Since a meeting cancelled itself on me this morning I thought I'd fire off a cheeky blog post and comment on my support for nofollow.
It's easy for me to whisk through reasons why I support nofollow. Let's begin as a webmaster:
- I can link to sites I want to talk about without boosting their profile in search engines.
- I can code my forums to automatically add nofollow to any outbound links. I don't need to worry about users linking to bad neighbourhoods.
- I can code my comment section so that old comments automatically gain nofollow. I don't need to check back through years of old comments to see if any domains have changed owners/content and become bad neighbourhoods.
- I can make it clear on my site that I use nofollow and this will only ever deter spammers, not encourage them.
- I can add funky and fun widgets, badges, or memes to my site and use nofollow to make sure I'm still "Link Safe".
- I can use nofollow as much or as little as I like and it does not directly impact my site.
- I can use nofollow to safely text link advertise on sites (sponsorships, partnerships, etc) without being mistaken for a link buyer.
- I can use nofollow and safely link to partners without being mistaken for a link seller.
Let's continue my support of nofollow as a search engine optimiser:
- I can educate my clients about bad neighbourhoods, the dangers of linking to them and present the nofollow as a practical and effective technical solution alongside best practise link training.
- I can find safe ways to protect my client's rankings when they may contracted or obliged to promote/link to a partner/advertiser when those partners/advertisers are engaged in unethical search engine optimisation. This solution tends to apply when sites must display a logo or a partner link as those contracts do not tend to mention neither nofollow nor search engines. Deals struck explicitly for the "link juice" tend not to be solved this way; instead I have to advise the client as to the risks in the deal and advise them to re-negotiate and stop link selling as soon as possible.
- I'm against link buying and the option of "nofollow" makes it easier for search engines to address the paid link problem.
- Nofollow is an elegant technical solution which is easily applied to large Content Management Systems.
- Nofollow on cooperate blogs helps encourage comments from users and customers with a valid need to comment and not just from people looking for some well placed link juice.
- Nofollow helps enforce the importance of a "link audit / external link audit". In some ways nofollow creates additional job opportunities for the SEM industry.
- Nofollow is precise. Nofollow is applied to a small unit on a page, a single anchor element, rather than the entire page.
- The use of nofollow is a Quality Signal.
Why should you support nofollow:
- The more people and sites who embrace it the more effective it becomes.
- Help avoid the "blogosphere phantom economy" where highly ranked blogs receive a disproportionate number of comments/interaction as other bloggers scramble for "link juice".
- Be ethical - work with the search engines rather than against them.
- Be proactive - help combat search spam and comment spam.
I launched the "I support nofollow" campaign on January the 27th, 2007. To date the campaign as attracted one named supporter - me. Ha-ha. On well.