jeet says:

    Well, most problematic outcome of this change is PR points leaking even for nofollow links. That means any popular/authority blog that mentions your site may not be passing a lot of link juice because it has 100s of comments (even if they are nofollow). I will continue to nofollow my login pages etc. ;-)

  42. Richard says:

    Should link builders pursue nofollow links? do the nofollowed links needto have contextual relevance to your URL with measurable marketing value.?

  43. Shaun Anderson says:

    Richard. No. No. Marketing value? That depends on the site. For me, it’s all about PEOPLE. Real people.

  44. Shaun Anderson says:

    Thanks to everybody who’s taken the time to comment on ths post – I appreciate it :)

  45. small ant says:

    I think this nofollow tools for PR sculpturing was stupid idea from the beginning.

  46. Nathan says:

    Playing with internal no follow links to sculpt PR just seems like too much of a hassle. Arrn’t the new search engines like bing going to have “better” SERPs to get you to the good content rather than just what some webmaster wants you to see?

  47. mike says:

    Just had to look up what an ‘amadan’ was. Never heard of it before. With wordpress.com doping redirects on all links if you dont pay them $30 I fear that blog spam on wordpress.org installations will increase. On the one website I run with full do follow – though all comments are moderated, the site gets battered daily with about 300 spam comments. Nofollows not great but it has its place, overusing it seems an excessive waste of time.

  48. Shaun Anderson (Hobo says:

    Thanks for the comment Mike :) My advice for nofollowing (or rather following) blog comments is of course aimed at those with smaller blogs, or one blog, or if you have the time to moderate :)

  49. Shaun Anderson (Hobo says:

    Amadan = Scottish for fool or idiot :)

  50. malcolm coles says:

    On the benefits of linking out, Matt Cutts said in his don’t bother pagerank scuplting post that: “I didn’t say that linking to high-quality sites helped your PageRank, but rather other parts of our system would encourage/reward those links.” So yes, I think you’re right that “Google might be taking in the quality or accuracy of your outbound links”.

  51. Alok says:

    Thanks for this simple yet another good SEO tip. I think now I can stop reading other blogs for a while and go through all the previous posts. I wonder how many such good tips I have been missing for a while.

  52. Dave Ashworth says:

    I have read elsewhere (don’t recall where) that if you link out to other relevant sites within your niche then the search engines can see the online community in which your site operates – which is obviously beneficial when returning relevant search results. I’m all for the following of any links that are not spam – there are too many people out there who have become obsessed** with PR and linking and are far too precious with the green bar and what they think it means to their site – hopefully with gradual phase out of the PR indicator and some proof that following your outbound links will help your site, this will change. ** I admit I once went overboard on nofollowing internal links to try and sculpt pagerank, a matter of days before Matt Cutts video came out, gutted.

  53. Dealspwn says:

    I also had to look up amadam, and I’m Irish! Thanks for the tips. I try to follow the same linking strategy – always follow, except when linking out to a possibly dodgy site.



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