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Nofollow ruined the web

     
4:41 am on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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A while ago I threw up a unique site in one of the three P's. Never did anything with it, figured one day I'd find something to do with it. And would you believe it, this month I actually got an unsolicited, organic link to the site. Someone found the site and posted a link as reference. The very definition of link citation.

Of course since the link was posted on a forum it's nofollowed. Unfreakin' believable. Nofollow has screwed the link graph even for regular citation type links.
5:19 am on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Very hard to just get regular links these days with social media monopolizing all the action. For every real, unsolicited link, I get maybe 5 nofollows from social sites (facebook, forums, wikipedia, blogs, etc), and maybe 10 complete copies of the article without attributions (blogger, yahoo answers, articles site, etc), either by unaware people or those looking to make easy money. nofollow used to be for UGC such as blog comments, now it's put everywhere, "just in case" or just trying to hoard PR. I think it should be abandoned, it lost its original purpose, for sure. You know what, webmasters should be responsible for links posted on their sites.
8:06 am on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yes, perhaps the passing of link juice should not be the webmaster's decision.
8:24 am on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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yes i agree, it's obsurd.

i just try and do my thing and will link out myself and i haven't got a single no follow on any of my sites (including a forum, although it is heavily moderated and links i don't like are deleted)

... i've also noticed a similar trait - less and less old fashioned link pages, i don't mean those SEo style directories that some sites have, i just mean old fashioned links pages where people link out to a few friends and sites they like.
8:26 am on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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OT

i still remain convinced that overuse of nofollow could have you marked as a black hat by SE's either now or in the future.

as ever a little knowledge can sometimes be worse than no knowledge at all.
9:18 am on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I don't use no follow on my websites either.
1:23 pm on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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ditto..I like a place or I don't
4:56 pm on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Nofollow has screwed the link graph even for regular citation type links

Nofollow keeps you out of googles, or excuse me, the Borgs radar.

Some sites like to do that.
5:01 pm on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Nofollow tells google it's not a paid link.

We all still depend on google, right? Nofollow is a way of not passing juice, but it's also a way of telling them nobody paid for this thing.

Get accused of buying links and they can hammer you bad.
5:19 pm on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Nofollow didn't ruin anything.

Webmasters that used it in a manner that it might not have been intended for might have contributed to some of today's problems with the web.

The engineers at Google who release tools that are not all that well thought out might have contributed to those problems as well.

.
6:03 pm on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Nofollow is a way of not passing juice, but it's also a way of telling them nobody paid for this thing.

I think you've got that backwards.
6:13 pm on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I don't do nofollow. If I like a site, I'll link to it. If I don't, it doesn't get a link. In the case of my forums, I don't bother with the nofollow because again, if I don't like a link a member posts, it gets edited so it's not clickable.
7:13 pm on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What a good topic. I don't use no-follow either.

I get the impression no-follow didn't end up being used quite as intended. If I've spotted that then the folk at the Googleplex will have noticed it as well. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they credited wheel's citation with the link juice it deserved despite the no-follow.

Anyone no-followed a secret link to a secret page recently? I know we're not supposed to have secret links any more but they make awfully good testing.
7:53 pm on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I wouldn't be at all surprised if they credited wheel's citation with the link juice it deserved despite the no-follow.

I'm not a believer. They've publicly stated that nofollow is a completely wipe, no citation gets passed. If it did, and someone tested and found out, it would blow their credibility completely.

The highlight of the problem is that I've only ever recieved about 3, maybe 4 unsolicited, decent links that could be viewed as citations (and that's 3-4 more than any of my competitors have ever received). And here even those are nofollowed.
8:55 pm on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@wheel

I think you've got that backwards.


Well educate me then. I'm perfectly willing to learn.

Saying I've got something backwards without an explanation as to why tells me nothing.
8:59 pm on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@wheel

They've publicly stated that nofollow is a completely wipe


Have they? Cite a page I can look at. Reference your source brother.

