I’ve been cruising the web lately in search of new ways to build and promote some of the sites that I have been working on, and 1 of the things that I felt needed a better explanation was DoFollow and NoFollow.
nofollow is an HTML attribute value used to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index. It is intended to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, thereby improving the quality of search engine results and preventing spamdexing from occurring in the first place.
So, basically NoFollow was created as a way to allow others to provide an external link without sharing your Page Rank status with them. This approach has its pros and cons, and here are a few that I’ve put together for you:
- Protects your site’s Page Rank from “untrusted content” such as spammers and spam comments
- NoFollow allows you to build up Page Rank without sharing it with external pages/links
- NoFollow can be used in conjuction with paid links or advertisements on your site
- “Crawl prioritization” to have search engines focus on more important links
- Discourages genuine commenters and comments when used
- Automatically set on WordPress blogs (without the blogger even knowing it), Wikipedia, and many other sites
- Matt Mullenweg of WordPress doesn’t believe NoFollow is working: “In theory this should work perfectly, but in practice although all major blogging tools did this two years ago and comment and trackback spam is still 100 times worse now. In hindsight, I don’t think nofollow had much of an effect, though I’m still glad we tried it“
- Some search engines don’t ignore NoFollow links (Yahoo, etc.)
So what is your take on DoFollow vs. NoFollow? I personally use a mix of the two to reward registered users and legitimate comments on my blog while using NoFollow to block spammy or untrusted links.
I would like to thank John at Meta Spring for his nofollow article: