Why You Should Nofollow Your Blog Comments?

Dave Naylor seems to think it is a good idea to nofollow blog comments.

In many ways he is right:-

  • You get increased automated comment spam
  • You get increased spam from outsourced commenting
  • You get increased spam from people using commenting efficiency tools (Comment Kahuna, Comment Hut etc)
  • You get increased spam from people using dofollow search engines
  • You get increased spam from people using lists of dofollow blogs
  • You get Internet Marketing Gurus encouraging their interns to comment on their behalf

It takes additional time to manage comments on your blog even when you set up Spam Karma effectively, but that is something you could outsource to compensate, or have managed by a more junior member of staff.

You also leak a little bit of extra juice, how much depends on your site structure, and how many comments you get. Some people prefer to have huge blogrolls of the people who buy them drinks at seminars.

What Do You Gain?

I think the biggest gain is in community

  • I don’t have to write all the content myself, my readers contribute and gain a small reward
  • What happens when you engage a community of linkerati? They link to you more often
  • If you gain more links, you are just sharing part of a bigger pie
  • The tools are keyword based – people with websites covering a specific topic visit your site – maybe initially to just drop links, but it is amazing how many can be converted to regular visitors who leave constructive comments, and link to you from their own sites.

Google doesn’t give penalties just because you decide to let those providing user generated content have a little link love.

I should know, my blog due to paid reviews has been on Google’s radar for a long time – I was one of the first to be hit with a PageRank penalty back in October 2007, and as soon as I blocked those review pages with robots.txt, my Google pagerank penalty was at least partially lifted, and I think in a more recent update they lifted it totally.

It does take a little effort, but if you haven’t got time to

  • Read the comments left by your visitors
  • Check out their sites
  • Give them feedback
  • Communicate

Why the hell have you got a blog in the first place?

I would be much more worried about comments on your blog which have been left with commercial intent with the upcoming changes to the consumer protection act on 26th May

Update

Whilst this isn’t in any way conclusive proof, it is just a little fun to add this

Why You Should Nofollow Blog Comments

I have topical authority on my side to compensate for the fact I linked to Dave who posted first, though Google probably can’t factor those into its ranking that quickly.

Thus this result might just be domain authority… it doesn’t look like I have some kind of authority problem, despite having 1000s of dofollow links from comments.

Update

Dave has inched ahead of me in the SERPs – I think the link Jane gave him from SEOmoz swayed the standing fairly heavily.

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Comments

  1. says

    As a result of adding the nonofollow have you noticed an increase in automated commenting on this blog?

    What’s your approach to dealing with the search marketing interns (who can get real annoying) leaving comments on behalf of their company?

    • says

      At times I have had up to 5000 visits a month from people searching for the word dofollow, or from a dofollow search engine.
      It is harder to detect with Comment Kahuna

      My comment spam warning signs post might prove helpful
      http://andybeard.eu/2008/04/comment-spam-warning-signs.html

      As for the interns, I just have a heavy hand with the spam link in Spam Karma, and am also using back channels to try to get it fixed through a 3rd party who is also affected.
      It is something that will flare up again soon if they are not careful as Shawn at Hobo (a reformed comment spammer) has a post written and ready to post.

      But Shawn is also one of the reasons I persist – he is now an amazing member of my community, someone I could count on for anything, but I would never have met him online is he hadn’t been following a dofollow list one day for a little linkbuilding.
      Oh, and his blog is dofollow too and he made the change when he was a PR7 – that takes balls.

  2. says

    Ha, ha! Funny post! Does DaveN follow or no follow! He flips on and off! LOL

    Andy, I respect you for following comments, I wish I can do it on my Blog but it is still new and does not have much traction with Google, so I do not want to risk it.

    I follow all the links in my posts!

    I believe you got Love spread it around! That is Good Karma!

    • says

      If you control your linking structure, you can gain just as much traction with Google with dofollow as with nofollow for the comments. If anything, you should start dofollowing when your site is young (and you have fewer comments). If you wait, then you risk affecting your site in a big way by making a sweeping, site-wide linking change.

      -Kurt Schmitt

  3. says

    That was a nice little addon re:”Update.” lol

    What it all comes down to is building trust, developing a community and treating that community right.

    Those who worry about receiving a little extra spam are just being lazy if you ask me.

    My blog may not receive quite as much traffic as some of you A-listers, but I receive my fair share of traffic and with that comes spam comments.

    I spend 5-10 minutes a day MAX moderating comments and normally get a decent amount of comments as well.

    I’ve been dofollowing from the beginning and get plenty of SE love.

    • says

      Yes it was

      I also have screenshots taken using the same capitalization as Dave, just to make sure, and using both a US and UK Geo Location, with personalized results switched off, just in case I get some naysayers.

