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Allegra & "no follow" Make Wikipedia Disappear from SERPs?

Has anyone else seen this? What are the ramifications?

   
12:41 am on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Just last month, Google, Yahoo, MSN, and others agreed to a new parameter in the linking tag: rel="no follow"

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Many of us were rightly fearful that this could likely become yet another tool for SEs to use against webmasters, rather than help us.

As that thread shows, Wikipedia was one of the first to begin implementing the "no follow" in all external links immediately.

Consequently, after the Allegra update in Google, it appears that the Wikipedia articles have indeed dropped from SERPs.

Our fears appear to have been proven correct, with Google Allegra. Google strikes again.

I have seen it firsthand: a Wikipedia article that used to be 3rd in SERPs (only for the last 6 months) in one particular keyword -- mostly because it linked out to the true authority sites (which Google itself refuses to allow those sites to be seen in the same high SERPs anymore) -- has now disappeared. {NOTE: This particular Wikipedia article did not ever link to the useless sites that Google has absurdly rewarded with high SERPs.) Notwithstanding that a Wikipedia article is probably not the best result to be in top SERPs anyway (even if using the correct authority sites in outbound links), this new finding still does offer possible insights into coping with Allegra and the issue of using "no follow".

Outbound-linking with "no follow" could possibly be self-destructive to SERP position. Or, linking to true authority sites could be necessary for high-SERP position (even if Google refuses to allow those authority sites to be high in SERPs themselves.)

Does anyone else have some other ideas as to what the ramifications of this information might be?

Or, for that matter, has anyone else also seen a Wikipedia article disappear in the SERPs like this, following Wikipedia's implementation of "no follow" and Google's Allegra update?

1:18 am on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



It is possible that the originator of this wiki article simply deleted it.

If I had a wikiu about show dogs and somebody came in with an ad for doggy
viagra, I would whack that addition without a bubble.

Any further fuss might help identify the perp. - Larry

10:57 am on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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No, the wiki article is still there. This is about disappearing in SERPs because of using "no follow" -- not about disapearing in Wikipedia.
11:12 am on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm not really following the logic here and don't see an obvious cause / effect link.

Am I right in understanding that the Algo comprises hundred's of weighted factors? If so, then the fact that we know it has changed means that anyone of those factors could be the result of wiki's new low SERPs - or a combination of all of them.

The rel="nofollow" tag was created to prevent blog spamming and to allow you to 'critique' sites without inferring a positive vote in the eyes of the SE's. You know, a hundred well ranked pages all link to the homepage of a site know for fraudulent trading, say, to warn users, thereby inadvertently promoting that site's position in the SERPs.

Applying it to all links is a nonsense. And, I can't see why any SE would want to penalise its application - especially when they are trying to promote the tags use!

11:25 am on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I fail to understand how the "nofollow" in the outgoing external links of wikipedia can effect the SERP of wikipedia articles? If at all it effects then it should effect the SERP of the pages to which wikipedia was pointing to.
11:44 am on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I understand. But it could be that Allegra may have a now-important weighted factor based on outgoing links. By using all "no follow" on all their outbound links, that could have decimated the Wikipedia's SERP positions.
11:47 am on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Multiman, do you make any posts other than Google bashing ones? :)

Just curious.

11:57 am on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Google bashing or not, I think the question raised is an interesting one.
11:58 am on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I fail to understand how the "nofollow" in the outgoing external links of wikipedia can effect the SERP of wikipedia articles?

It would if google are giving weight, as many suspect they are (and is my experience), to pages that link out to quality resources.

...it should effect the SERP of the pages to which wikipedia was pointing to.

That will also naturally happen, yes.

TJ

12:06 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Giving weights for 'quality outgoing links' to other sites? This looks new to me. This would be very easy to implement strategy for rankings then?
12:09 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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MultiMan

I just did some checking on wikipedia re: any drop in stats since this update and the opposite seems to be true the stats have increased since alegra, so possibly your example was an isolated article

steve

12:14 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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the opposite seems to be true ...possibly your example was an isolated article

Boaz, do you believe it's become a tool for SEs to use against webmasters?

methinks tj's points are valid and make sense.

12:21 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Look if wiki is applying this to all outgoing links in a blanket fashion then they are not using it as intended. And, yes it could hurt their serps from failure to link to authority pages. But, saying "we can't trust any of the outbound links added by editors" is a fair poor reflection on what you believe to be the quality of your own content, isn't it?
12:28 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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steve40,

My question is not about Wikipedia's user stats.

Specifically, in this regard, what I asked is:

Or, for that matter, has anyone else also seen a Wikipedia article disappear in the SERPs like this, following Wikipedia's implementation of "no follow" and Google's Allegra update?
12:32 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Macro, of course I do. :)

And I don't "bash" G$, I bring out the truths and reality in the presence of their lies and propaganda -- trying to guide G$ back to the SE it once was: quality and legitimate. When G$ does well again and corrects its "do only evil" methods, I will be among the first to point out that too. Now, back to the topic.... :)

12:41 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Multiman, do you agree that the algo takes outbound links into consideration? And that it could - on it's own - cause all manner of changes to positions of wikipedia pages?
12:57 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I sure don't agree with that. I have always ruled the Google SERPS (until 2/2/5) with NO outgoing links. NONE. Whatever change happened on the second was not confined to outgoing links only.
1:04 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The wiki internal pages in my area are still ranking well after Allegra.

