Why do I support nofollow?

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.
  • Nofollow links still show up in your analysis of which sites link to you (Yahoo Site Explorer, Google's Webmaster Console) and so you can still analyse your "social media cyberscape" whereas JavaScript (etc) solutions would prevent this.
  • 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.


Anonymous said…
Hello Andrew,

I must say, as an SEO SEM aficionado you give compelling reasons for why you support noFollow. However, as a beginning blogger, I would have to disagree with you.

Since I know what it is like to start out in this blogging endeavor, I know what it's like to need the support of fellow bloggers, and I try to receive support by giving it. Not that I expect any blogger to disable noFollow for me. I chose to disabled it to encourage constructive commenting on my blog and to reward those that leave them. I realize that I'm taking a risk in doing that.

It is obvious to me that you won't support my view, but that is what I like about the blogosphere, we can agree to disagree.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Andrew Girdwood said…
Thanks for the comment Jose. Yours is a valid point and I'm happy to publish it. %99.99 of the blogosphere seems to agree with you.

I'm being harsh by saying that I like to have the option to talk about/link to your blog without actually helping you gain search status.
Anonymous said…
You're welcome, and thanks for the reply.

I guess you could look at it as being harsh with your opinion, and with the option to provide or not provide me with search credit for commenting on your blog. But, hey, it's your blog and you are fully entiled to have the option to do whatever you want with it. And because I think this way, I didn't take exception to your harshness.

Thanks again for the visit. I hope to see you around the blogosphere. In fact, I may even join your community. You seem to know a lot about SEO and SEM, and I could benefit from your knowledge.

Take care,

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