      You are building a great community and I am sure many of your readers first came along to grab a few links, but enough stick to make that moderation time worthwhile.

    • says

      Lucia’s plugin is great and highly recommended – especially for people who are not quite sure and want to give link love to only their most frequent commenters.

      • says

        Yes, I discovered Lucia Link Love over at Alex Sysoef’s http://www.howtospoter.com/ where he recommends:

        “…Enter YourName@YourKeywords and KeywordLuv will use YourKeywords as the anchor text. After 3 approved comments – all your links become DoFollow links (controlled by LuciaLinkyLove…”

        Duh! I haven’t transferred over to WordPress yet but when I do, that seems the way to go for me.

        ADG

  4. says

    I agree on this question of community. I DoFollow using the basic plugin so I accept the burden of checking each post that Akismet doesn’t automatically mark as spam to see whether I think it falls ‘on the right side of the line’. If there is useful comment for subsequent readers, even if minimal, and the URL isn’t to an undesirable website, then I’ll probably approve the comment. If someone feels I unfairly deleted their post then my spam post policy encourages them to contact me directly.

  5. says

    Andy your blog should rank higher than mine, but cause because you follow links in you comment, you write good content

    look at your points..

    * I don’t have to write all the content myself, my readers contribute and gain a small reward

    Dude people link to your content not your comments !

    * What happens when you engage a community of linkerati? They link to you more often

    hmmm still I think people link to the content or you get cheap laptops and Igor ;) commenting

    * If you gain more links, you are just sharing part of a bigger pie

    yes, agreed but my blog has shit content :
    and people still link to and I can still link to people if I want, if I feel it’s justified

    * The tools are keyword based – people with websites covering a specific topic visit your site – maybe initially to just drop links, but it is amazing how many can be converted to regular visitors who leave constructive comments, and link to you from their own sites.

    hmmmm long time no see Igor ;)but again I point to your content

    DaveN

    • says

      Dave whilst I haven’t run statistical analysis on this, I find that posts that have the best conversation typically also gain the most links.

      Now that could also be looked on that the links drove the traffic, which then created the increased conversation.

      It is a chicken and egg situation that is extremely hard to prove, much like how much value there is in Social Media other than X blog post gained so many Diggs and so many links.

      I have also found people who run blogs with nofollow switched off are more giving… yep even Jason Calacanis
      Somehow that comes across in their writing.

      My best content gets very few links, especially from the SEO community for SEO articles, though admittedly Barry is amazing at picking things up from Search Engine Land and Search Engine Round Table, and I am quite adept at sneaking a link from Techmeme once in a while.

      There has been a trend over the last 6 months of people who adopted dofollow running a little scared, thinking they were possibly receiving a penalty of some kind.

      1. They didn’t have time to deal with comments – these are people who want the traffic and community for free, for no work, and you won’t get good comments on junk content
      2. Didn’t compensate for the links in their linking structure.

      This is the only spam comment I have had to flag in the time since I posted, all the others have been handled by Spam Karma.

      hey,
      I’m a seo specialist of firm. And interested in information on this topic.
      Very it is sorry that more frequent than all it appears not high-quality. But it does not behave to this information.
      I am glad each time when find useful material for me.
      Thank you.

      He is now blackflagged

    • says

      DaveN, I hope you did not come here to Flame us in Revenge..:)

      I would say most users who come to Andy’s blog to comment they do not do it for a links or for traffic. Andy and many visitors are very provocative and engaging. We do not RickRoll here.

      DaveN, maybe you should read my blog and it may educate you about a few things, including SEO and Social Media! Does one have to say, “This is SEO” for it to be SEO? Then Google knows what it is, and it will not be productive SEO.

      DaveN, you need to Think Out of The Box. For an old Black Hat you still think Black Hat. Learn to trust people we are not all Bad! Please Assume Good Faith! LOL

    • says

      Actually, I have linked or Stumbled posts because of comments occasionally. While generally, it is the content of the post that draws links, sometimes the post is continued well into the comments.
      Andy is one of those bloggers that read and comment the comments. Many bloggers rarely respond to comments and not to the extent that Andy does. Andy (and a few others) carry the post content on into the comment section.
      Yes, people do link because of comments.

  6. says

    This is probably one of my favourite posts this month :-)
    I still don;t understand why the nofollow attribute is not removed from blogs- or even if you opted in to adding nofollow in options.
    Yes, I do get more spam. I also get more traffic and more comments and value added to my blog. I could not possibly write the content readers add to my blog in the 5 minutes it take me to moderate spam. The cost/benefit ratio tips in blogger’s favour.

    Andy- I did set up a DoFollow directory a while ago- admittedly not for entirely altruistic reasons- but are they “bad”? I do see it a valuable resource for bloggers looking for the best place to spend their time commenting and developing relationships. Am I off on this? Never occurred to me I was adding to the problem.

