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rel="nofollow" tag and its etiquettes
how to use, good and bad
igorberger




msg:3396658
 6:06 am on Jul 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am seeing a lot of negativity in the Webmasters, Developers and SEO's world over the rel="nofollow" tag.
It is being abused by Websites to hoard PR which is against Google Quality Guidelines.
With the use of rel="nofollow" for signatures, comments and partner links, a Website is trying to manipulate Google PR algorithm.

I would not be supprised if Udi the Google VP of engineering is working to encompass a penalty for Websites that do not have external links because of rel=nofollow".

I do not use it and would recommend that others use it wisely if there is a need, because the next Google algorithm update may penalize Websites for over excessive use of rel="nofollow"

Also, I see it being confused with disallow in robots.txt and noindex, follow meta tag.

Many Webmaster have an impression that if you put rel="nofollow" on an anchar link on your Web page that it will not be indexed.
Also many SEO's recommned to do that to get a page out of supplementary index.
Both beleives are wrong...

A page can have links to it from another Website so even if you put the rel="nofollow" that page will get indexed.

Once in a supplementary if you tell Google rel="nofollow" Google will not need to crawl it, but will leave it in the supplementary.

So please use disallow in robots.txt or for od and dynamic content use noindex, follow meta tag.

Igor

P.S. If anyone has good usage for rel="nofollow" please contribute to this thread.

 

Marcia




msg:3396769
 8:44 am on Jul 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would not be supprised if Udi the Google VP of engineering is working to encompass a penalty for Websites that do not have external links because of rel=nofollow".

Igor, IMHO it would serve some people right, who agreed to legitimate reciprocal links with appropriate sites and then put nofollow on to make them all one way inbounds - cheating the people they had an agreement with. And I've actually seen some folks advising others to do just that.

But there's a difference between that and a site that links out liberally but uses nofollow because they'd prefer that their "information page" not turn up in the Google SERPs in the main index - and for search terms at another engine instead of the appropriate page on the site.

A page can have links to it from another Website so even if you put the rel="nofollow" that page will get indexed.

Once in a supplementary if you tell Google rel="nofollow" Google will not need to crawl it, but will leave it in the supplementary.


First off, I think we have to get more clarity on what happens with nofollow. My understanding is that pages indicated as nofollow are treated just like others, and are not prevented from being crawled, but that no vote is given for either anchor text or PR.

My issue is that some important pages that get traffic from other sources and convert to sales - obviously providing a positive user experience - those are supplemental, while pages no one would really want to find at a search engine and have nothing to do with the reason people would want to visit the site - like privacy policy - those have PR and are in the main index.

I also put noindex,nofollow on the relatively worthless pages. It's fine with me if they go supplemental, and if they have no PR they won't stay in the main index regardless.

From what I've seen over and over, given a site with few links and fairly low PR - maybe PR3 on the homepage and PR3 and PR2 on some interior pages, or even PR4 and some PR3 - there will only be a certain number of pages in the main index, with the others being supplemental. If only 8 or 9 pages out of 30-40 will have PR and not be supplemental, it makes sense to be careful about which 8 or 9 we ourselves treating as being important on the site. A couple of sites of mine are definitely being hurt with this issue. On one, I'm completely removing a subdirectory that never converted one sale ever, because those pages are among the few on the site that are in the main index, while the really important pages (that get sales) are as good as roadkill.

There can be relevancy issues with indexing and scoring both - I've gotten traffic on a size chart page, and that and the information page are certainly not a good user experience for a visitor to the site looking for widgets.

Need to add:
Yes, to answer the question on a good use, I do have a good use.

I link out liberally and have no interest in doing nofollow on outbound links. With an exception - I found that a couple of sites I've had links out to are now selling links. The sites are still interesting and of value for visitors to my site to go to, but I put nofollow on the link to them because I don't want to remove the links but don't want to vote for them as being trusted.

Another good reason: if someone I exchanged links with (which I wouldn't do if it wasn't a good site) removes the link back, or puts nofollow or noindex or moves their links off to another domain, if it's still got value for visitors, I'll leave it and put nofollow on the link to them when they're playing those games.

[edited by: Marcia at 9:11 am (utc) on July 17, 2007]

igorberger




msg:3396792
 9:13 am on Jul 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Marcia, please refer to this.

[robotstxt.org...]

Marcia




msg:3396804
 9:27 am on Jul 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>please refer to this.

I use that and also the robots meta tag where appropriate, but don't think using nofollow as well on one sitewide footer link will do any harm, in addition. I sure wouldn't over-use it, there's really no need to.

tedster




msg:3396815
 9:34 am on Jul 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

There is the one time I would consider using rel="nofollow" -- the essential reason it was created. Suppose you have a site that allows user contributions, including links. Even if you pre-moderate those comments, you still have no assurance that over time some of the sites linked to may not turn into "bad neighborhoods".

If that pile of backlink devolution builds up, it can affect your trust and ranking, so in that situation rel="nofollow" makes some sense. You can't police bad neighborhood links programmatically, the way you can police regular 404 link rot. It takes a human value judgement, and that can be a resource hog. So the attribute makes sense.

[edited by: tedster at 4:02 am (utc) on July 18, 2007]

Marval




msg:3396834
 9:52 am on Jul 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

The pther place that you would be wise to use them would be advertising partner links as discussed in the new Google WM Guidelines:
"Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such. This can be done in several ways, such as:
Adding a rel="nofollow" attribute to the <a> tag"

From [google.com...]

[edited by: Marval at 9:52 am (utc) on July 17, 2007]

bbd2000




msg:3397719
 4:01 am on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

This thread is very informative and somewhat complicated. Getting back to basics, I think the rel="nofollow" tag is extremely harmful to any new site. More and more sites are using the tag to hoard PR and allowing none to flow to other sites. How is a new site, regardless of quality, ever hope to become an authority if they don’t enjoy the benefits of “link juice”?

Furthermore, with the wide adoption of the “no follow” tag most old sites have been grandfathered, with their pre “no follow” tags and new sites will continue to struggle to obtain links of any value.

Finally, I don’t see the trend changing. I recently adopted a CMS and there is a module that will convert all links to “no follows” In the upcoming version the “no follow” tag will be integrated directly into the CMS. I don’t even know if webmasters will have the option to link without the tag.

Personally, I don’t use the tags and don’t plan to in the future.

igorberger




msg:3397723
 4:06 am on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

BBD2000 I gues you are from the old school like me, and like it the real way...

Marcia




msg:3397725
 4:08 am on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

More and more sites are using the tag to hoard PR and allowing none to flow to other sites.

That's a serious misuse. Kind of reminds me of back when people were asking about using JS link, for the same reason.

bbd2000




msg:3397735
 4:20 am on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I guess I am a little old school and I definitely agree that the use of the tag is getting out of hand.

I have a new site and I have been watching new links very closely. Almost all the links I have put in blogs, forums ect have the tag. That is fine.

What I don’t like is the other sites where the webmaster obviously added a link to my site. Almost 80% of those have the tag also. I feel like they are stealing from me. My content is good enough for them to reference and it helps add value to their site, but the have no desire to pay me with a little PR for its use. If a site is worth referencing it is worth linking to freely.

just my thought

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