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Googles interpretation of the nofollow-tag
Just got a surprising email
pmkpmk




msg:759630
 1:33 pm on May 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi,

during the first hype of the rel=nofollow tag, I emailed Google with a question. I sent this email on January 24.

I laid out the scenario, that I wanted to set links to my competitors on my own webpages, in order to convince my potential customers that my offerings are the best. However I do NOT want to give those competitors extra link-exposure in the eyes of a search engine. So I asked Google, if it would be OK to use the nofollow tag on these links.

From the very definition of the tag, my suggested use would NOT be ok, since it is only intended for pages where visitors can create unmoderated/uncontrolled links.

However, a Google engineer replied, that this would be a perfectly good use for the tag, because it provided useful information to my visitors while at the same time prevents pagerank being passed from my site to my competitions. It's against the TOS to quote from personal emails, but I assure you he used exactly this line of argument!

In my eyes, this is a wildcard to use the nofollow-tag for whatever purpose along the lines of link-quality you like.

 

Vadim




msg:759631
 12:11 am on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

Very interesting.
Thanks.

Vadim.

DaveAtIFG




msg:759632
 3:08 am on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

On the other hand, if you subscribe to the "build a natural looking site" camp, and "natural looking" means a site that doesn't look SEO'd, using the nofollow tag might "blow your cover." :)

pmkpmk




msg:759633
 7:02 am on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

Dave, there has been a thread on this a while back (and I think I saw you on it too). I guess apart from not using nofollow at all, the next best thing to natural is to use it a LITTLE BIT. If there is a mixture of nofollow and regular links on a page, then - so my assumption - the pattern which should (!) emerge is "Hey, they are using the tag with thought and care, so the links without the tag are much more worth than the ones with the tag".

DaveAtIFG




msg:759634
 7:35 am on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

Personally, I've had good results linking to what I thought were quality resources for my visitors and never gave "passing PR" a second thought. YMMV.

StuffOfInterest




msg:759635
 12:28 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm trying a test of "rel-nofollow" myself, but it hasn't been for long enough to see the final behavior. My site has a few hundred pages of real content (widget names and locations) and several thousand pages of reference information (where widgets could be and what wingdings are close to the widgets).

The spiders were having a problem with getting lost in the wingdings, so I added in "robots-noindex" meta tags for those pages. Unforunately, when a robot visits a widget page it doesn't know if the wingding pages being pointed to have content or not.

I've put in the "rel-nofollow" attribute on the links to wingding pages with no details to give the spiders a hint that they don't need to go down that path. If the spiders take the hint, I hope to see a decrease in the spiders getting lost in the weeds.

Until (or unless) Google decides to make another deep crawl attempt on my site I won't know what the results are. I'm sure some more tuning will be needed later, but we'll see what the results of this test are first.

Jack_Hughes




msg:759636
 4:06 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

I use the rel="nofollow" tag on my pages to stop googlebot visiting my online chat URLs. It is a real pain to have ghost chats caused by googlebot & others. Suffice it to say that it doesn't seem to take much notice. it still crawls the pages even with the rel="nofollow" on them.

the URLs in question are provided by a third party so we can't use robots.txt.

pmkpmk




msg:759637
 4:15 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ah, good idea! I have the same problem (I even started a thread on this a while ago).

You use LivePerson/HumanClick?

GoogleGuy




msg:759638
 6:50 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

pmkpmk, the best way to think of nofollow is "I don't want to (or can't) vouch for this link." That could be because it's a comment or referrer section, or it could just be that you don't want to endorse the page that you're linking to.

Nikke




msg:759639
 7:05 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

My most recent use of rel-nofollow is where I need to re-route an advetisor's link via a page where the visitor gets a tracking cookie.

link (nofollow) -> tracker page -> 302 -> advertiser site

That page will then 302 redirect the clicker to the advertiser's site, and since I don't want to hurt that site, we opted for using the nofollow link attribute.

Now, if our advertiser's site dissapear from SERPs and are replaced with the URl to our tracking domain, I will know for sure that Google still follows, indexes and passes PR even when rel-nofollow is used.

TravelMan




msg:759640
 7:47 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

>pmkpmk, the best way to think of nofollow is "I don't want to (or can't) vouch for this link." That could be because it's a comment or referrer section, or it could just be that you don't want to endorse the page that you're linking to.

Just to touch on this briefly. From a quality viewpoint, shouldnt this also be saying, "Googlebot, view this page with a critical eye, its unmoderated and contains unreviewed links to other sites of unknown quality, so might therefore not be the best of resources out there for this particular topic."

kaled




msg:759641
 9:39 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here's a thread I started ages ago on the potential for misuse of nofollow.
[webmasterworld.com...]

If Google are now saying OFFICIALLY that use of nofollow is ok on human-edited pages then I thinks it's relevant.

Kaled.

wanderingmind




msg:759642
 5:07 am on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Nofollow being such a big issue, as GoogleGuy clarifying some stuff, perhaps the mods can take this thread to the homepage?

I almost missed GoogleGuy's comment - after all the thread is only 2 pages yet, and stuff that gets him to respond usually runs to tens of pages right :-)

GoogleGuy




msg:759643
 5:47 am on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

From the very definition of the tag, my suggested use would NOT be ok, since it is only intended for pages where visitors can create unmoderated/uncontrolled links.

It's not intended solely for areas where content is generated automatically. It's useful anytime you don't want to or can't vouch for a link. That's not misuse of the attribute.

pmkpmk




msg:759644
 11:09 am on Jun 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

kaled:
If Google are now saying OFFICIALLY that use of nofollow is ok on human-edited pages then I thinks it's relevant.

That's exactly why I started this thread. What is written in Googles definition, and what I got confirmed by mail and now already TWICE here by GoogleGuy seem to me to be some completely different if not even contradictory statements.

GoogleGuy: is this just Googles point of view, or are the other engines who started the nofollow-effort along with Google happy with this definition as well?

kaled




msg:759645
 1:50 pm on Jun 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Presumably, Google are moving towards this so-called TRUST-RANK system and therefore are unconcerned about possible damage to the page-rank system.

I wonder how long it will be before TR is consigned to the dustbin. I haven't studied tha maths but, intuitively, it seems to me that it has potential to spawn corruption on a massive scale.

Kaled.

moftary




msg:759646
 6:38 pm on Jun 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is it possible to use the "nofollow" tag in such a way that it prevents googlebot from following the external links only?

SebastianX




msg:759647
 6:49 pm on Jun 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

<A HREF='URI' REL='NOFOLLOW'>externalSite</A>

dupac




msg:759648
 6:53 pm on Jun 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Can we use nofollow tag with affiliates links?
Wondering if I use nofollow with affiliates, then will cj or befree will count them or not.
Does any one has any idea on this?

moftary




msg:759649
 7:04 pm on Jun 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks sebastian:)

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