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>>>- The "nofollow" attribute was created to prevent "linkspam" in blogs, Wikis, forums, and other anyone-can-post venues. Matt Cutts has suggested that it might also be useful as a way to handle paid links that exist to drive traffic and not to manipulate PageRank. (He and his coleagues have suggested other methods as well; take your pick.)<<<
If we acdept this statement, the we must conclude that no follow was not intended to deal with people choosing to monetize their websites.
Google has a problem with their algo. It is in large part due to their dominance as a search engine. They can solve their own problem without infringinn on the right of others to make money.
I will grant that it is an intersting approach to get site owners snitching each other off when it is Google's problem. We have no obligation to assist Google in their search to maintain dominance, especially if it infringes on our ability to monetize our sites.
If Google can sell adspace, then I can damn well sell ad space. Further, I can do so according to my own policies and guidelines, not those imposed by Google.
And, if Google attempts to control my internal policies and guidelines by using their market dominance to impose what are ultimately fianancial penalties against me, well then I guess we need to start discussing unfair trade practices.
[edited by: tedster at 5:50 pm (utc) on April 20, 2007]
"Then maybe you'll understand why advertising links with "nofollow" won't get you into trouble."
Pray tell exactly what effect does having 57% nofollow links on a page effect Google's ranking of that page? What about 95%?
If you can't answer that question, and you can't, then you are just speculating irresponsibly.
My reply was to a prospective buyer of a link who wanted traffic and branding from the linking site--not to the prospective seller. If you refuse to read carefully, you can't comment responsibly. :-)
So what? Why can't nofollow just be a Swiss-Army jacknife of link attributes? Frankly, I don't see what the big deal is.
It isn't a big deal, unless you recognize the subtext: "Is Google going to penalize me because I've been buying or selling links?"
Exactly. Those are the folks that need to find another business model anyhow. A correction to their page-rank gaming practices is long overdue.
[edited by: Play_Bach at 10:28 pm (utc) on April 23, 2007]
Take your own advice. Your comment is even more irresponsible looking at it the other way. What is the effect on a domain that has 57% of its links pointing at it having nofollow? What about 23%? What about 94%
Your statement was irresponsible nonsense. You have no way of knowing the consequences of having links tagged with nofoloow pointing at you. You often have fine contributions to threads here, but on this you should stop behaving so recklessly when you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.
"A correction to their page-rank gaming practices is long overdue."
Obviously. This however does much to go in the wrong direction.
Google's abysmal handling of link text gaming is a significant part of why their engine stinks, but they need to actually address the issue, not use an inappropriate bandaid that will accomplish more collateral damage than any good.
In other words, can an advertiser or publisher effectively "out" themselves by using nofollow? Does anyone believe this? If that's the case, MC should put on a pointy hat and gather a band of flying monkeys. I don't buy it.
"You have no way of knowing the consequences of having links tagged with nofoloow pointing at you."
Are there potentially algorithmic consequences to this? The problem with this is that individuals who buy links may, in many or most instances, have zero control over how their paid advertising links are configured.
If, for example, you've purchased a large run of newspaper links and overnight they become nofollow, just what are you going to be able to do about it? Nothing, most likely. And if that's the case, sites could be tanked overnight simply because they bought advertising on a site that decided at some point to fully adopt nofollow in their advertising outbounds.
I don't that's the kind of collateral damage that Google intends. It wouldn't be smart and once the reports of such instances got out, it sure wouldn't serve to hasten the further adoption of nofollow.
How could sites even sell advertising in such a scenario--- don't use nofollow and get caught and be stripped of your ability to pass PR, or use nofollow and torpedo the customers who've bought advertising links from you?
That wouldn't make sense
...and it would be truly evil.
Say I have a link pointing to my site from a site 'suspected' of selling links. It could mean;
*I bought a link. or
*I got a 'natural vote...' from a site that sells links. or
*Some competitor is trying to make it look like I bought a link. or
*It was placed by a 3rd party (web2.0). or
Since algo's cant look into bank accts. or read minds, how do they know? The 'penalty' to links buyers is that they might be throwing their money away on a worthless link.
[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 11:57 pm (utc) on April 23, 2007]
"thereís absolutely no problem with selling links for traffic (as opposed to PageRank). At [mattcutts.com...] I mention a couple ways to sell links that Google would have no problem with."
End of story.
[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 12:29 am (utc) on April 24, 2007]
""there's absolutely no problem with selling links for traffic (as opposed to PageRank)."
There's a trust issue for some with regard to google's ultimate intent. And there's a lot of cynicism regarding google's competency in its ability to discern paid links versus unpaid links.
But Google's advocacy of nofollow for paid links may be a recognition of their limitations, i.e. the inability to read minds and know exactly why a link was given. And the successful expansion of the use of nofollow really depends on nofollow having this effect: that it functions simply as a way to link without casting a vote.
