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Don't use "nofollow"?
Tonearm




msg:3850742
 4:59 pm on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

I read a post by "wheel" in the canonical tag thread as follows:

"The nofollow tag also started out being promoted as being for 'our own good'. A few years later, it's used very much, perhaps primarily, for the SE's benefit, to the detriment of end users.

In fact based on nothing other than the SE's treatment of nofollow, webmasters and SEO' would be well advised to be very suspicious of another big wooden horse parked at the front door."

I'm using nofollow to prevent PR from flowing to noindex pages, but I haven't checked into the general nofollow situation in a while. Has it gone bad?

 

santapaws




msg:3850815
 6:24 pm on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

your talking specifically of the rel nofollow rather than the meta tag right?

pageoneresults




msg:3850823
 6:35 pm on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

"The nofollow tag also started out being promoted as being for 'our own good'. A few years later, it's used very much, perhaps primarily, for the SE's benefit, to the detriment of end users.

I too "used to" advocate not using the rel="nofollow" attribute. I've since (2008 December) changed my view on its use from a structural flow standpoint. The topic below is quite lengthy and it took that many pages to convince me of my original thoughts on the use of nofollow.

I now use it judiciously when setting up site architecture. And, I'm now on a mission to make sure that there is only one link reference per page that is being counted in the overall equation. The one surrounded by the most relevant content which is usually an inline link.

Learning About PR Sculpting: internal links with rel=nofollow
[webmasterworld.com...]

I'd have to say that was one of me all time favorites. Totally changed my views on the use of rel="nofollow" from a variety of perspectives. Talk about micro-managing link equity.

Prime Example of Usage

Let's say you have a page of content that is somewhat verbose. You've provided a Table of Contents at the top of the page to make it easier for visitors to peruse that page in "sections". I am now using the rel="nofollow" on all multiple instances of hrefs. I'll leave the main href dofollow and then nofollow all others. There is no reason to fragment link equity amongst 20 links all pointing to the same destination. Point the equity back to the primary link.

CWebguy




msg:3850925
 9:30 pm on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

I use nofollow on contact forms and other stuff that I don't care to link to. Whatever I feel doesn't need to be indexed and/or followed. This can save on spider resources and get more pages indexed at least, which is my thinking.

Tonearm




msg:3851052
 12:50 am on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

pageoneresults, I used to have a very aggressive rel="nofollow" strategy like the one you're describing. After being unsatisfied with the results, I switched to a strategy like CWebguy's and I remember seeing positive results. I may have made one of two mistakes with my aggressive strategy that took down the whole thing though.

CWebguy




msg:3851057
 12:54 am on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

yes, like for instance you could nofollow all links on your page but one, but I don't know how Google would react to that.

signor_john




msg:3851064
 1:14 am on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've been using rel="nofollow" for running navbar links to my e-mail page, "About us" page, and other pages that aren't about my site's topic and that don't deserve "link juice" for quite a while.

I also use it in multi-page articles where I have running links to third-party Web sites and don't want to give the impression that they're paid links.

So far, so good--and why not? Google--and Matt Cutts of Google's antispam team--encourage the use of rel="nofollow" when it's appropriate.

Shaddows




msg:3851350
 9:55 am on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

How I read that Wheel quote was tainted through my own lense, so perhaps I miss the point.

My feelig on nofollow is that it destroys the web. It was meant to disavow your vote for an external site. This is fine.

It developed through legitimate use to become a power-user tool as advocated by P1R. This is also fine (though good site structure takes you most of the way, P1R's journey of discovery on the referenced thread was... insightful)

The problem with nofollow is the 'hoarders'. The people who NF all outbounds. Its death for the internet, and frankly should scare anyone who relies on PR-fueled natural SERPs. Ok, some people overstate PR influence, but there are many, many more who now underestimate it.

Many respected posters here, in the good and right name of disillusioning the PR worshipers, give the impression PR is barely a consideration. I cannot agree. And in the particular matter of nofollow especially, remember all the semantic and contextual information is lost with that PR when THE LINK IS REMOVERD FROM THE GRAPH.

The widespread practice began by UGC blogs for good reason now infects the web, and it is WRONG.

[edited by: Shaddows at 9:59 am (utc) on Feb. 17, 2009]

wheel




msg:3851393
 12:26 pm on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm not a tree-hugging save the web guy. I contest nofollow for two reasons. First, it makes you the Se's beotch. I'm far too independent for that. And secondly, you might as well as have a tag on your website that says <I-do-seo value=yes>.

Of course then everyone piles on and says that the search engines would NEEEVER use it for that, or anything else against your better interests - despite clear evidence of strong tendencies of doing exactly that.

