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Letting people know to change NoFollow to Follow

     
8:06 pm on Mar 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I notice people using design elements we offer on our site which are free and posting about it. But they using a Nofollow. Its not a paid link and there is nothing bartered to get it. I think it is unfair and not right. I will be emailing all these webmasters and demanding they change the link to follow or remove the post.
8:43 pm on Mar 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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posting about it.

Do you mean that they're posting about it on forums and discussion boards?

Most forums and discussion boards have setups that automatically add nofollow tags to all outgoing links that users post
9:21 pm on Mar 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There's a pretty er, infamous "how to" site that regularly takes content from another website, has a person do a minimal rewrite of the content, then posts a nofollow link to the original source in a "RESOURCES" section.

Sort of a testament to how much fear the search engines have drilled into webmasters. "I can't vouch for this link even though it's the content that I just stole and did a thin rewrite of." Sometimes you just have to laugh.
9:40 pm on Mar 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I think it is unfair and not right.

I'm confused- you'd rather have people NOT post about your site (free advertising) and provide a link to your site (so that other people can easily come to your site)?

I will be emailing all these webmasters and demanding they change the link to follow or remove the post.

I can see several people changing their nice posts about your site to something like "I am no longer saying anything nice about this site/product because the owner tried to dictate how *I* link to other sites."
9:45 pm on Mar 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Its not a paid link and there is nothing bartered to get it.


An exchange of a followed link for the use of a design element sounds like barter to me (and probably to Google).

Also, I think you'll find that "demanding" followed links from other site owners isn't very productive.
9:57 pm on Mar 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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An exchange of a followed link for the use of a design element sounds like barter to me


That's a little over the top.

While I agree that trying to force people to remove the nofollow isn't productive, I do think it's reasonable to be a little miffed when someone creates an article specifically about your [site|widget|whatever], then nofollows the link. That kind of thing doesn't match the spirit or intent of the nofollow attribute.

Perhaps a polite email asking "hey, thanks for mentioning our widget, but I'm curious...why the nofollow tag"? That's not bartering, just asking a fair question.
10:07 pm on Mar 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I do think it's reasonable to be a little miffed when someone creates an article specifically about your [site|widget|whatever], then nofollows the link.

Probably not as miffed as the person who does a lot of those types of articles and then gets a nastygram (or penalty) from Google about "paid" links. So to please the Goog, he nofollows any links that could even remotely be considered "paid" links. Then he gets a demand letter from one of the sites he linked to demanding to change it to a follow link.
10:13 pm on Mar 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I do think it's reasonable to be a little miffed when someone creates an article specifically about your [site|widget|whatever], then nofollows the link.


Sure, but the OP referred to people using the design elements that he offers, not merely reviewing or writing about them. And his expectation of a followed link makes it pretty clear that he wants PageRank, not just credit lines or referrals, in exchange for the design elements.

If he genuinely believes that trading design elements for PageRank isn't barter, then he should be upfront and require followed links as a condition of using the design elements.
10:20 pm on Mar 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Probably not as miffed as the person who does a lot of those types of articles and then gets a nastygram (or penalty) from Google about "paid" links.


Meh. That's just silly. If you're so scared of Google that you're nofollowing links to sites that you've never had contact with, it's time to quit your job. Why? Because you're now building your site for search engines, and not end users.
10:23 pm on Mar 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Because you're now building your site for search engines, and not end users.

Most users don't care (or even know) if a link is follow/nofollow.
10:40 pm on Mar 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Most users don't care (or even know) if a link is follow/nofollow.

I'm pretty sure that's the point I was making. If you're spending time and energy on no following links in content you're writing...
11:06 pm on Mar 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Most users don't care (or even know) if a link is follow/nofollow.


Exactly. If the purpose of the link is to serve as a citation (or to provide referrals, as opposed to transferring PageRank), then whether the link is follow/nofollow shouldn't matter to the OP.
11:15 pm on Mar 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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No different from doing other SEO work. You don't do SEO for users- you do it for Google. It's part of the package.

I'm not talking about making an article just for SEO- I'm talking about taking an article and applying SEO to it. The article is for the users; the SEO is for Google.

Similarly, the link is for users, but the nofollow is for Google.

It doesn't matter if you know it's not a paid link. If Google decides it's a paid link and penalizes you for it... Yes, you can quit your job. Or you can err on the side of caution.

I'm not saying I like it or even agree with it. I accept it for what it is and work accordingly. And I factor that in whenever I receive a "demand" to make a link follow or nofollow.
11:53 pm on Mar 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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And I factor that in whenever I receive a "demand" to make a link follow or nofollow


Ahh. I see. Everyone is focused on the OP's followup reply where he let out a little steam.

I'm still back on the original thought:

I notice people using design elements we offer on our site which are free and posting about it. But they using a Nofollow


So it's people "posting about it"...people writing posts about his product. Not a license that requires a backlink to use it. Basically, he's dismayed that people write an article about it, with a link in the article..but nofollow the link.

