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NOFOLLOW attribute, linking disaster?

I bet some people are cloaking this attribute already

     
10:50 pm on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm as happy as the next guy to see blog comment link spam and forum link spam die. But I think the NOFOLLOW attribute for links is going to create a mess.

I'm betting that there are already people that show GoogleBot the NOFOLLOW attribute on outgoing links, but show prospective link partners a nice static link.

I'm more reluctant than ever to exchange links. For now I'll just link to sites that I'd link to anyways, and give them full credit for having great content.

I think things are getting to the point of complexity that not even the brainiacs at Google can handle. We'll shall see.

7:26 pm on Feb 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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BTW, is there anyway to "look like GoogleBot" so you can see if someone is cloaking their pages?
7:32 pm on Feb 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I know what I'm NOT going to do, I'm not going to put up any 'nofollow' type links.

Imagine you are some sort of Google algorithm, trying to weed out spammy overoptimized pages.

You see a page with other questionable signs, and the links are rel="nofollow" too.
The page is not part of a blog or forum. Why the nofollows?

Doesn't that sound like a potential red flag?
I'm not about to put up possible red flags. -Larry

8:10 pm on Feb 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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rel=nofollow doesn't give the cloaker any trick that they could not do some other way.

If you want to check what they are up to, just check their cached page.

8:34 pm on Feb 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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My worry about rel=nofollow is that it might hurt your own ranking. Since the Allegra fiasco, outbound links seem especially important. Would rel=nofollow mean you lose the credit from those outbound links? Who knows - but there has already been speculation that the Wikipedia might have lost out bigtime by implementing it.
9:12 pm on Feb 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Why worry?

I use it on user included links in forums and such, for affiliate redirect links that Google wouldn't rank anyhow. But these are mixed up with lots of real links in all directions.

12:56 am on Feb 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Androidtech Like BigDave said you can try google's cache to see what g-bot saw or you can try something like wannabrowser.
3:27 am on Feb 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Maybe this is not related for the post but I must ask something. I found this code in my competitors site. He is now in top 10 for my keyword and I never seen him before there.

<meta http-equiv="pragma" content="no-cache">
<meta name="author" content="domain.com">
<meta name="Identifier-URL" content="http://www.domain.com/default.asp">
<meta name="language" content="English">
<meta name="charset" content="ISO-8859-1">
<meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="TRUE">
<meta name="distribution" content="Global">
<meta name="rating" content="General">
<meta name="expires" content="Never">

<meta name="robots" content="all">
<meta name="robots" content="Index, Follow">
<meta name="GOOGLEBOT" content="INDEX, FOLLOW">
<meta name="revisit-after" content="7 Days">

What means this?

3:42 am on Feb 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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androidtech:

Get Firefox
Get UserAgent Switcher extension
add this useragent string: Googlebot/2.1 (+http://www.googlebot.com/bot.html)

Browse the websites you want to check out. Unless they are doing advanced IP based cloaking this will show you what you need to know.

4:10 am on Feb 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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What means this?

It means he's got too many meta tags. As far as his ranking, it has nothing to do with it. Let's go into it though.

<meta http-equiv="pragma" content="no-cache">
Tells the browser to always reload the page. Not all browsers follow this advice so it's kind of pointless.

<meta name="author" content="domain.com">
Thats supposed to signify the page's author.

<meta name="Identifier-URL" content="http://www.domain.com/default.asp">
It's an Apple thing

<meta name="language" content="English">
Tells the browser/bot what language the page is in.

<meta name="charset" content="ISO-8859-1">
Character set used by most western languages.

<meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="TRUE">
Abandoned ms junk.

<meta name="distribution" content="Global">
This automagically sends your page everywhere globally.;)

<meta name="rating" content="General">
And it goes to folks of all ages globally too.

<meta name="expires" content="Never">
And once everyone gets it, they can never get rid of it.

<meta name="robots" content="all">
Does nothing.

<meta name="robots" content="Index, Follow">
And does it again.

<meta name="GOOGLEBOT" content="INDEX, FOLLOW">
And again. The three above tags all tell the bots to perform the default operation.

<meta name="revisit-after" content="7 Days">
Tells the bots when to come back. Do you think they listen?

None of these tags are necessary, and several are rather obsolete. They are definitely not the reason the site is ranking well. Looking at them, though, makes me think the site is performing well due to it's age.

8:38 am on Feb 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It's interesting Powdork.
Thanks!
11:40 am on Feb 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Nice post there I always wondered on a couple of those.
1:10 am on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Powdork made many valid points

However the robots instructions should stay Google will use them in absense of a robots text file on your server.

Since some servers will not allow websites to use robots.txt files it is in some instances still important to give the bots instructions per page.

Also while most engines find parts of metas obsolete some do not..Yahoo for example now uses keyword meta to match against page content.

Whether the search engine is one of the top three sending 90% of the traffic or one of the engines in the lower 10% sending traffic to your site...if you get one paying customer from the lesser engine that happens to like your overextended metas, then there is ROI on the meta tag investment.

These are my thoughts and should not be construed as gospel, fact (something others are allowed to toss around here but not all are given this privelage), or the basis for attaining front page results.

Clint