This one may come back to bite me but at least I’m willing to stick my neck out. You will all have heard of the recent nofollow news reported by Matt Cutts, if not you can read about it here, PageRank Sculpting.
There have been many issues already raised concerning the impact of nofollow on SEO and the amount of PageRank a site manages to retain. Many webmasters are removing their nofollow links left, right and centre, however I am not in that camp.
Bloggers have been removing nofollow from comments and pages search spiders have no need to access, such as log in pages, but I personally think they are wasting there time and energy, here’s why;
How Much Does PageRank Matter
No matter what anybody says SEO is about driving organic traffic to your site and you do this by ranking highly on Google for relevant keywords. PageRank is one of the factors that influences your ranking in Google but it is not the only one, nor is it a major one. I have shown many times on SEO Wizz why PageRank is over hyped, expecially toolbar PageRank.
So if PageRank is a minor ranking factor and therefore less important for driving search engine traffic, should we really be that worried? There’s no penalties for using nofollow, so why worry.
It’s Been In Place A Year!!
This change to the algorithm has been in place a year, a year and no one in the SEO industry has noticed it. This tells you quite clearly that it has made no change if any to the performance sites have been seeing. I for one have had no problem in maintaining continual PageRank growth despite having a whole bunch of nofollow comments and other links.
No one has noticed because it didn’t make an impact, if your PageRank has reduced in the last 3 months it has nothing to do with nofollow.
Worse of 2 Evils
When it comes to nofollow on comments we have 2 choices.
1 – Nofollow and lose some PageRank flow
2 – Allow follow links and risk a Google penalty for linking to Bad neighbourhoods.
Many of us do not have the time to check out every site that makes a comment to ensure they are not using unethical techniques. Some sites are obviously spammers but others are a lot more subtle. Which one would you prefer to risk, a bit of PageRank or a penalty.
What’s Good For Matt Cutt’s Is Good For Us
I know Matt is not clear about every statement he makes on the subject of SEO and can often leave a lot of us confused, however I believe if he is willing to do something we should seriously consider it. His post on PageRank sculpting makes it clear he uses the nofollow on RSS feeds and he still has his comments as nofollow, I don’t see a problem with his PageRank? Do you?
Use It Correctly
Google and others first accepted the attribute as a way to prevent comment spam and to protect other links out of the Webmasters control. A link is a vote, if you don’t want to vote for the page, stick the nofollow on, that’s what it’s there for. If it’s a paid link, use the nofollow, if it’s a link to a page that is of no use to the search spiders, use the nofollow. I am 99% sure that the effects of using the nofollow correctly will be minimal.
Some webmasters have “taken their bat and ball home” by stating they are going to avoid linking out in fear of losing their beloved green bar at the top of their browsers, please.
Linking out to relevant, high authority sources will have more impact on your ranking ability than not having any outbound links on your site at all. I have ranked posts on SEO Wizz with outbound links alone.
…..At the end of the day we have a simple choice.
- Do we quit something that has been working perfectly well for the last year? Do we stop refering our visitors to quality sources in our industry in fear of loosing PageRank? Do we risk linking to “bad neighbourhoods” by making all links follow?
- Do we focus on the other more important aspects of SEO? Do we continue to build the Web’s link graph, pointing to quality relevant sources? Do we focus on creating inbound external links that are relevant and hold weight? Do we sculpt PageRank by including links to our important pages from the home page? Do we continue to focus on creating crawlable sites filled with quality content with strong link profiles?
Forget about the the recent debate and concentrate on other more important aspects of making your site more visible on Google.Line Break
Author: Tim (293 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.