    • says

      I still have the community on Bumpzee, though I wish I could have 20 people moderating it – I haven’t had time in the last few months to go through new members.

      Dofollow blogs attract both the good and the bad, whatever way people find them.

      Before I started evangelising the benefits over 18 months ago, you could already just google for mention of dofollow plus a keyword and find blogs, in fact that is probably still the best way.

      There is nothing wrong with running a directory, it acts as a useful resource for people to find other bloggers to interact with, and generally dofollow blogs will be a more welcome home, as long as you wipe your feet.

  7. says

    After reading your post, I went and read everything I could find on the subject. It seems like I get tons of dofollow comments all the time from spiders and crawlers. Thanks for the informative post. I’m going to follow your advice.

  8. says

    Ive written about the same thing a few times in the last month or so, mainly pondering wether it is worth doing anymore. I “Do Follow” comments and have been doing so for about a year. but lately, Ive noticed that some of the benifits of “Do Follow” just isnt happening for me. I get a lot of useless comments where I was obviously searched from a do follow list or Kahuna etc, most of its spam.

    The commenters arent going back and talking about me, linking to me, probably not even thinking about me once they get thier link. everyones goal is to get a backlink and it is obvious.

    Like I said in one of my post when I was talking about the subject. It does work for popular bloggers. Once you get into a certain “popularity range” it does work like it suppose to, People do go back and talk about you, People do revisit, People do link to you.

    But Im not there, and for me it just seems like its not a good idea anymore. I dont know, Im still thinking about the subject.

    • says

      I just commented over on your post regarding that funny comment spam

      It is just automated spam, you catch it or it is automatically caught by Spam Karma fairly easily.

      I certainly wouldn’t have left it in place, that just makes it easier for the commenter to spam you again, or in the case of using Akismet, easier to spam other people again.

  9. says

    btw re the update screen shots… i think you get full universal boost for 30 mins after found,, we should check in the morning

  10. says

    To the person who said everyones goal is to get a backlink. That may be part of the overall goal but not always the main goal. Often the number one goal is to learn and to comment hoping for interaction so you can learn even more.

    My Blogs all have dofollow. I believe it brings in a broader range of participants and a larger audience. Like said in the post, often these people become regular readers. Of course that only happens if your content has value.

  11. says

    To me The reason to dofollow comments is that it just seems like the right thing to do. If someone gives something to you by participating on your blog the least you can do is give a little bit of link love in return. Do unto others and all that.

    Sure spam comments are an inconvenience, but only a small one. Want to minimize it? Then don’t talk about dofollow – just do it.

    Seriously at a certain point it just seems stingy of some sites with huge user participation to nofollow everything.

  12. says

    A moth ago i was using google to found “dofollow” site. After a few time i left a comment for one blog, i just realize that blog has a nice entries. It is to cool for my back link project :lol: . Now i still dropping comments there without any backlink oriented. the reason is that i love that blog entries..

  13. says

    I’ve thought about adding nonofollow to my astrology blog but most of my commenters don’t have a website. So I feel that using dofollow links would just encourage more spam and have no benefit to my site or visitors.

  14. says

    Honestly speaking, i’m finding some way to get spammer come to my blog to increase my traffic. I can moderate the comment but i have no idea how to get the traffic

  15. says

    Hi Andy,

    Reading this is actually quite enlightening because if I knew it took balls to do this with our PR 7 then I would never have allowed it ;)

    P.S. Thanks for my first do follow link although I am not meant to comment on Blogs lol

    Hobo MD

    • says

      At the end of the day it takes more balls to walk out on the streets at night in some parts of Glasgow, and Scots seem to do that all the time. ;)
      I spent a couple of wild summers working in Renfrew in my late teens, and almost moved up there permanently.

      As for commenting on blogs, I have prevously given Shawn permission of spam me with whatever anchor text he likes… but to your own site, not for clients. Not that he would ever do anything like that.

  16. says

    I left this exact comment on Josh’s post (duplicate content?), but I’m very anxious for an informed response…

    Here’s my question, and can someone PLEASE be as definitive as possible…so tired of varying opinions…

    Are links on NO FOLLOW blogs worth anything or not. *sigh*

    I mean really, I’m thinkin marketers had linking strategies long before all the do-follow hooha.

    I comment on 50 no follow blogs with a good ranking – worthless for linkbacks?

    I’m a huge fan of do follow, but holy cow the answer to this would make life easier :-)

  17. says

    First, I would hope that most most seeking sites for the followed link would find Andy’s blog because of its massive amount of actionable SEO techniques, news and blogging insights.

    Next, a nofollow tag is not as powerful as its made out to be. If you think its hindering your traffic then you are missing the fundamentals which make or break products.

