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Do nofollow links help in improving organic search ranking?

     
5:56 am on Nov 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I know nofollow links dont pass page rank but do they help or not for improving the organic search rankings?
2:12 pm on Nov 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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dofollow is of course better than nofollow. that does not mean nofollow is terrible or worthless.

nofollow links from quality websites do have value. we can debate how much value it has. it is easy to see that there is some value simply by measuring the boost you get after gaining a nofollow link from a high quality relevant website.

i dont think any webmaster would refuse a link from wikipedia's homepage just because it had a nofollow tag.
6:50 pm on Nov 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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From my own tests and the horribly nerdy amount of backlink analysis I have to do, they definitely help with rankings. The obvious applies to quality commenting on blogs within your niche. Being social and positive is good for branding, the link and making friends to network with online.
9:23 pm on Nov 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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thank you both for your reply.
9:29 pm on Nov 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Here's what I would do if I were Google: has the site proven to be a quality site without a doubt? Then nofollow links has some worth. Is the site somewhat dubious and spammy? Then discount all nofollow links.
10:08 pm on Nov 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Somewhat related...

In the googlewebmaster videos on you tube, someone asked Matt Cutts if Brand names are taking on a more important role in ranking.

He said that they don't think about pages / sites in terms of branding, but think in terms of authority.

He didn't go on to clarify how authority is defined, but he did seem to imply that an authority site displayed "expertise," whatever that means.

So I don't know if nofollow links help a site to display expertise or not. But if linkbuilder says they do, I would be inclined to agree.
3:11 am on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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nofollow does play a role in ranking. Just like a link on a pr0 or a pr N/A page helps.
5:20 am on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Here's what I would do if I were Google: has the site proven to be a quality site without a doubt? Then nofollow links has some worth. Is the site somewhat dubious and spammy? Then discount all nofollow links.


In a recent video on nofollow links, Matt Cutts appeared to be taking the "other way" out, basically saying that, "If wikipedia decided to remove the nofollow tag from some of the outbound links that it trusts, we would support that."

I think that enigmatic statement is basically just a plea to wikipedia to "throw google a bone" by making followable links to some sites that wikipedia determines to be trustworthy.
9:06 pm on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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In a recent video on nofollow links, Matt Cutts appeared to be taking the "other way" out, basically saying that, "If wikipedia decided to remove the nofollow tag from some of the outbound links that it trusts, we would support that."



I don't understand what Matt Cutts was implying with this statement. Does anyone have a link to the video?
10:14 pm on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi there, Aristotle:

[youtube.com...]

It is toward the very end of the video. And actually, he says:

"We don't use those (no-follow) links from Wikipedia currently but if Wikipedia wanted to put a more nuance (sic) policy in place, I would definitely support that."

And it is funny the way he says it... just like he was kind of losing his train of thought.

My interpretation was that what he really was saying, is:

"Gee, I wish wikipedia would make some of their external links followable so that it would be easier for us at google to use wikipedia for calculating page rank."

I am assuming that since wikiepdia is supposed to be hand edited, they would want wikipedia to do all the hard work of sussing out a good reference, and if it was a good source, then making the link to that page followable.

That would be doing most of the heavy lifting for google, I guess.
10:44 pm on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Planet13. Actually that might not be the right video since I just watched it and didn't hear Matt Cutts say anything about nofollow links.

But from your quote of what he said, I think he's just acknowledging that that Google's use of links a a major ranking factor has become a big problem for them. It might have worked well ten years ago, but now its usefulness has been complicated by link buying, link spamming, link "development", and the inconsistent use of the nofollow tag. For example, in Google's algorithm a dofollow link from an obscure free directory supposedly counts for more than a nofollow link from the New York Times of Harvard University.

Link selling ... Link buying ... Link spamming ... Link development ... Nofollow tags ---- I think all of these are different aspects of what has become a big conundrum.
5:33 am on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Sorry if the link is incorrect. It is probably this one instead:

[youtube.com...]

The name of the video is Two questions about nofollow and it was posted on March 04, 2009

The quote above starts at about 2:30 in to the video.

For example, in Google's algorithm a dofollow link from an obscure free directory supposedly counts for more than a nofollow link from the New York Times of Harvard University.


I would defer to tedster or some of the better informed people here about this. I am pretty sure that they believe there is some "authority" given to a site if the URL were to appear in The New York Times - even if it isn't a link, but just the URL written out.

So I am guessing that it wouldn't be Page Rank that is passed, but some form of "authority."
5:50 am on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I hesitate to say anything definite here, because it is a topic I'm still researching. However, there are very suggestive but anecdotal examples of pages that begin to rank well after social media "nofollow" links gain some volume.

Also there have long been observations that unlinked "mentions" of a website seem to carry some kind of weight toward ranking. These are, however, not easy factors to isolate and test, because genuine interest also begins to generate followed links rather quickly.
9:06 am on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I personally think that nofollow links also have some impact (not exactly as dofollow have) and they might help in ranking maybe purely because of authority they generate with many positive instances.
6:03 am on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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"unlinked "mentions" of a website seem to carry some kind of weight"

They carry considerable weight in my opinion.
 

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