Re why they do, I always presumed it was the sheer amount of internal anchor text links that made pages rank well for specific searches and subjects.
Surely this is a greater factor than outgoing links?
Following the same theory as a search for 'home'

1:19 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



"Boaz, do you believe it's become a tool for SEs to use against webmasters?" - hehe not at all, I was referring to whether adding the "nofollow" had affected Wikipedia rankings.
I also think TJ's points make sense.
1:27 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I think the title of this thread is a bit misleading.

JO. "all manner of changes" can include changes from "0" to seismic :)

[edited by: Macro at 1:28 pm (utc) on Feb. 14, 2005]

1:28 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Suggy - " Look if wiki is applying this to all outgoing links in a blanket fashion then they are not using it as intended.... But saying "we can't trust any of the outbound links added by editors" is a fair poor reflection on what you believe to be the quality of your own content, isn't it"

Actually, I'd think that is exactly the point (?) - Wikipedia doesn't trust links added by editors (who could be anyone after all, right?), and so to make double sure that outbound links are added for the right reasons, has added a nofollow to all outbound links. Makes sense to me.

1:37 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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JO - "I have always ruled the Google SERPS (until 2/2/5) with NO outgoing links. NONE" - that doesn't mean that outgoing links couldn't be a factor (one out of many) that could, using it correctly, help in some SERPs.
1:50 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Boaz

Wiki: "Don't follow these links, they could be junk"

Googlebot" :OK, I won't follow these links, they could be junk"

Google Algo: "Why didn't you follow ALL these links Googlebot?"

Googlebot: "'Cos the content owner says they could be junk."

Google Algo: "Oh, so we can't be sure that this page links on to anything very important then."

Googlebot:" Nope."

Google Algo: "Ok. Outbound Connectivity = 0 /10 then. What about inbounds.....?"

Yes, I've lost it!

Suggy

2:03 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Giving weights for 'quality outgoing links' to other sites? This looks new to me.

It's always difficult to ascertain of course, exactly what factors are present in the algo at any given moment. But my experience is Google have been factoring in outbound links since at least 2003, and GoogleGuy was commenting on these in 2002.

Consider this for example (two and a half years old now, so take it with a pinch of salt):-

It's pretty easy to spot domains that are hoarding PageRank; that can be just another factor in scoring. If you work really hard to boost your authority-like score while trying to minimize your hub-like score, that sets your site apart from most domains. Just something to bear in mind..

[webmasterworld.com...]

Msg # 19

Read between the lines.

And GoogleGuy has been talking about "hub-like" and "authority" scores for several years now.

It certainly seems to me highly likely that a "hub" score has been in effect for a long time (remember all those directories that ruled the SERPS post Florida?). It has also been my experience that there is a direct correlation between linking out to high quality resources and SERPS positioning.

Over the last 12 months you'll see many threads here discussing the fact that a page that is linking to an original page is outranking the original page itself in Google.

Consider in that light what appears to have just happened to some otherwise authoritative Wiki pages that have just implemented "no-follow".

TJ

2:10 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Right. I have not suggested that Allegra has made outbound-links the entire issue for SERP positioning now. All I have done is observe a consequential result, asked if others have seen the same, and then offered such observation as an opportunity to explore and discuss as being another possible factor in how Allegra is operating and the consequences of using "no follow".
2:24 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Something here is not logical. The Hilltop algo assigns authority status to pages based on their outbound links. BUT: If a page is an authority, that by itself doesn't mean that it ranks well. Instead, the pages it links to rank well, which most likely causes the authority page to be displaced downwards in the serps.

If the Wikipedia page uses rel="nofollow" to for some or all of it's outbound links, that would decrease the page's authority and increase it's score.

I doubt that MultiMan's Wikipedia page can be seen as an example of a greater scheme. As mentioned before by steve40, the Wikipedia traffic has gone up and the most likely cause for increased traffic is an overall increase in serps rankings.

Furthermore, I regard nofollow as a tool to be used by webmasters and not one to be used against them. Although being slightly non-standard, it gives webmasters control over the relevance of a link. That's it.

2:27 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



wikipedia is implementing nofollow = fact
wikipedia has disappeared from SERPs = fiction
wikipedia has dropped because of using nofollow = wild speculation
(and probably fiction as some pages are doing very well).

All I have done is observe a consequential result

Huh?
2:40 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



wikipedia has disappeared from SERPs = fiction

Oh dear. Serves me right for not checking I guess.

TJ

2:42 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



wikipedia is implementing nofollow = fact

wikipedia has disappeared* from SERPs in a specific keyword I observed = fact

wikipedia has dropped because of using nofollow = reasonably hypothesized as possible

research-request (to test hypothesis) asked of others for specific data of specific wiki article examples with same results = fact

Confirmations of additional data = still waiting

Researching the hypothesis = continuing

* - "disappear" in this case means dropped into lower SERPs from previous top-placements

2:51 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hmmm... must admit I haven't checked either before posting.
One thing I do see though - doing a site:www.wikipedia.org in Google brings up lots (and I do mean lots) of pages with no title and description. No idea though what the situation was previously.

<added>And I don't think the "no title no description" has anything to do with the nofollow, as while the nofollow has been implemented in all wikipedia.org sites, I see this phenomenon just in the www.wikipedia.org</added>

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