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What do you guys suggest? Will it help if I add a NoFollow to all the links I provide so that the Google bot reads my content with more interest?
You seem to be talking about SEO ideas without (it appears to me anyway) any real SEO knowledge. I think nofollows are the least of your problems, read up on each of the concepts you've just run across in your original post.
Best of luck
Duplicate content isn't a problem at all, unless you're just reprinting the other person's information. In which case providing a link to them isn't what tells G that it's duplicate.
So basically, I do think it has to do something with my linking only.
Why are you guessing? Just read and learn and then act. I would tell you, even without knowing anything else about your site, that your outbound links are not a priority to look into.
Start reading about SEO before guessing what makes SE's tick.
I do understand a fair bit of SEO. Basically, this thread was to discuss the effects of linking with and without NoFollow. I would like to know if linking with a nofollow would have any effect as far as SERPS is concerned..
The thread is not about raising my traffic levels..
At any rate, the only thing likely to harm you in the SERPs is a DO-follow link to a "bad neighborhood" - a site that severely breaks the Google guidelines. And it might take more than one such link to do major damage.
So switching outbound links to nofollow is not likely to improve your ranking, unless you were linking to shady places. Some people in the past have talked about "hoarding PageRank" for their own site by using nofollow lon all outbound links, but the hoped for ranking help from that theory never seemed to materialize.
wondered if it was because I was passing Google juice so Google thinks none of my stories are original
I'm not sure what your thinking is here. The algo is not so simplistic as to say "the page links to another site, so the article isn't original." Google can tell if the same story appears on the other site - they spider that site, too.
There are several threads about detecting duplicate content available in the Hot Topics area [webmasterworld.com], which is pinned to the top of the Google Search forum's index page.