I started tapping out a comment on Chris’s Search Anyway blog, but decided it would be much better to send him some visitors. It is not like I can send him a massive wave of visitors, because not all my subscribers are heavily into the nitty gritty of the nofollow debate in various contexts, though it is something that fascinates me.
What should be nofollowed and what shouldn’t, and whether nofollow should even exist at all really is a complicated subject, although Graywolf did explain fairly well the history of nofollow. The annoying thing is somehow he managed to delete a load of comments whilst house-keeping after a massive spam attack. I am going to try to dig them out of co.comments, but I might have had it turned off.
Chris has responded to my comment to his previous post with a video. Now I have only just got used to having my face showing on this blog, and webcams have never been my thing, so I am going to respond with just a few words.
Yes it could be an antitrust thing, but then again if it ever came to that, the damages could be astronomical. Imagine all the startups current vying for various types of paid links whose customers are unofficially being warned off paid linkage. “Hey, I could have been as big as Google if…”. I said somewhere else, I honestly lose track, Google should ban Adsense on any site that has commercial links without nofollow:- all encompasing including linking to sister sites, blog networks subdomains, links to employer, etc, etc So Matt would have to nofollow Google, and Scoble would have to nofollow Podtech. AOL would have to nofollow all links to Weblogs, and the Weblogs sidebar between sites would also pass on no juice.
Either that, or just devalue junk links that are not relevant. If a company has thousands of dollars in advertising revenue available, it is likely they have some kind of useful product that people buy. They just don’t happen to have a friendly site that is a massive authority able to give them instant authority status overnight.
Sure there are a few duds, but then you have a few of those at startup presentations too, and certainly at computer game shows
If you have people battling against each other, they shouldn’t be using nofollow, because they are quite often using quotations. Carsten’s pointer arguement.
If you want to delve into the ethical debate at Wikipedia, Nicholas Carr had some good commentary on Wikipedia with lively debate. He then made a follow on post discussing the previous comments with his own views.
I do think nofollow or real dynamic links should be used for links to aggregators, search engines and social bookmarking sites. In the latter when you are linking through to submission forms, not if you are linking to a specific story.
Long before “nofollow” webmasters used dynamic links… such as this one
If you want links to give no reputation, that is one of the many ways to do it
<span style="cursor:pointer;cursor:hand;text-decoration: underline;color:blue;" onclick="window.location='http://andybeard.eu/'">Andy Beard</span>
You would normally use a class in a style sheet.
The benefit of nofollow is that it is so much easier to apply quickly. Why all these scripted CMS, Blog, Wiki and Forum applications needed a new tag to defeat the value of blogspam (ineffectually) is hard to tell, maybe just a PR exercise?
Linking out to relevant content actually has benefit in ranking. I have actually seen Wikipedia drop significantly for some terms in Google SERPS… yes I am shocked, I am not sure if this is after preventative action to the change, or is a significant indication that linking out helps ranking by a large margin (more than I thought), as long as it is relevant.
Anyway enjoy this SEO Video on Nofollow