Wikipedia NoFollow Plugin? WikiDigg?

The news today seems to be that Wikipedia have added nofollow to external links.

I have seen a lot of sites mention that all the search engines respect nofollow. Actually they don’t. Anlaysis has shown that Yahoo certainly follow and index pages despite the nofollow tag.


Nofollow was introduced for untrusted links from blogs in particular to counteract blog comment spam. It wasn’t effective.

Anti-spam that works

Various plugins for blogging platforms are wiping out spam on well managed blogs. Give Akismet, Spam Karma or one of the various CAPTCHA plugins for wordpress a try, and they will greatly reduce spam on wordpress, in fact almost emininate it altogether.

Wikipedia Links you can Trust

Wikipedia are now saying they can’t trust the links they give to other people, yet their own high prominence in search engine results is determined by the amount other people, especially bloggers give to them.

Bloggers Have Linked to Wikipedia Millions of times

I would guess that a good half of the inbound links Wikipedia has are from bloggers, and yet that link juice love is not returned. You have to be notable to have a mention in Wikipedia, and we have all seen recently that you have to jump through hoops to be classed as notable.

Hoarding Link Equity

Websites will be linking to Wikipedia, and Wikipedia will not be allowing the link to flow back out. Link equity has to flow, otherwise search engines cannot based on their current algorithms judge relevance.
By hoarding links with no follow, this will have a huge effect on search results, maybe similar to some of the more notable Google algorithm updates.


By not passing on link equity to other sites, Wikipedia themselves become… irrelevant

Why link to Wikipedia with a followable link? They don’t share the link equity back out

Alternative Technology

It would be easy for Wikipedia to have a system for evaluating whether a link it credible. It could almost be a Digg like system where every link has to be vetted and have more positive votes than negative.
Wow scrape Wikipedia and create… WikiDigg

Actually don’t scrape Wikipedia, but implement a voting system for all links based around OpenID . In fact all editors of Wikipedia should use something like OpenID as well.

Anonymous Shills

Opps yep, most Wikipedia editors are anonymous… they won’t like using OpenID

I would link to Wikipedia to explain what a shill is, but that would be unethical, because their sources of information would not be followed.

Stop Wasting Link Equity

Andy Beal today discussed not linking to Wikipedia any more with a followable link. I quite agree, link equity was designed to flow, that is why I also use a dofollow plugin, so people linking to me or commenting gain a backlink. No spammers get through… What are Wikipedia doing wrong?

The Damage to Search Results

This turns Wikipedia into a black hole of link equity and will have a massive effect on their search rankings because equity will be passed from one page to another internally.

It looks like Wikipedia Stubs will be more relevant now than pages containing real content.

No Follow is Unethical

Lots of the material on Wikipedia has been sourced from other locations as a reference. If the links to reference works are nofollow, how is Google to determine the original source?

Any credits within Wikipedia are now worthless. Is that legal? ethical?

NoFollow Plugin For WordPress?

It is hard work adding rel=”nofollow” to all your links to Wikipedia.

Wouldn’t it be easier to use a plugin? That way all your links to Wikipedia can be wiped out automatically.

If you want a plugin to convert all the links on your blog to Wikipedia, so that they include “nofollow”, please voice your opinion by linking to this post, or leaving a comment.

I should note this is only a proposal, though it wouldn’t take long to create the plugin. If you want it, let me know…

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  1. says

    In other words, Search Engines are doing their job again and forget about this whole NOFOLLOW attribute crap and ignore it.

    Good. It’s about time to fix the broken system instead of using patches that create a lot more issues that are even worse than the issue tried to patch.

  2. says

    Humans can still follow the link in the articles itself. They perform their intended function. The function where the PageRank algorithm is based on and USED TO DO a good job, until it was abused to death. Yeah, it’s about who is voting. Not which SITE. A link by one person on an authority site is still ONE PERSONS opinion only and biased. If it is backed by multiple people its a much stronger vote. But that alone is also not enough. Who is voting and how trustworthy is he or them?

    It’s tricky to figure that out, but also a huge opportunity to evolve Search to something much better than it is today.

  3. says

    If you have a system that ultimately creates some numerical data for each link, based on how long it has been there, then you can selectively have the link followable or not.