I may have missed something. If so I need to know.
12:28 am on Mar 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm not a Google monkey. It's out there if you look. Matt Cutts has stated it as clearly as he's stated anything - nofollow links are dropped from consideration.

but it's also a way of telling them nobody paid for this thing

The part you've got backwards is that you use nofollow to tell them somebody DID pay for the link. That's the opposite of what the quote says. If you pay, nofollow. If you don't pay, do-follow. The link I mentioned in my original post was not paid, was sourced as a reference and by all accounts should have been do-followed. But it wasn't, it had a no-follow on it. I got no credit for being an authority or a resource. But maybe I misunderstood what you said.
1:41 am on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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About rel="nofollow" - Webmaster Tools Help:
http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=96569 [google.com]
7:20 am on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Appreciate the clarification...
1:01 pm on Mar 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Practically, if I pay someone for a link, I'd require it NOT nofollowed. Free links are nofollow, paid links are not. Opposite of what was intended actually.
7:22 pm on Mar 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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if I pay someone for a link, I'd require it NOT nofollowed. Free links are nofollow, paid links are not.


I agree. Don't know anyone who'd pay for a link and be happy with that link having a nofollow.

On the same token and keeping within the OP topic, it seems strange a site would give a citation but add a nofollow. Though without knowing which site it's hard to say why. Especially since sites these days use WP, Joomla and other packages which enable webmasters to use plugins to appendage nofollow to out going links - as it came from a forum my guess this is the most likely reason for the nofollow add.

I suppose if you want to be angry at anyone Wheel vent it at link spammers ;-)


Nofollow has screwed the link graph even for regular citation type links.


Google's agenda has finally come to fruition!
8:00 pm on Mar 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I agree. Don't know anyone who'd pay for a link and be happy with that link having a nofollow.


Of course, but it's against Google's guidelines. To them, paid links are fine for traffic referral, but not for manipulating your Pagerank. So officially, paid links should be nofollow, and natural links should be dofollow.
8:18 pm on Mar 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Practically, if I pay someone for a link, I'd require it NOT nofollowed. Free links are nofollow, paid links are not. Opposite of what was intended actually.


Thank you.

Nofollow keeps you out of google's radar. Nofollow doesn't pass juice. It's a way of staying in the fog.

It may have been devalued. I hadn't heard that.

I've bought links before and I've sold links before. And I'm selling links right now. Nofollow is usually specified in the terms. It's a no go. You don't nofollow a link somebody bought from you and you will definitely not nofollow a link I've bought from you.

I'll have to look into this a bit more....
8:23 pm on Mar 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@koan

Of course, but it's against Google's guidelines


Well so what? They're against my guidelines as well.

If they want to fire me, that'll be pretty low on my priority list.

I'm firing them.
9:51 pm on Mar 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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From that Google link above:
How does Google handle nofollowed links?

In general, we don't follow them. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web.


"In general" and "Essentially" are the weasel words here. IMO they leave the door open to other questions:

1. Do nofollow links get scored as text citations when the anchor text is the domain name or business name? For example, Twitter links are nofollow, but they certainly seem to have some effect. Nofollow? Googlebot seems to come running to crawl soon after a Tweet with a link.

2. Some Google patents talk about one factor for scoring pages based on the quality of site whose ads they serve. This wouldn't improve the link's target page, but it could mean if you serve nofollow ads to low-quality sites there's a potential "ding."

The big problem came from introducing nofollow as a link condom for untrusted UGC links, but then extending it to advertising links - which certainly ARE trusted by the site in most situations.
11:58 pm on Mar 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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it seems strange a site would give a citation but add a nofollow.

It was a reference post in a forum post. Most URL drops in a forum these days are nofollowed. It was nofollowed automatically. The forum post was I think pointing out the material on my website as being of interest to other members ofthe forum, for a specific topic. i.e. it was a citation.

I've noted elsewhere in my industry I've received like 3 unsolicited backlinks in the many years I've been doing this. I throw up a sampler site in an unrelated industry that's even rougher than mine, and I actually get an unsolicited link.....that's then nofollowed.

Ironic.
12:09 am on Mar 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

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weasel words

LOL... that's a phrase I could even see myself using.

Nice post. That clears up some stuff tedster.
9:34 pm on Mar 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I have a page with high toolbar PR, few internal links, and no external links other than from Wikipedia.

Either toolbar PR is even more of a lie than I thought, or the no-followed Wikipedia link is passing something.

I hope its the latter. I have multiple Wikipedia links (not one added by me, btw).