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- If millions of nofollow links from Wikipedia, TripAdvisor, and other megasites or corporate sites aren't affecting the link graph, then why does Google worry so much about paid links (which presumably would be easy to detect and neutralize if used on a scale that was big enough to influence the link graph)?
...why Google can't simply "ignore" links it suspects were bought or bargained for?
...we have probably 1,500 or more links from this site and its international subsidiaries that aren't giving us a drop of PageRank
The question of nofollow links brings up a lot of side issues... and I don't think that nofollowed links are simply being followed and they're not telling us. It's possible though, that, in the proper form and context, which would need to go just beyond keyword anchor text, nofollow citations might also be a factor in this kind of hypothetical social algorithm.
There have been discussions on WebmasterWorld about how effective social traffic is. Whether or not there is a direct algorithmic factor, social buzz, at the least, leads to traffic which might lead to long lasting links which can carry weight or trust.
The above said, I was not happy with nofollow when it was introduced (by the three major engines), as I felt it was dangerous to mess with the ecology of the web. Given the blog comment spam situation, though, it's likely that the engines had no choice. I'm sympathetic to those not getting link credits for editorial links.
Is it possible that we're getting any other benefits (other than direct referrals) from those links?
Sure... those links are still passing juice on other search engines...
@atlrus exactly, all it [creating nofollow protocol] does is intensify the reward for a successful black hat link scheme