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Who is going to use the no follow in paid links? - part 2
willybfriendly




msg:3316428
 3:04 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >

>>>- The "nofollow" attribute was created to prevent "linkspam" in blogs, Wikis, forums, and other anyone-can-post venues. Matt Cutts has suggested that it might also be useful as a way to handle paid links that exist to drive traffic and not to manipulate PageRank. (He and his coleagues have suggested other methods as well; take your pick.)<<<

If we acdept this statement, the we must conclude that no follow was not intended to deal with people choosing to monetize their websites.

Google has a problem with their algo. It is in large part due to their dominance as a search engine. They can solve their own problem without infringinn on the right of others to make money.

I will grant that it is an intersting approach to get site owners snitching each other off when it is Google's problem. We have no obligation to assist Google in their search to maintain dominance, especially if it infringes on our ability to monetize our sites.

If Google can sell adspace, then I can damn well sell ad space. Further, I can do so according to my own policies and guidelines, not those imposed by Google.

And, if Google attempts to control my internal policies and guidelines by using their market dominance to impose what are ultimately fianancial penalties against me, well then I guess we need to start discussing unfair trade practices.

WBF

[edited by: tedster at 5:50 pm (utc) on April 20, 2007]

 

rekitty




msg:3318606
 4:29 am on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Marcia, seeking "seed data" for new their new algorithms would be an essential step for Google. Matt doing so by asking webmasters to tattle on each other was clearly unnecessary as there are numerous marketplaces that publicly list sites selling link advertising. We all know the sites. So does google... try the obvious search terms on google.com :-)

The only reason for Matt asking for link buying spam reports was to create fear and to influence webmaster behavior. It's amazing how easy it is to influence some people into doing what is against their best interest in the long run.

Powdork




msg:3318608
 4:35 am on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm simply following Google's recommendations to nofollow user submitted links.
And there's nothing wrong with that. I simply choose not to follow google's recommendations. My point is that if a user puts a crappy link on your site, you should remove it. Not because of a fear of the almighty G, but out of deference to your other users. The nofollow attribute does not make it so a 10 year old won't be sent to a pron site. Only removing the link will do that.
steveb




msg:3318620
 5:27 am on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

"The more I read your previous post the more I think you were going over the top to prove a point."

It's not over the top to state the blatantly obvious. Google doesn't know if Tim Mayer paid me $10 to add this:
[yahoo.com...]

If Google is looking to penalize/demerit/punish paid links, then any link of any sort is a risk. Again this is 100% plainly obvious, unless you are delusional like some folks and think Google never, ever makes a mistake.

Adding nofollow to links in a way different than it was originally intended is goofballism. It's like saying a lawnmower is for mowing the lawn but then you are told to use it for haircuts.

But that isn't the point, and its just completely senseless to ignore the only thing that really matters: if Google tries to do something, how well will they do it?

Recent history suggests they can't accurately do much of anything with any certainty. And that means any link could hurt you, just because Google will misinterpret it.

Google needs to learn to judge and value paid links far better than it does, but advocating adding nofollow is nuts, at least until they will 99.99999% of the time be able to correctly judge whether a link without nofollow is genuinely paid or not.

The people with the greatest to fear are people who do not sell links at all. It is a 100% certainty that Google will incorrectly sometimes judge that some of these sites do sell links and are "cheating" by not using nofollow.

Google needs to remember waaaaaay back when their search engine didn't stink, and think of links as votes... and hold websites accountable for their voting.

Marcia




msg:3318622
 5:36 am on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

numerous marketplaces that publicly list sites selling link advertising. We all know the sites. So does google...

Very true, but there are still plenty that aren't out there in marketplaces to easily find and/or that are obvious. It wouldn't surprise me if the ones that are pretty well anonymous are the ones they want to get hold of for some kind of testing, there's no way they'd be easy (or maybe even possible) to spot or find. Except by theme or topic, and with that there could be a lot of false positives.

Play_Bach




msg:3318642
 6:27 am on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

> The nofollow attribute does not make it so a 10 year old won't be sent to a pron site. Only removing the link will do that.

No argument there. However, monitoring hundreds of user submitted links takes time. Since all links are manually approved, in addition to the nofollow tags I may at some point simply remove links past a certain age - the idea being that older links will most likely be the ones to have gone 404 or been redirected.

Rather than pass judgement on the efficacy of nofollow without actually using it - I'm electing to give it a try and see what happens - so far, I'm pleased with the results.