    It wouldn’t have to be calculated live, you can have fully trusted links and partially trusted which haven’t had enough votes or time on the page to be trusted.

    I have a Wikipedia account, but have only done a few edits.
    Some might argue that because I am not dedicated editor, I have no right to an opinion.

    However I am one of the millions of people who give them link equity and authority status which I expect them to share out to sites that deserve it.

    Basically placing nofollow on the links means that Google will have to ignore it for the domain, or have Wikipedia ranking even higher.

    As an example Wikipedia already ranks 3rd for Digital Camera.
    The 2 sites above Wikipedia are listed on the Wikipedia page, but they have just lost the value from the Wikipedia link.

    At the same time, Wikipedia is retaining more pagerank internally.

    There is a high chance that Wikipedia will move from 3rd place ranking to first.

    For most of the terms linked to from that page (maybe all) Wikipedia has a top 3 result.

    One good thing is that lots of stubs I used to have to compete against have disappeared.

    Wikipedia with this move is most likely going to become the default search result for a lot more terms.
    I don’t think that is a good thing.

    It is effectively the same as placing them above the search results.

    The above I posted on SEJ, but I will add a little more here.

    I can’t link back to the orginal source on SEJ because everything is nofollowed.

    Here is a nice expression for you.

    Incest Breeds Mutants

    Wikipedia by retaining all the link equity they are being given mutates the search results.

    That will soon become the case, whether the content on Wikipedia is relevant or not.

    One other characteristic is that search results will now return a scientific style discourse on every term rather than something simple an average Joe would understand, making the results in many ways less useful.

    You search for Bigamist in Google and the first result is a redirect on Wikipedia to the page on Polygamy. The word bigamist hardly appears on the page.

    To get a simple answer to the search term you have to do a dictionary lookup define:bigamist

    For 90% of people the first result in the search engines, no matter how much of an authority provides it, isn’t much use. They just want something simple.

    K.I.S.S. should apply to SERPs as well.

  4. says

    I envision nofollow doing more harm than good. Many WordPress blogs enable nofollow in comment urls because that is how it has defaulted for a while now. It’s refreshing to see you doing something else. I use a plugin to remove nofollow from comments, especially since I use Akismet to filter spam and then hold all comments in moderation before I approve them. Google was built on link love, and by showing no love you can’t find worthy sites easily.

  5. says

    From a micro point of view of an end-user, I actually like browsing or looking at Wikipedia and I don’t really mind not using nofollow when linking to them.

    However I do understand your reasoning and let me be the first to say that a plugin would be very helpful indeed for some of us who are concerned with Wikipedia’s eventual domination of the SERPs.

  6. says

    G’day Andy,

    I replied to your comment on my blog post. I have indeed seen yahoo display nofollow links using their site explorer, but I am not entriely convinced that these links count toward link popularity. I would like to get your input on this if you know of any test that were done.

    By the way, Yahoo claims to support the tag, but I’m sure you’ve already seen this:



  7. says


    I have both Akismet (my original first choice of anti-spam plugins) and SpamKarma deployed on various blogs. One of my planned projects is converting all of my blogs to SpamKarma. I just like the ability to pesonally adjust it, really.

    Several of us at HowToCorp Forum conducted expiriments with NoFollow back when Amy released her comment spam software, and the result was that Yahoo completely ignores the attribute, that Google complies, and that MSN was all over the board.

    A recent expiriment I conducted myself **suggests** that Google **may** be ignoring it in some very specific cases. (Think Technorati). Because Google is so lousy about reporting back links I can’t be absolutely certain that they did not follow from some source unknown to me, but it sure **seems** like I was visited as a direct result of a NoFollow link.

  8. says

    I haven’t started using OpenID, but there are lots of plugins that use it for avatars or blog registration in some way.

    One of these days I will go exploring in depth

    I would have referred to that thread on HowTo, but Macalua’s post was more recent, and easier for people to digest.

  9. says

    I think that a plugin to automatically add nofollow attributes easily is a good idea. I think that one that could be added onto, so that the user will specify a list of links to automatically nofollow… Or perhaps a whitelist system?

    I might actually write something like this myself, but that would involve dusting off my knowlesge of PHP, finding some spare time, and not spending it on one of the other projects I want to work on.