Then, he got a little huffy about sending demand letters. That's really secondary to me. A little venting. The FUD campaign that has everyone so scared that they are no-following links that are clearly editorial and unsolicited, that's the crap that really bothers me.

And, yeah, I get that there's not much you can do about it. It's a shame though, that valuable time gets wasted on fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
1:16 am on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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the OP's followup reply

i missed that...
1:25 am on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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An exchange of a followed link for the use of a design element sounds like barter to me (and probably to Google).


It didn't sound like barter to me until he started talking about demanding that people freely giving links remove the nofollow. That's when it turned into barter.

But it doesn't matter what I think and it doesn't matter what you think. I'm sure all those developers that got dinged by Google for footer links in free WordPress themes didn't think it was barter either. Nor did their users. But that's how it turned out.

If you can live without Google organic traffic, more power to you. If you need it to put food on the table, leave the links as they are - nofollow. Better safe than sorry.
1:27 am on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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i missed that...

s/followup reply/last sentence/
4:47 am on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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followup reply

Insert "You keep using that word" reference here. To date, this thread contains only one post from the OP.

But, as aristotle said, it's very likely that there isn't a damn thing anyone on any of the offending sites can do about the followness or otherwise of the links. Granted, if the posts are telling you how to do something with code, there's an element of irony to this inability.
10:32 am on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I agree with others that demanding the links have the nofollow attribute removed is indeed barter. What you should do is state in your site that anyone using your content MUST leave a hyperlink to your site without nofollow. You would then find that a good % of them would not use your designs though, being scared of Google following links and all.

Most people are scared of not using nofollow. Just the other day I was looking at a site from Google (it wasn't within the google.com domain) and the site had a nice sitewide followed link on the footer to Google.com I just can't recall what site was is it unfortunately because it'd be great to hear what you guys though of it. The fact that Google had a followed link right there on the footer of that site is a big hint to me that followed links from footer are just fine, so long as the 2 websites are contextually and topically related. Then you have guys like Wordpress.org who put a followed link on the footer by default on any WP site, although Google very likely ignores this and doesn't pass PR to Wordpress.org

With regards to not using nofollow when taking a design from your site, that's absolutely fine too. But good luck convincing most webmasters after Cutts et al said that widgets should (more like MUST in Google's word) be nofollow as well as infographics.

Lastly it's a good thing to see people in this forum not using the stupid word "dofollow" for a regular (followed) link. One tip for all of you: if you ever see or read of any SEO "guru" who uses the dofollow word to refer to links not using nofollow, run for the hills and automatically disregard his "guru" status (he's just a shill who got the dofollow word for the amateur blackhats who regurgitate the word as Ahrefs and GSA SER use the word dofollow LOL noobs).
11:45 am on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@rish3 yes, the take down demand would be venting and a waste of energy. You picked up on my emotion well. Rather just have the nofollow

@EditiorialGuy I listened to Google, did exactly what they said. Invested in a site creating great content people would link to and or use. But now lots of these people are using nofollow. Asking for a follow link when the link should be a editorial follow is not barter or an exchange of anything. I would just be getting what is due.

People are asking for removal of links these days, so whats wrong with politly trying to get webmasters to change the nofollow, especially if they on decent sites and would have been acceptable to Google's guidline as a follow in the first place..
12:19 pm on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Insert "You keep using that word" reference here. To date, this thread contains only one post from the OP.


Right. The last sentence of his post was quoted in a post further down, and my eyes played a bit of a trick on me. It doesn't change anything material about my opinion that it was venting, and not the main point.
12:38 pm on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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More tired than I can say about this ridiculous fear of following.

4.8.4.7 Link type "nofollow"

The nofollow keyword may be used with a and area elements. This keyword does not create a hyperlink, but annotates any other hyperlinks created by the element (the implied hyperlink, if no other keywords create one).

The nofollow keyword indicates that the link is not endorsed by the original author or publisher of the page, or that the link to the referenced document was included primarily because of a commercial relationship between people affiliated with the two pages.

My emphasis.

Source: [w3.org...]

Okay. So if any link is placed on a page by anyone who isn't:

a) an unendorsed 3rd-party contributor (eg. forum poster); or
b) the site's commercial director, in the process of placing an advert

then, by pretty clear implication, the link is endorsed by the author (or one of the authors) of the page. Because he or she put it there!

And (surely?) the actual act of endorsement trumps any subsequent denial of the same endorsement.

If you say: "I am not saying this sentence"

- are you saying it, or not?
12:49 pm on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That's all great, in principle. But in the Google world, it no longer works like that. It's Google's fault for creating the stupid link economy in the first place and it's also the fault of the people who abused the pants off it, but all that's neither here nor there.

If you're getting traffic from the links anyway, you're not going to get any less traffic from a nofollowed link. If you're not getting traffic from the links, then a followed link is just plain gonna look like manipulation. Google doesn't know from intent. Nor do they care about the W3.