[edited by: Play_Bach at 6:39 am (utc) on April 23, 2007]

lfgoal




msg:3318769
 10:50 am on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Adding nofollow to links in a way different than it was originally intended is goofballism."

I guess using it for paid links like MC suggested makes him a purveyor of gooballism then since this was not the original purpose of nofollow.

"However, monitoring hundreds of user submitted links takes time."

An argument for using nofollow.

"It is a 100% certainty that Google will incorrectly sometimes judge that some of these sites do sell links and are "cheating" by not using nofollow."

This, on its face, seems completely illogical. Why would google ever attach the concept of "cheating" to links that do not exert an influence upon the algorithmn, but, rather, simply provide a means for users to get from point A to point B?

lfgoal




msg:3318805
 12:22 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've been checking other sites to see why other individuals may use nofollow. Here are a few examples and I'm pararphrasing them.

1. "We do it because of the bad neighborhood thing. We don't know where users are posting links. I can't read every post since I get over a thousand a day on all my sites. If someone puts in a link to a bad neighborhood I may never find it. So I decided to solve the problem with nofollow"

2. "Nofollow is a way to save grief. Suppose you wanted to do a study on spammers in a particular area like viagra or ringtones and wanted to use examples. But you were afraid to actually link to them because it would then affiliate you with them. Problem solved."

3. Sometimes I link to sites to point out how stupid their article is. Do I want to give the stupid article writer a vote simply because I am linking to him? No.

4. Advertisers who want traffic versus algorithmic benefits in google aren't going to care about the use of nofollow. They probably don't even know that it exists.

5. I have 5 blogs and 15 sites on different subjects, I would like to link them all to each other (for my visitors) in the footer because, who knows, some of my visitors on one site might like the stuff I have on another site. But I have always been afraid to link them all together because then it might look like a network to boost the rank of all the sites. Nofollow seems like a solution.

6. "If you link to a site that buys links it increases the risk of linking to a “bad neighborhood. You can't always tell what sort of site you are linking to and in some cases it may be impossible to tell”.

I also came across this statement which seems to be echoed here: "I'm afraid that nofollow will be viewed by google as 'not trusted' versus simply 'no vote'.

And to that I say, look at wikipedia's use of nofollow on their external links. Do all the thousands of nofollow outbounds on wikipedia somehow confer a level of "untrustworthiness" on the sites listed in the external links section? Of course, not. To do so, would be entirely stupid and for this reason I believe nofollow simply means "no vote cast".

And, to get back to the core theme of this thread, this is why I can't see a downside to using nofollow in paid links. Google will not use a site's use of nofollow in advertising links AGAINST IT. That would make no sense whatsoever.

The only individuals who should feel any ill effect from nofollow in advertising links are those whose placements in the serps rely too much on paid links versus a healthy profile of backlinks (that include honest, organic, freely given links/votes).

SincerelySandy




msg:3318823
 12:47 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

The New Yorker's revenue isn't directly and immediately impacted by their editorial decisions

Rekitty, If the New Yorker puts out a really juicy article that alot of people are interested in, more copies of the new yorker are sold and I'm inclined to think that more sales directly impacts revenue. Conversly, if the new yorker puts out a bunch of crap content, sales will fall. So I'm curious to understand your logic behind your quoted statement above.

europeforvisitors




msg:3318826
 1:06 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Rekitty, If the New Yorker puts out a really juicy article that alot of people are interested in, more copies of the new yorker are sold and I'm inclined to think that more sales directly impacts revenue. Conversly, if the new yorker puts out a bunch of crap content, sales will fall. So I'm curious to understand your logic behind your quoted statement above.

Yes, and it's the same with a search engine and most other businesses: Satisfied users are more likely to come back--and to generate positive word of mouth--than dissatisfied users. (I know--that sounds basic, but it's a principle that many Website owners fail to grasp.)

flack47




msg:3318870
 2:23 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Wow, I didn't read this thread over the weekend, and there was suddenly four new pages of stuff. My boss is going to fire me for spending so much time reading this.
Here's what I'm wondering. . .

How will putting nofollows on your links affect SERPS on Y!, MSN and all the others?

I know that they've all got different algorithms, but it's bound to have some affect.

Seems kind of self-centered for Google to tell you to alter your site with them in mind, when there are other people in that market, doesn't it?

Maybe nofollow is a step in the right direction for "SERP purity" on all engines that regard links, since it discourages the concept of gaming the search engines. I don't hear Yahoo saying anything about it.

Your site's not on Google. It's on the internet. Google's a huge presence on the internet, but they don't own it. . .yet. I don't know about putting all of your eggs in one basket by actually changing your site for one search engine.