Having said that, turning the spam report into the "paid link rat report" seems a bit pathetic. After all, who's going to use it other than webmasters trying to axe their competitors.
thereís absolutely no problem with selling links for traffic (as opposed to PageRank).
How many folks pay $299 a year to be listed in the Yahoo directory for the traffic it generates?
Come on EFV. It is simply not possible, in most cases, to defend the distinction you are trying to make. As soon as you use the words "editorial review" someone (like me :)) is going to point out that knitting sites don't tend to accept paid ads to gambling sites. Even the examples given on the page you refer us to on Matt's blog are counter to the position you are taking here - hidden links to p*rn sites.
To say that paid links (with or without a no follow tag) don't matter, the same page you refer us to states:
Iíve said as much many times before, but I wanted to give a heads-up because Google is going to be looking at paid links more closely in the future.
A statement just pregnant with implications. Will a new site with an imbalance of purchased links (with or without no follow) be subject to algorithmic repurcussions?
We simply don't know, and SteveB has eloquently pointed out that reassurances to the contrary are baseless, and ultimately irresponsible.
The New Yorker's revenue isn't directly and immediately impacted by their editorial decisions
Rekitty, If the New Yorker puts out a really juicy article that alot of people are interested in, more copies of the new yorker are sold and I'm inclined to think that more sales directly impacts revenue. Conversly, if the new yorker puts out a bunch of crap content, sales will fall. So I'm curious to understand your logic behind your quoted statement above.
I'm jumping back in here late, but this is too important to go unanswered. The fact that Google's ranking decisions may be biased based on financial gain is a key issue in this debate.
How might Google's ranking decisions be influenced by financial gain? Simple, some websites have Google's ad products (Adwords, soon DoubleClick) and some don't. If Google sends traffic to websites that have Google ad products they make more money. This is Google's way of monetizing the organic results -- the results they choose editorially. Taken to the extreme, if Google ranks ten adwords sites on the first page they will see an immediate and enormous revenue increase. The bad user experience will hurt them in the long run, but that would be their editorial choice. We've all seen search engines go down this path before.
The New Yorker is very different. The New Yorker does not make money directly off the editorial content they choose (unlike a site Google chooses to rank with Adwords). The best the New Yorker can hope for is a small increase in revenue with any single sell out issue. With their fixed printing run, a sell out issue only means a small immediate revenue increase due to fewer returns from the newsstand. The benefit of a hit New Yorker issue is gaining more advertisers and subscribers which helps longer term but not immediately.
With nofollow Google is asking websites to identify themselves as running a previously undetectable competitive advertising medium to Adwords. We don't know today and we won't know in the future if Google is biasing their rankings to either help their revenue or to hurt their competitors. Google is a black box and we have no idea for sure how they rank sites.
No, I don't have any evidence Google is biasing their rankings for financial gain. Likewise, nobody has any evidence they are not.
Google is a very different company today than they were five years ago. We have no idea what kind of company Google will be in another five years, but it will surely be very, very different. Given the substantial financial motivations involved, I have to assume that even if Google isn't currently biasing their ranking to increase revenue, they may in the future. I hope they don't, but we'll never know for sure.
How does this all relate to paid links? Until Google opens up their black box and tells us why they are ranking sites, webmasters have zero obligation to tell Google why we are linking.
We don't know when a search engine's editorial decisions are biased by financial gain. We have no reason tell them when our editorial decisions are biased by financial gain.
Matt Cutts said: Iíve been pointing out that paid links should be done in such a way that they donít affect search engines for years, so I wouldnít think this post is that surprising to you. The only thing thatís especially new in this post is the info that Google will be turning more attention to paid links in the future.
The bottom line is that Google doesn't like paid links that alter rankings. [ Repeated words ]
Clearly, a combination of FUD , SPAM reporting and new algo improvements will make the job easier for G.
There are 2 go forward options for SEO's and siteowners.
Continue undetected, which is going to be harder with all the risks involved following Matt's initiatives ,
remove all paid link advertising and rely on content and the odd friendly editorial.
I think Matt's statement that seeks to FUD site owners and SEO's is doing it's job well. Simply it has 2 objectives or consequences , improve Google's income through it's advertising and better control results based on predominantly good and authorative content.
To this end, Matt's blog is as effective as the Big Daddy update [ IMO ] , as it will effect the way most SEO's have previously done their work and defines how SEO will be done in the future to comply with G's guidelines, without paid links.
Anyone playing games on the edge is risking a lot of fallout. It's interesting how the art of manipulating results is being turned on the manipulators through some manipulative statements :)
Tedster - paradox indeed.
[edited by: Whitey at 3:36 am (utc) on April 24, 2007]
where did Matt say anything about using nofollow for anything other than blog (forum) posts and paid links?
I know one of his early comments was on the idea that his intention for nofollow was to be used on blogs but he also said it was for any situation where you didn't want to give the site you are linking to a "vote". But this was one of his earlier posts so maybe this has all changed.
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[edited by: tedster at 4:14 pm (utc) on April 25, 2007]