As with nearly everything, it's a question of risk vs reward. There's nothing wrong with asking for a followed link, but in 2015 there are definitely risks involved. If you can deal, like I said, more power to you.
3:07 pm on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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What you should do is state in your site that anyone using your content MUST leave a hyperlink to your site without nofollow.

I suspect that Google would consider that as a paid link.
3:42 pm on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I suspect that Google would consider that as a paid link.


I agree in part if the author was to state it explicitly under the designs that can be grabbed by others. Also, I mentioned that as an alternative to his situation, not a solution.

Having said the above, content syndication as well as content curing use followed links. In a perfect world, anyone who grabs something that is yours to use on his site (or steal, as all those scrapers and spammers do) should be followed and there should be no fear to do so. Although I'm glad many spammers who steal content use nofollow links to point to one's stolen content when they use those spinning scripts and then fire GSA or Scrapebox LOL

I'm not to sure what the OP means with what content is being usd, but if it's anything like an infographic, Google will automatically ignore that link (Google can tell if it's an infographic or not). If you do it once, no harm done. However, base your site around using infographics and you will soon get in troubled waters.

Lastly, Creative Commons licenses are usually implemented (by webmasters using the image/content) with a followed link. I do this all the time to give credit where credit is due.

Followed links are the foundation of the web. Nofollow was initially started to cull all the UGC spam (e.g. Wordpress comments), then it was applied to paid links, then to other stuff that is done on a massive scale. A little design used by a couple of websites getting 50 uv/day? Don't think so. I, as a webmaster, should be able to completely ignore nofollow and even not know what it is, and, like a good webmaster that I'd be (i.e. no spam or selling links), simply link to where I get the content from. This is how it was back in the day, and nothing much has changed in Google's foundation of ranking webpages.

That's my opinion. In fact, all we're talking are opinions. However, it's true that Google is specific with the use of nofollow, and in this case, the OP is making a mistake and is indeed engaging in bartering by is asking people instead of letting the webmaster decide without any communication between the two parties.
6:58 pm on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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not using the stupid word "dofollow"

... or, for that matter, the word "follow", since that's much the same as putting "Allow: /" in robots.txt.

Important to remember, though, that the word "nofollow" doesn't mean google doesn't see the links. Just look at the "who links to you" section of wmt.

:: fast-forward to year 2021, when all links everywhere say "nofollow", resulting in all pages everywhere being fractionally fatter, but the word is ignored as being meaningless (I think it's called the stadium principle) ::
7:28 pm on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Kratos, its a consideration, not a barter.
7:52 pm on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Kratos, its a consideration, not a barter.


Either way, it's unlikely to pass Google's sniff test:

[support.google.com...]
8:12 pm on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yes, Lucy, agreed on that. However, it's important to point out that both Matt Cutts and John Mueller have used the word "followed link" in their videos. This was when talking about nofollow links so as to make the distinction from a regular link. Thus, in this context alone, the use of the word "followed link" or "followed" is appropriate since Googlers have used them themselves (and it's why I have used it in my replies, and even then I don't feel comfortable but I don't want to confuse people by not using it). Any other time is stupid, although using dofollow is even more stupid.

You will see the use of the word "dofollow" in forums full of noobs and scammers like Warrior Forum and BlackHatWorld, where they discuss stuff from 2008 and think of it as vanguard LOL (although there are a couple of guys there who are worthy of reading their advice, but they will never spill the beans and tell you their secrets, as any rational person would expect).

I do wholeheartedly agree on not using "follow" as well as "allow" in other contexts. Fully redundant and usually shows that the person using it has no idea of what he/she's talking about (in the case of "dofollow", the person using it ALWAYS has no idea of what he/she's talking about). I have seen the use of the word dofollow in articles at apparent top-tier SEO news sites (always from contributors, though) and even in Forbes by one of their SEO contributors... sigh... albeit the articles from that contributor (calls himself an SEO expert) in particular were the usual rehashed misinformation that should not be really making it to a publication like Forbes. I cringe at what else do editors at Forbes allow seeing how they allow any schmuck with a made-up SEO title write for them.

I'm not being elitist here for I do not consider myself an expert or guru (and nobody is except the Google engineers), but the SEO industry stinks of snake oil thanks to idiots learning to use some SEO tools (aka "fire spam with context stolen and spun from other legitimate sites" tools) and calling themselves SEO experts and scamming Joe Doe's businesses left and right.

Apologies for the rant. But yeah it's nice to be in a forum where most people have a technical background on programming languages and thus apply that to SEO, instead of some dude learning how to use a spam tool like any monkey could do.

Re: 2021 and all links being nofollow. I recall Matt Cutts saying that a low single digit of links in the www use nofollow (I think it was 3%) and that he didn't see nofollow as being used massively (this was a direct reply to a question from a webmaster about nofollow being everywhere).
8:26 pm on Mar 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@EditorialGuy - Then content is dead for SEO. Why risk the time and effort creating it and getting nofollows even thou the guidlines you cite says thats the way to rank!
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