Play_Bach




msg:3318880
 2:31 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

> changing your site for one search engine.

It's my understanding that Yahoo! and MSN also recognize nofollow - so it's not just Google.

europeforvisitors




msg:3318894
 2:46 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's my understanding that Yahoo! and MSN also recognize nofollow - so it's not just Google.

Yes, the three major search engines jointly announced their support for "nofollow" in January of 2005. Wikipedia has a succinct history of the attribute and its implementation at:

[en.wikipedia.org...]

internetheaven




msg:3318708
 8:50 am on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

This is really starting to annoy me now. I can't go about my daily webmastering business anymore without thinking "will master Google be happy with my choices?" I feel trapped by Google to only use their products and services.

Yesterday I got a fantastic offer from a huge widgeting site to have a text link in a top right hand corner box linking to my green widget page. The box will be shared with other resources such as the blue widget site and widgets in the UK.

The traffic, let alone the branding, will be worth a heck of a lot more than what they are asking per month but my first thought was "will I lose my Google rankings if Google ever looks at this site and finds out I'm paying for the link?".

So I'm stuck with the only paid links I feel safe with being the ones I buy from Google on their pages. Now I hear that Google has bought DoubleClick? So now if I don't advertise their advertisers and use another affiliate network will my pages be devalued in the rankings for that too?

[edited by: tedster at 3:44 pm (utc) on April 23, 2007]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

europeforvisitors




msg:3319000
 4:20 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yesterday I got a fantastic offer from a huge widgeting site to have a text link in a top right hand corner box linking to my green widget page. The box will be shared with other resources such as the blue widget site and widgets in the UK.

The traffic, let alone the branding, will be worth a heck of a lot more than what they are asking per month but my first thought was "will I lose my Google rankings if Google ever looks at this site and finds out I'm paying for the link?".

Just ask the widgeting site to use the "nofollow" attribute in the link, and you'll get full value from the link without having to worry. (Based on what you've said, I assume that traffic and branding, not Google PageRank, are what you hope to gain from the link.)

pageoneresults




msg:3319017
 4:30 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

But my first thought was "will I lose my Google rankings if Google ever looks at this site and finds out I'm paying for the link?"

Even if they did, I personally feel the worst thing that could happen is a devaluation of the link itself, not the entire site. But, if you get enough of those devalued links, does it raise a flag? And if so, what type of flag? I doubt seriously that there are any sitewide penalties involved for most.

And to think that Google has the man/woman power to do all of this? Nope. That's why they are asking us, the webmaster community to assist in cleaning up something they started. I don't think that is going to happen.

willybfriendly




msg:3319047
 4:52 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just ask the widgeting site to use the "nofollow" attribute in the link, and you'll get full value from the link without having to worry.

Except that you have just identified yourself as a purchaser of links. Google will have no way of knowing that you requested another site to use the no follow tag for something that it was never intended for...

That's why they are asking us, the webmaster community to assist in cleaning up something they started.

Amen to that. It was not greedy webmasters and SEO specialists that commoditized links.

In another WebmasterWorld thread [webmasterworld.com] Tedster wrote

In my view, the real relationship of a webmaster to a search engine is a paradox...Our relationship to google is a competitive AND a cooperative relationship. It's the same type of relationship that permeates the ecological sciences -- for example, where the prey actually needs the predator for the species to thrive.

It is a symbiotic relationship. What Google does, including their algos, clearly influence what webmasters do, and vice versa. Early on in Google's history there was more of a sense of "partnership" between the two. IMO it has been a long time since that was the case. Call me naive, but I used to enjoy the interaction with GoogleGuy on the Boards. It had a far different feel to it than the current approach, which strikes me more as issuing edicts from on high.

WBF

Play_Bach




msg:3319055
 5:05 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

"All your base are belong to us" ;-)

europeforvisitors




msg:3319096
 5:52 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Except that you have just identified yourself as a purchaser of links.

To whom? Not to Google, which won't know why the linking site used "nofollow." And even if Google did know that "nofollow" was being used to prevent PageRank transfer from a paid link, Google wouldn't care, because Matt Cutts has suggested using "nofollow" or other techniques for advertising links.

Call me naive, but I used to enjoy the interaction with GoogleGuy on the Boards. It had a far different feel to it than the current approach, which strikes me more as issuing edicts from on high.

