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nofollow penalties?

 1:02 pm on Oct 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

Does anybody know if adding rel="nofollow" to all external links in your website can actually be harmful?

I mean if it stops PR-drain then it makes sense to have it on all external links and minimise how much PR you give away.

I wonder though whether the boys at the big G would see this as something contrived and incur a penalty?

Any thought?



 10:22 pm on Oct 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

The rel="nofollow"-tag is the biggest Bull*hit i ever saw in the history of search engines, especially Google. If you link to a site, say: YEAH - this is a link to a site, i recommend. Otherwise dont make a link.


 10:51 pm on Oct 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you 'nofollow' all your links, then you will have zero chance of ever achieving any kind of authority status, and probably will damage your ranking, though I've no idea how much or in what way.

Using any tag incorrectly is rarely a good idea; safer not to use it at all than ignore the detailed advice Google provides.

Google has always accepted the point of the web - which is linking - and I'd be severely shocked to find a site with no links doing as well as a site with some.

But no - I have zero evidence and could be quite wrong :)


 10:57 pm on Oct 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

What if a page have about 30 outgoing links with rel="nofollow" and about 10 outgoing links without. Can that do any dammage?

Sweet Cognac

 11:26 pm on Oct 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

In my opinion, adding rel="nofollow" makes it a dead link, and google doesn't like dead links. In fact, it seems the bot stops spidering as soon as it hits a dead link.

I tried it on a couple sites, and the sites dropped rank, then took them off and they came back again.


 11:59 pm on Oct 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

The reason I've used rel="nofollow" in first place is because some of these links my website points at haven't got an direct relation for my website's theme.

I have been told that the websites your outgoing links point at should be within your own site's theme because Google will look upon at whom your links are pointing at when it try to figure out your website.


 12:16 am on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

If they are links that you are happy with, they're fine.

If they are not relevant and / or you do not recommend them, you need to ask yourself - for each link - do I need it?

And if they are not relevant and / or you do not recommend them, the answer should be 'no'.

More websites suffer from linking problems than any other single issue - if all the forums mean anything :) - and I reckon 90% plus of those problems are self inflicted (often due to bad advice or misunderstandings, but still "avoidable problems").

There is very little 'hard evidence', so far, on 'nofollow' problems, but two things are clear:

1. Google's advice on linking is detailed and unambiguous.
2. Google's advice on 'nofollow' is detailed and unambiguous.
3. Google does READ nofollow links, so knows what's occurring.

So, if you choose not to take their advice, and knowing that Google is the the most powerful Search Engine in the World, you need to ask yourself one question - "Do You Feel Lucky?" ;)


 1:39 am on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've been wondering this myself. I have a blog style site that mostly consists of a link or two each day to stuff that fellow hobbyists would find interesting ... sites, resources, news stories, etc.

I read in a thread here some time ago that having too many links out damages your rankings, so I set the blogging software to add nofollow to all of the outgoing links.

Now, from what I'm reading, it seems people would advise that's the wrong thing to do.

All of the links there are stuff I think my readers might like, so that criteria is met.

Given that, should I turn off the automatic no follow tag?


 10:02 am on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

The nofollow attribute has one purpose:

Official Google Blog: Preventing comment spam [googleblog.blogspot.com]


 11:32 am on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

You are right and you are not right.

The primary purpose of 'nofollow' is preventing comment spam, but that is not the only purpose.

Comment spam is defined (broadly), as links placed on your site by others; content over which you do not have total control - these are links that you do not recommend.

So, for a blog, you really should use no follow for all comments other than your own, as should the open areas of forums and guestbooks.

On your own sites, where you should have have total control, you mostly do not need 'nofollow', because if you do not recommend the link, you can remove the link.


 11:38 am on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Outward links with keywords in them are considered helpful to SERPS. It is likely that links that include "nofollow" are ignored for this purpose.

Therefore, whilst "nofollow" might help PR, it is likely that misuse could harm SERPS.



 1:07 pm on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have been using rel"nofollow" for about 6 months now. All new links I add are in this format and I haven't noticed any change either way in ranking so far. If I tank at some point I'll let you all know :)


 3:15 pm on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts recently sugested a different use for the rel="nofollow" attribute:

"Google does consider it a violation of our quality guidelines to sell links that affect search engines. If someone wanted to sell links purely for visitors, there are a myriad number of ways to do it that don't affect search engines. You could have paid links do an internal redirect, and then block that redirecting page in robots.txt. You could add the rel="nofollow" attribute to a link, which tells search engines that you can't or don't want to vouch for the destination of a link."

Makes me wonder how Google knows if I have sold a link or merely like the destination page, though.


 3:36 pm on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't think there is any problem with using nofollow on selected links. I use it on my affiliate links. I link out liberally to all books related to each article and they don't need more ranking votes.

But I link out liberally to webpages related to my articles as well and I don't use nofollow there.

I did this a few months ago and don't see any changes in the ranking of my pages.

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