    Andy is extending a hand in friendship in “following” his comment links. Its a minor gift to your users, your major gift should be in your content. I have seen even the most obscure of phrases bring visitors in, so content covering topics people are really passionate about rain in the traffic, hint hint

    You want a good reason to “follow” your blog comments?

    Because President Google is Roswelling us with the nofollow tag having us looking like the three stooges clanging our heads together, knucklehead :)

    Igor’s comments always delight with the triple threat of humor, usefulness and excitement.

    Andy’s posts are wicked!

  18. says

    Personally, I don’t choose to comment on blogs because they either dofollow or nofollow — I never check to see what their policy is. Rather, I comment because something in the article or discussion compels me to weigh in.

    Still, I consider it a nice touch when the blog owner cares enough to think about his community and whether it is better for them to dofollow. It says a lot about the person running the blog.

    Andy, interesting discussion!

  19. says

    I think it is rude and selfish to nofollow all blog comments. If people are kind enough to give you free content and participate in your discussions it is only proper to pay them back with a real link.

  20. says

    Andy- Can you point me to some more details on this comment:

    “I would be much more worried about comments on your blog which have been left with commercial intent with the upcoming changes to the consumer protection act on 26th May”

    I Googled: “changes to the consumer protection act on 26th May” and got a link right back to your blog… :)

    Any details would be greatly appreciated!

  21. says

    Sorry to ask but I’m quite new to blogging. Isn’t DoFollow plugins is just for WordPress users? Blogger (or BlogSpot) does not have such thing. What if I have this tag in my Blogger template? Does it mean that my blog is on comments DoFollow? Well, it might be a stupid question, but as you know I’m quite new to blogging.

  22. says

    Great information! Thanks Andy. What about this? What if I have this tag meta content=’follow,index’ name=’robots’ in my new Blogger template? Does it have anything to do with the DoFollow comments? If not, what does it DoFollow on?

  23. says

    Thanks for the great information Andy! I bookmarked them. Your blog informations and your respond really impressed me hehe. Will check back shortly. Until then.

  24. says

    Andy- Thanks for pointing that out which should be a concern for anyone in Europe or UK. Sometimes it is easy to forget where a bloggers local influence is. I should have realized…. :)

  25. says

    Andy hats off to you for adopting a “do follow” approach. Someone needs to come up with some kind of “decaying” no follow tag that erodes over time based on continuity of posting with some kind of natural language filter. That would prevent the majority of comment spam whilst rewarding legitimate readers/users with a little link love for participating.

    And no this isn’t comment spam :)

  26. says

    Hi Andy, I’ve just started a new blog in our site and we were recently discussing whether to implement do-follow in our comments. We decided to make it do follow at this early stage, and your article here convinced me we’re on the right track. It may sound a bit self-serving appearing in the comments section, but I think that even if the object of the commenter includes gaining link juice it doesn’t matter as long as his or her comments are relevant to the topic, and contributes significantly to the discussion. Thanks. :)

  27. says

    I removed DoFollow from my site about 9 months ago after reading several articles about Google’s policies and how it could be interpreted – then of course the penalties for paid links came in, which made up my mind at the time.

    Having now seen no action by Google (yet) on dofollow commetn blogs, I’m very tempted to re-instate dofollow as both a reward for my regular commenters and also as means of helping to bring more interaction with my readers.

    When people talk about good linking strategies on their blogs, are they talking about nofollows to certain internal links, nofollow affiliate and ad links?

  28. says

    When you use nofollow tags you are telling google that the site is not important, in my opinion -if you want to use the no follow rule, then you should do away with the url box period.

  29. says

    I’m not an expert blogger, but i dont think that telling to the people that u won’t care about whether they comment or not (cause not answering u are going to convey them this message)
    is the best way to manage a blog!!!

  30. says

    All right, you talked me into it. I’m off to install Lucia’s plugin now. I don’t get many real comments at the moment, but Aksimet seems to catch all the crap. So, it can’t hurt to give it a try.

  31. says

    Loads of those blogs at the bumpzee community no longer seem to be nofollow. Lots of them internet marketing related. Perhaps they’re just after the links from the community site?!?

  32. says

    I can sure understand people not wanting to put comments in when there is not contribution to the conversation .
    What I don’t understand is people who call whatever you have to say “spam” when you have taken the time and effort to write relevant content to your comments.
    I happen to like to read a lot of blogs (esp. real estate blogs) since I am in real estate.
    I also like to read anything I can find on writing a blog as I think this would be a very interesting way to make a living. from what I see there are more interesting comments , that are way more contributive, in the do follow blogs. although I have seen some comments with a line or two of random words that make no sense, that is where I would also draw the line as spamming.
    I think I’ll make my blog a “do follow” or “No No follow” (I don’t know if there is a difference yet)
    because it should attract good comments.

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