I wouldn't call suggestions on an employee blog the same as "issuing edicts from on high." Also, why should someone like Matt Cutts favor Webmaster World over its competitors when he can ensure an equal playing field by running his own blog (a blog that welcomes comments, and where the nuggets of information aren't buried amid a thousand rants by ax-grinding Webmasters and SEOs)?

willybfriendly




msg:3319102
 6:08 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google wouldn't care, because Matt Cutts has suggested using "nofollow" or other techniques for advertising links.

If Google didn't care about paid links, this thread would not exist.

Google has specifically asked for information about the buying and selling of links (in addition to "suggesting" the use of no follow). This to tweak thier algo presumably.

Will the results of the algo effect the sellers of links, or the buyers, or both? Who knows, but it is clear that Google cares.

Regarding Matt's blog, where is the interactive component that existed before, here and on other forums? That is what changes it from a conversation to an edict. The collaborative "feel" (whether it was real or not) has been missing for a long time. I have joked that Google took down the Cluetrain Manifesto and replaced it with Rich Dad Poor Dad.

WBF

matrix_neo




msg:3319146
 6:33 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

If Google's intention is to better the resulsts by curbing the paid link activity, their first action must be throwing those well known link broker sites out of the results, instead they are taking cash on the other hand to advertise them through adwords while trying scare the webmaster's community of buying links. Has Google became a politician? May be it is very clear that they are optimising their revenue stream and forcing adsense and adwords as the only option for publishers and advertisers respectively.

I don't sell any link with PR since I don't own PR. Google gives it free along with my link and they don't have control over their PR, moreover it is their arrogance to warn me to put a nofollow tag to it. If I do so, what google will do? It will find other backlinks of my advertiser and devalue many link value including some of their geniune links, I would call that biting the hands that feeds you. And I will never do that to make Google happy.

If Google owns the PR and can say we should not sell links without nofollow tag, can every webmaster who own the content say that google should not crawl webpages unless it is submitted to google.com? Will Google accept or relise and stop crawling webpages through links with out invitation? If not, dont we have some(same) rights to sell PR ethically(according to google)? I am not trying to justify, but there could be many other ways to defend their system and they are simply playing the fool.

jakegotmail




msg:3319156
 6:42 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

May be it is very clear that they are optimising their revenue stream and forcing adsense and adwords as the only option for publishers and advertisers respectively.

This is exactly what I see on my end. If they really wanted to make their results more relevant then they would do something about the hacked .edu / .gov domains that litter the web. How many times have your spam reports been answered?

This is being done to increase their bottom line. Period.

lfgoal




msg:3319205
 7:26 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Just ask the widgeting site to use the "nofollow" attribute in the link, and you'll get full value from the link without having to worry."

What if the wideting site is operated by someone who holds an opinion similar to some of the contributors to this thread, that using nofollow can "profile" you?

"And to think that Google has the man/woman power to do all of this? Nope."

They're essentially admitting that they're having trouble.

"Except that you have just identified yourself as a purchaser of links. Google will have no way of knowing that you requested another site to use the no follow tag for something that it was never intended for..."

Why on earth would google care if another site linked to you with a nofollow when the deliberate intent of the nofollow attribute is to avoid having an effect on their algorithmn in the first place?

"If Google didn't care about paid links, this thread would not exist."

Google cares about paid links that affect their algorithmic ranking system, not nofollows which don't have that effect. That was the exact point of MC suggesting the use of nofollow on paid links.

europeforvisitors




msg:3319206
 7:27 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

If Google didn't care about paid links, this thread would not exist.

You need to read the entire thread and Matt Cutt's remarks about paid links, nofollow, JavaScript, etc. Then maybe you'll understand why advertising links with "nofollow" won't get you into trouble.

steveb




msg:3319245
 8:06 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

"I guess using it for paid links like MC suggested makes him a purveyor of gooballism then since this was not the original purpose of nofollow."

I thought that was clear in the context.

The engines invented something to accomplish a task, which it failed to do. Now that something is being suggested to accomplish a far more difficult task, even though this second suggestion is in DIRECT contradiction to the original purpose.

Matt's suggestion is goofballism because it is impossible to have it both ways. That doesn't mean Google won't do it anyway. Regarding their core product, they exhibit horrible judgement a shocking amount of the time.

If you don't want to vouch for a link, add nofollow. If you do, don't. Doing anything else is to use a lawnmower for a haircut... UNLESS all the engines come out and say:
"nofollow no longer means what it was intended for; remove it from links you don't vouch for and add it to any links we might think are paid for."