Yes nofollow can be used to your advantage. Yes, nofollow can be used against you.

Shaddows




msg:3851438
 1:17 pm on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

TBH, I think profiling would make it blindingly obvious if a site is SEO'd. Google doesn't hurt you because a site is 'optimised', they hurt you because your optimisation activities are plain manipulative.

NF is not manipulative, in and of itself- any more than 301s are manipulative. Its how they are used that causes problems.

Shaping PR and relevancy (through link selection) are fine. Blocking UGC is fine. Blocking votes saying "Look at the MFA scraper site over at rel="nofollow" example.com" is fine.

Turning the 'net' into a group of islands is a disaster.

As someone (Tedster?) noted elsewhere, the SEO/Google relationship is a marriage of hostility and cooperation. Thinking Google is on your side or that they are against you is missing at least half the story. It's a symbiotic relationship, each looking out for their own interests, but each deriving value from the other.

NF is a tool that you can use to help G 'see' you better- and while it will probably move your profile into the SEO camp, chances are that it was there already.

RedCardinal




msg:3851443
 1:23 pm on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

@pageoneresults - did you ever test for anchor text Google picks up in cases where you nofollow the first link of multiple to any single target in your source?

pageoneresults




msg:3851455
 1:37 pm on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Did you ever test for anchor text Google picks up in cases where you nofollow the first link of multiple to any single target in your source?

No, I haven't. I rely on the Webmaster Community at large to confirm that for me. I've read the various articles on that and I'm not sure what is happening. I rely mainly on gut instinct and protocol. If my gut tells me something isn't right and/or right, I have plenty of "official" documents to fall back on for confirmation. In this case, it is a bit different as the use of nofollow comes with mixed reviews.

I do know that on the few sites I've utilized it on, everything is fine. Traffic is up but I can't say it was due to the use of nofollow. This time of year is usually a benchmark period for my clients anyway so it is really difficult to micro track what the cause and effects are. I just do it and be done with it. I don't have the time nor the inclination to figure out what Google is doing "exactly". I can only guess based on experience and protocol.

From a "conceptual" standpoint, I like NF because of the micro management of link equity if that is the end outcome. I'm still too early into all of this to really make any educated guesses as to its effectiveness. There are quite a few others around here who have used it for years. After I got involved with the above topic referenced and had my head smacked quite a few times, it finally clicked. So, I got on board and now use it where applicable.

We tend to overlook the replication of internal links on our pages. Using NF allows you to minimize that replication and "direct" the flow of equity through the site.

On a side note, I personally believe the anchor text is still taken into consideration when using nofollow. ;)

signor_john




msg:3851502
 3:13 pm on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes nofollow can be used to your advantage. Yes, nofollow can be used against you.

Maybe, if you've got a site that won't pass the "sniff test" on closer examination. As Shaddows said, "Google doesn't hurt you because a site is 'optimised', they hurt you because your optimisation activities are plain manipulative."

As for being the search engines "beotch," rel="nofollow" is easier to implement than meta statements for descriptions and keywords, which most site owners use and which have no function other than to help search engines with their indexing.

jpalmer




msg:3852723
 11:38 pm on Feb 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

FWIW - I'm with pageoneresults (waves) on testing and benchmarking.

OK, my take on "rel nofollow" and canonical. More SE factors to take into account as a webmaster/SEO. ;-)

So here goes, here's how I see it being useful. I have a page with content provided by a client (before he had a web site), when it went up originally.

Later we also looked after his site and his site had the content there as well.

Now we don't look after his site and content, so I can canonical meta tag my original page content to point to his page that he has up, as the source (even though we published it first), and "rel nofollow" the cite/attribute link on my page back to his site.

His directory listings on other pages of my site remain full meta follow/index, because I want GYM to understand these are the important links as far as I'm concerned, to his site from my site, and to pass full "link juice" and PR* to them, from these.

Do I get it?

tedster




msg:3852746
 12:09 am on Feb 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

I can canonical meta tag my original page content to point to his page

The canonical tag will not work across two domains, sorry.

wheel




msg:3853136
 3:12 pm on Feb 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

meta statements for descriptions and keywords, which most site owners use and which have no function other than to help search engines with their indexing.

That's just completely wrong and is revealing of your ignorance. If you think the only - or even the primary use of a description metatag has to do with SE indexing then you are really missing some large benefits. I'll leave you to do the research, it's out there.

jpalmer




msg:3867729
 2:47 am on Mar 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

>>tedster: The canonical tag will not work across two domains, sorry.

Oh, OK. Back to the drawing board understanding who, what, where and when, on canonical then :-}

Cheers
JP

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