  10. says

    “By not passing on link equity to other sites, Wikipedia themselves become… irrelevant

    Why link to Wikipedia with a followable link? They don’t share the link equity back out”

    One problem – Wikipedia doesn’t *care* about link equity.

    Wikipedia has no advertising, it’s a charitable organisation existing solely on donations. Page Rank isn’t, therefore, important. The goal of providing access to all human knowledge, to everyone, without charge, is what matters to Wikipedia as a whole and to the hundreds of thousands of volunteers that contribute. It is nice that a Wikipedia article is often highly featured on a Google search, but it’s not essential. Nobody, certainly not Wikipedia, is forcing the bloggers to link to Wikipedia in their blogs. They do so because Wikipedia is a non-commercial copyleft resource for everyone. I am aware that this puts sand in the vaginas of the SEO people, but Wikipedia doesn’t care about that, either.

  11. says

    Wikipedia is not copyleft if they don’t attribute their sources correctly.

    They have deliberately prevented search engines from correct attribution, using a microformat specifically designed for that purpose.
    If Wikipedia really didn’t care about their effect on search, positive or negative, then they wouldn’t use a search engine device to do so.

    If Wikipedia really wanted to become less influential in search results, the ideal method would be to add nofollow to all internal links, thus a page would only gain relevance based upon the relevance that particular article receives from external sources.

  12. says


    Sorry for the delayed response. Mmhh.. Email notification for comments would be nice. Just a little bit user feedback :)

    “If you have a system that ultimately creates some numerical data for each link, based on how long it has been there, then you can selectively have the link followable or not.”

    Yes, the search engines have to determine that. If it is an on site attribute, then it will be gamed. Hello Meta Tags 1990

    “I have a Wikipedia account, but have only done a few edits.
    Some might argue that because I am not dedicated editor, I have no right to an opinion.”

    I believe you did not grasp the concept yet. What you CAN gain by your activities is trust, which is not unimportant in a community, isn’t it?

    By not passing on link equity to other sites, Wikipedia themselves become… irrelevant”

    I don’t understand that statement. Does it fall into the category like this one? : “The code is full of bugs, which is no surprise, because it was written in basic and not c++”

    “Why link to Wikipedia with a followable link? They don’t share the link equity back out”

    Answer: your headline for the paragraph

    I completely agree that if the search engines will obey the nofollow attribute, an imbalance due to unrealistic PageRank distribution caused by the “black hole” effect wikipedia creates by absorbing all the votes without distributing it back to the outside world, will be the result of this.

    I am also sure that the search engines had somebody crunching some numbers and simulating it. I hope that the result would be disastrous, because that will trigger something else that is much overdue. You guess what that might be. I mentioned it already several time.

    What is unfortunate is the fact that all the good reasons why I support the nofollow at wikipedia (until it will hopefully not matter anymore if there is a nofollow or not), is not the reason why it was enabled (again).

    I hope that a lot of people followed the arguments and adopted the good reasons now too. The SEO contest thingy is no reason IMO. If it would be just that I would say “remove the nofollow NOW”.


  13. says

    I know Graywolf finally added a subscribe to comments plugin, but I am honestly scared to use one. It only takes one spam complaint from an AOL user who somehow gets a porn spam that gets through, and my domain could be shut down.

    Also bare in mind that currently the plugin has no email flow control, so emails are being sent off in bursts. Long term it isn’t safe to have on a busy blog, unless you are running EzineArticles and the email fires off from a separate white-listed server (Chris has it nicely worked out)

    I am actually seeing some strange results in the SERPs monitoring a few terms., with Wikipedia actually dropping. Maybe linking out with followable links really does help relevance of your own content much more than anyone realises (or speaks about)

  14. says

    I always use nofollow’s when linking to Wikipedia from my websites. Their content is not authoritative, a lot of it isn’t cited properly, a lot of it isn’t accurate, a lot of it is poorly written, a lot of it is copyright infringement. My major issue is many of the articles base or completely rip off their content from sites listed under References (though normally they aren’t listed) and sometimes under Related sites or External links. This means sources that are probably more accurate and well-written will most likely appear lower in search engines and will receive no value from Wikipedia, which is using them as a source and essentially stealing their content.