Matt's a great guy, but great guys have dumb ideas all the time. His ideas about nofollowing legitimate, vouched-for links were dumb when he made them a year ago and they are dumb now. Hardly anybody followed the dumb advice last year, and this goofballism will pass too if people don't now start using their lawnmowers to cut their hair.

Now if Google wants to come out with a "paidlink" (instead of "nofollow") tag to add to links, that would be an entirely different issue, and would be sane. They could then weigh these links differently if people wanted to add them.

Google needs to look at the example of a good search engine, that would be them five years ago, and remember that solid algorithms come from looking at links as votes, and holding linking and linked-to sites responsible for their actions and consequences.

steveb




msg:3319250
 8:09 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Then maybe you'll understand why advertising links with "nofollow" won't get you into trouble."

Pray tell exactly what effect does having 57% nofollow links on a page effect Google's ranking of that page? What about 95%?

If you can't answer that question, and you can't, then you are just speculating irresponsibly.

Play_Bach




msg:3319269
 8:35 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

> even though this second suggestion is in DIRECT contradiction to the original purpose.

So what? Why can't nofollow just be a Swiss-Army jacknife of link attributes? Frankly, I don't see what the big deal is.

lfgoal




msg:3319270
 8:37 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

"His ideas about nofollowing legitimate, vouched-for links were dumb when he made them a year ago and they are dumb now. Hardly anybody followed the dumb advice last year"

steveb, I admit I may have missed something here. What types of legit vouched-for links was he advocating the use of nofollow on (aside from blog and forum comments and paid links)?

I do recall him saying that someone's use of nofollow on their internal pages (the about and contact pages) was a legitimate use of nofollow and I found that a little whiffy (however, in that instance, we have a google person saying its essentially ok to nofollow your own pages---something I'd never do, why would I create pages simply to nofollow them).

"Now if Google wants to come out with a "paidlink" (instead of "nofollow") tag to add to links"

Part of the problem with nofollow is its very name. That and the fact that, though MC will sometimes make a suggestion for the use of the attribute, he never really gives us a definitive heart-to-heart on its use. "Paidlink" would work for paid links. "No vote" would work for instances in which a webmaster would like to link to an external source but not vote for it (and there are many valid scenarios for this).

tedster




msg:3319275
 8:46 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I like rel="paidlink" -- that would definitely cut to the heart of the matter. In many countries and states, the regular media are not allowed to publish or broadcast what seem like editorial recommendations without disclosing a paid relationship for that "advertorial" content.

Google (and other search engines) are looking for some kind of machine-readable disclaimer like this, and that goal is not unreasonable. But in their indirect efforts, slouching towards their particular Bethlehem, they have given birth to a very rough beast.

steveb




msg:3319276
 8:47 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Why can't nofollow just be a Swiss-Army jacknife of link attributes?"

What aren't you getting? Nofollow was invented for links you don't vouch for.

How can it now also be used for links you DO vouch for?

Frankly it's impossible not to "get" that.

===

"What types of legit vouched-for links was he advocating the use of nofollow"

Paid advertising links. In broad strokes there are two types of these: on topic, user-friendly links to quality sites a webmaster is not ashamed of linking to; second, pharm links on ballarina sites bought for zero user-benefit, zero visitors, and that both the link seller and link buyer don't want anyone to examine closely.

The second example are far less common than the former, even though there are millions of them around.

The problem is Matt wants to use a no-vouch-for thingee on vouched for links. It's entirely inappropriate, and impossible logically.

[edited by: steveb at 8:53 pm (utc) on April 23, 2007]

elguiri




msg:3319281
 8:53 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

No rants from me this time (I've done that on MC's blog).

One general question: why is Google the most used search engine on earth when it's results are clearly inferior to those of Teoma? Teoma's clustering technology is a better way of avoiding link bombing and paid link abuse than asking webmasters to help you (for free) to get it right.

Ho hum.

europeforvisitors




msg:3319346
 9:58 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Then maybe you'll understand why advertising links with "nofollow" won't get you into trouble."

Pray tell exactly what effect does having 57% nofollow links on a page effect Google's ranking of that page? What about 95%?
If you can't answer that question, and you can't, then you are just speculating irresponsibly.

My reply was to a prospective buyer of a link who wanted traffic and branding from the linking site--not to the prospective seller. If you refuse to read carefully, you can't comment responsibly. :-)

So what? Why can't nofollow just be a Swiss-Army jacknife of link attributes? Frankly, I don't see what the big deal is.

It isn't a big deal, unless you recognize the subtext: "Is Google going to penalize me because I've been buying or selling links?"

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