lfgoal - 9:00 pm on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)
So when a webmaster says, NoFollow Links pass pagerank and Matt says no, this isn't necessarily the end of the story
Unlinked citations as citations...
It used to be that a link was the highest form of referencing. I guess the idea was that if you actually went to the trouble of linking to a webpage, it was relevant, at least to the linkgiver. Better yet would be a link that appeared on a page that was intended to be somewhat permanent or attempted to be authoritative (such as a list of government resources).
However, the social thing seems to loom larger every month. At times, I've wondered how many new special interest websites and blogs are not being created because people are expressing their interests and targeting information through things like facebook, twitter, forums, yadda yaddy. And how many times do discussions take place that reference a particular website without a link reference being made. If a website is important enough to discuss and this action occurs repeatedly over time, you would think that the discussion itself lends relevance, with or without a link reference. The question would be, how important? It might be the difference between living together and getting a marriage document. Same circumstances, but that extra action of getting the paperwork should confer added significance. So, in that sense, an "honest" link should trump mere conversation.
Having said that, perhaps a LOT of conversation can provide an edge, or even trump a relatively flimsy backlink profile.
If so, I'm not sure I like where this is going. I think the social aspect is not how things should rank, even partly. However, the engines strive to give relevant results. Relevance may not always correlate with correct, or even slightly accurate information. And relevance can be gleaned from low brow jibber jabber.