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Is it safe to nofollow every link on your site at once?
Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4431924
 11:44 pm on Mar 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have linked out a lot over the years from one particular site and it's becoming a chore to go through the lengthy list of outbound links to find dead links, redirected pages, sold sites where the new owner likes pron etc.

Since Google is blocking the ability to pass rank to some sites it stands to reason that they also ignore nofollow when they trust a site.

Whichever the case may be I'm strongly contemplating doing what wikipedia did and simply make all external links, save for a shortlist of .edu sites and official news sources, nofollow.

I expect this will add nofollow to some 8,000 outgoing links at once. Should I expect a kick in the ranking pants for doing this? Has anyone else here done it and if so, what happened to rankings?

 

doc_z




msg:4432028
 11:13 am on Mar 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Normally I wouldn't expect any problems - Wikipedia did it and also some blogs are doing it. However, if the whole site just consists of links (e.g. a web directory) I would be careful.

On how many pages are the 8.000 links? Are the links a main part of the content or almost unimportant (for the content)?

netmeg




msg:4432083
 2:43 pm on Mar 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Wow that's a pretty radical move.

buckworks




msg:4432127
 3:41 pm on Mar 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

it stands to reason that they also ignore nofollow when they trust a site


That does not stand to reason at all.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4432438
 5:55 am on Mar 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

That does not stand to reason at all.

I respect your opinion, especially in the absence of an explanation by Google. My argument: Sites that have done extremely well over the past 12 months in terms of increased google traffic (such as ebay and amazon) have many affiliate links pointing to them (mostly nofollow, mostly through a redirect page) while conversely a lot of their affiliates report less traffic. You could debate on that being because of the affiliate nature of the links but the fact remains they are nofollow and shouldn't have played a role. You'd expect this to happen if nofollow was all of a sudden selectively obeyed.

Elsewhere: Matt Cutts recently asked if noindex should also be selectively obeyed. To me that makes their mysterious 2011 "nofollow change" all the more interesting, given the above.

radical move

Not really, nofollow is a Google only attribute and adding nofollow to all outgoing links effectively shields me from harm to my Google rankings. My visitors don't care either way if a link is follow or nofollow and this way I would not care anymore either.

besides - the internet 'currency' is shifting from backlinks to social signals and reputation anyway. Why not protect my reputation in the eyes of a computer algorithm by making 99% of outgoing links nofollow? (serious question, has anyone done it recently?)

8000 links are spread over 3500 pages, it's not a directory, I tend to write a lot and any given article may have 2-5 links as examples or sources.

edit: If I asked Matt Cutts I'm sure he would say that it's better to vouch for my outgoing links by not using nofollow on them, it's supposed to be a glove over links to less trustworthy sites and/or a way to protect yourself from paid link suspicions, but since I can't see what GOOGLE thinks is a trustworthy site (and Google is suspicious by nature) I'm bound to get some wrong (and with 8000 have lots change).

My question to Matt now would be: Has Google finished lowering the value of backlinks and increasing the value of social reputation yet? I'd love for backlinks and PR and nofollow to be retired from the 'important factor' list to make this a moot issue. Reason: My visitors don't see this stuff much less care.

buckworks




msg:4432444
 6:31 am on Mar 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

For the sake of your users you need to patrol for broken and misdirected links, with or without nofollow.

Find some good tools to help with the job and it will be easier.

aristotle




msg:4432580
 2:18 pm on Mar 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

In my opinion this would be a risky move for two reasons:

1. I'm pretty sure that external outlinks to relevant content are a positive ranking factor that generally helps boost a page's Google rankings. But if you add nofollow tags to these links, then this rankings boost could be eliminated, causing a drop in rankings and traffic.

2. I think that Google may give less trust to websites that have a history of major changes. I also think that Google may give less trust to sites that have large numbers of redirects, deleted pages, no-indexed pages, and/or nofollow outlinks.

phranque




msg:4432806
 12:28 am on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google may give less trust to sites that have large numbers of ... nofollow outlinks.

like wikipedia...

ken_b




msg:4432808
 12:34 am on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

...it's becoming a chore to go through the lengthy list of outbound links to find dead links, redirected pages, sold sites where the new owner likes pron etc.

You're still going to need to do that, whether the links are no-follow or do-follow.

Not patrolling your outbound links leaves you in danger of becoming a "Bad Neighborhood" in Googles view, and maybe more so in the view of your visitors.
.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4433028
 4:28 pm on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

You're still going to need to do that, whether the links are no-follow or do-follow.


True but I can automate the search for broken links and such. What I can't do is manually check them all daily, or even know what Google's take is on the content I link to. How am I supposed to know if one site I link to decides to start buying links in the worst places? Better safe than sorry, no?

backdraft7




msg:4433968
 4:09 pm on Mar 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

From the horses mouth - "Google will not penalize sites for no follow links". Watch Matt's video : [linkbuildr.com...] - that's their policy today....tomorrow is another question.

tedster




msg:4433979
 4:42 pm on Mar 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

"No penalty" doesn't mean no effect on rankings, however. That's one reason why I dislike the common practice of calling every ranking drop a penalty - it just muddies the water. Google spokespeople are very precise in their use of the word "penalty".

If you add nofollow to every outbound link (and definitely I'd make that short list of exceptions for obvious quality sites) the most likely outcome would be no change, I think. If you have accumulated a LOT of bad neighborhood links over the years, you might see a small improvement.

I don't see a lot of risk here - but of course, every situation is different. 8,000 links at once is quite a change, no matter how subtle Google's use of outbound links may be as a ranking signal.

CainIV




msg:4434262
 4:50 am on Mar 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I would never make a change that radical although I do not have direct experience with needing to do this.

Since Google is blocking the ability to pass rank to some sites it stands to reason that they also ignore nofollow when they trust a site.


Not sure I concur with this statement as well.

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