November 1, 2014

The Nofollow Rule = No Good?

Posted by: of One By One Media on 05/30/06

I have been following the conversation in the blogging world of “Google’s Embarrassing Mistake” started by Dylan Tweney.  It seems that he as well as others feel that the nofollow tag was a patch that failed the blogoshpere and in fact may have been a detriment to bloggers:

Worse, nofollow has another, more pernicious effect, which is that it reduces the value of legitimate comments. Here’s how:

Why should I bother entering a comment on your blog, after all? Well, I might comment because you’re my friend. But I might also want some tiny little reward for participating in a discussion, contributing to the content on your site, and generally enhancing the value of the conversational Web. That reward? PageRank, baby. But if your blog uses the nofollow tag, you’ve just eliminated that tiny little bit of reciprocity. Thanks, but no thanks. I’d rather just comment on my own blog. And maybe, if you’re lucky, I’ll link back to you.

Jeremy Zawodny makes his own statement about the Nofollow tag with the cavalier attitude of “Kill em all let God sort em out” with his statement:

Look. Linking is part of what makes the web work. If you’re actually concerned about every link you make being counted in some global database of site endorsements, you’re probably over-thinking just a bit. Life’s too short for that, ya know? Link and be linked to. Let the search engines sort it out.

This is actually decent advice that Jeremy discusses as stated by Nick Wilson at Performancing and I would have to agree.

Comment spam continues to be an ever increasing problem in the blogosphere, and there have yet to be any applications that are the end all solution.  Dylan does come up with a fairly simple solution to the problem in his step by step tutorial:

In fact, the solution to comment spam is simple. I’ve used it both on this blog, and on my haiku site. Here’s the step-by-step solution:

Step 1. Automatically moderate any comments that include hyperlinks.
Step 2. There is no step 2.

Moderation of any and all comments does pose somewhat of a problem in the fast world of the blogosphere.  I have moderation of comments on my own blog when a hyperlink is placed in the comment, but the problem is when I am not in front of the computer making sure comments are moderated in real time.  I could miss out on a great conversation if after 2 days I finally get around to allowing a comment. 

One thing about the discussion is certain, comment spam for the future is here to stay.

8 comments for The Nofollow Rule = No Good? »

  1. Jim, thanks for linking to my site & carrying on the conversation! As for comment moderation holding up discussions — this kind of moderation puts the burden of making that tradeoff on the commenters, not on you. If they want pure, fast discussion, let them post comments without hyperlinks–they’ll go straight to your site. If they want the benefit of links back to their site, then they’ll have to accept the possible delay while you get around to moderating the comments up. Seems like a fair trade.

    Comment by Dylan Tweney — May 30, 2006 @ 2:39 pm


  2. Comment spam is the Internet’s version of litter. If trash pick-up falls on a windy day, invariably I find trash on my lawn. I don’t put up a fence – I choose to pick it up or leave it there.

    Offline, litter happens. Online, spam happens.

    But now, for hosted software such as TypePad – what needs to be done? I’ve noticed comments are redirected to the commenters site – not alot of link love for anyone bu TypePad there.

    Comment by Mike Sansone — May 30, 2006 @ 2:50 pm


  3. Moderating comments can be a tiresome task when running a large popular site that sees quite a few legitimate comments per day, many of which may contain links.

    Also, consider that some spammers no longer include links within the body of the comment and use their name as the anchor text. In such an event, comment moderation based on links within content truly didn’t help.

    Offline trash happens and it’s easy to pick up one piece of litter, but what to do when it grows to the size of a small landfill in a matter of moments?

    Though moderation is a viable solution, it’s ultimately up to the blog author to decide what is best for the blog and its readers.

    Some blogs do well with comment moderation enabled, however, it may be that the blog owner needs to install better spam software, update their blacklisted words often, and keep a vigilant eye out for spammers.

    ~ Teli

    Comment by Teli Adlam — June 9, 2006 @ 5:56 pm


  4. I also agree that nofollows are not helping…

    [...] So I think if people contribute to my blog by adding a comment they deserve a link, a real link without a nofollow! [...]…

    Trackback by Mike's Blog => Say No To Nofollows! — June 30, 2006 @ 4:27 pm


  5. I agree that over-proliferation of the rel=”nofollow” attribute has the potential to dilute what has come to be a primary aspect of the Web, and the foundation of what has made Google (with its link-popularity weighted search) the dominant Web search engine. It certainly has uses that seem clear to me — such as in links within rotating display advertisements, perhaps — but when it comes to blog comments and other forms of fixed advertising and partner linkage, I’m not so sure it will be used (or received) well.

    In the blogging context, I’d love to see blog packages offer some options with respect to this, such as:
    All posts published directly without waiting for moderation. Posts that include hyperlinks get rel=”nofollow” added to all of their links, and get flagged for moderator review. If the moderator approves the comment, rel=”nofollow” attributes are removed from that comment’s links.

    I’m sure many more options could be devised and discussed, and am very interested to see how all this evolves.

    Comment by Thogek — August 28, 2007 @ 4:03 pm


  6. I know I’m a little bit late on this discussion, but as a new hand to web design and this whole SEO craze, my personal opinion of nofollow is that it is hypocritical in a sense as far as Google is concerned.

    In my opinion, a lot of what nofollow does is makes it nearly impossible for new, legit websites to gain rank without having to pay some stupid SEO company to generate links for them (this is unless they are already well connected to the web-design or blogging community and have friends to provide linking).

    Google claims to not be a huge fan of paid linking campaigns, yet nofollow forces most new sites to consider that option.

    I’ve had a rough time getting Google to rank my new webpage above 0, yet I still refuse to ever pay somebody to link to my site. If becoming involved in worthwhile discussions is what it takes to get my rank up, ill gladly do so, and I probably would have anyways.

    Comment by CGlines — November 8, 2007 @ 10:35 am


  7. I just realized that your page includes the nofollow tag…

    Interesting that I just posted about hypocrisy.

    Comment by CGlines — November 8, 2007 @ 10:37 am


  8. I’d love to see blog packages offer some options with respect to this, such as:
    All posts published directly without waiting for moderation.

    Posts that include hyperlinks get rel=�nofollow� added to all of their links, and get flagged for moderator review.

    If the moderator approves the comment, rel=�nofollow� attributes are removed from that comment’s links.

    I know there are more options that could be devised and discussed, and am very interested to see how all this turns out.

    Comment by Jeff The Abunza Guy — May 5, 2008 @ 9:43 am


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