Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Guest Blogger-Sueblimely on No-Follow

NoFollow -NoGood for bloggers?

Sueblimely Australian blogger here. Please don't change channels; Blog Blond has allowed me the honor of Guest Blogging today. The topic: the pros and cons of 'nofollow'.

Let me start by explaining what 'nofollow' is. It is an attribute that can be added to websites that tells search engines not to'follow' links to external sites so that they do not gain any advantages in the ranking process.I am talking today about 'nofollow' on user added links; for example, in blog comments, forums, and wikis. Here is an example showing a link with and without 'nofollow':

Blatant plug for my blog

rel="nofollow"<>Google now won't raise my ranking to 10 (as if!)

Background

Nofollow was developed by Google as a method of reducing online spam, the idea being that if search engines did not give spammers higher ratings for numerous external links, it would remove a main reason for spamming. (try telling the automated spambots that!)

Advantages of nofollow

  • There may be a degree of reduction in the overall amount of comment spam as it won't be such a powerful tool for search engine optimization.
  • Spam to sites that do not take proper measures to protect themselves against it may be reduced (e.g. blogs abandoned or left unattended for long periods and those without moderation of comments)
  • Large sites with a big spam problem may benefit from reduction in quantity.
  • Search engine results may become more useful and relevant ; it will not be so attractive for advertisers to pay for links. Reputation, service and quality will be a more powerful way of gaining higher rankings. (in an ideal world)

Disadvantages of nofollow

  • Did you notice that I qualified all the advantages, as it is debatable if 'nofollow' significantly reduces spam. Spammers still gain traffic and revenue from readers clicking on the links and some search engines still use the links for ranking. (Yahoo and Ask.com follow 'nofollow' links and make those sites available to their algorithm )
  • Spambots may not be set up to distinguish which site has adopted 'nofollow' Spamming carries on regardless.
  • Nofollow cannot distinguish between links you trust and would like to be 'followed' and those you don't.
  • If we blog on our own server we can decide whether or not to implement 'nofollow'. Most hosted blog platforms, such as Blogger and Wordpress use 'nofollow' with no inbuilt options to turn it off, taking away our choice.
  • Commenting is a highly recommended method of raising your search engine ranking, developing contacts and increasing your blog readership. Bloggers take the time to comment, often for this reason alone. Using 'nofollow' discourages this. As a blogger I also want to give my commenters recognition and credit for doing so. Its a two way street.
  • Even though commenters are a small proportion of my readership, they tend to be the ones who keep coming back. They are the ones I develop a relationship with and help build my network further. You cannot rely on search engine ranking alone to raise your readership. Having a well written blog of interest must be combined with methods of developing contacts for it to develop a good readership base.
  • Commenting adds fresh content to your site attracting the searchbots more often.Using 'nofollow' can therefore penalize your blog, as well as those of your commenters, in regard to search engine rank.
  • Feedback is extremely useful for gauging what your readers are interested in and for giving you ideas for content. This benefits all readers.
  • A blog by its nature is interactive, using 'nofollow' reduces the power of this feature.

Conclusion

Nofollow is good for the search engines but not for bloggers who are trying to increase their readership, develop their network and are already taking measures to stop spam.

Nofollow may only reduce spam so other protection methods still need to be used to eliminate the vast amount of spam generated by spambots. These other methods do allow the following of legitimate links. Why use a 'catch all' method instead of a more reliable targeted approach.

Protection:

Allow comment moderation in your blog settings so that all comments have to be approved before you publish them and use spam filtering methods.

Here is a comprehensive guide to the different forms of spam filtering from Answers.com - Spam in blogs

Blog Platforms:

  • Blogger - use inbuilt ' Show word verification for comments' setting.
  • For Wordpress - use a system such as Akismet. More info...
  • Movable Type - has inbuilt spam filtering
  • Typo allows the blog administrator to only customize who they want to receive comments from.

DoFollow

To counter 'nofollow' a campaign called the DoFollow movement is gaining momentum. You may have seen images such as this on blogs:

DoFollow

The badge is available in various colors from Randy Clay Designs site

DoFollow encourages bloggers to remove the 'nofollow' attribute from their sites and a number of tools and hacks have been developed to do make this easier.. )

Andy Beard, one of its main supporters, has an Ultimate List of DoFollow Nofollow Plugins,which details methods of removing NoFollow from the various blog platforms.

(Please only take off 'nofollow' if you are confident about implementing the hacks and being able to use counter-spam tools correctly.)

Other information and resources:

If you have managed to get this far (I know the topic may be dull for some), thanks for reading. Blog Blond will now resume normal transmission.

Labels: , , , ,


Posted by Kuanyin Moi at 6:17 PM

12 Comments

  • Blogger Mauigirl posted at Sunday, July 01, 2007  
    Interesting, had no idea there were all these things available. Personally I'd be flattered if I ever GOT spam. It would mean I had Arrived! That someone thought enough people read my blog that it was worthwhile to spam me! ;-)
  • Blogger Zubli Zainordin posted at Monday, July 02, 2007  
    Although Do Follow is good for blogger, the badge is not so good with wordpress.com. Please suggest a way all bloggers can enjoy this benefits and advantages.
  • Blogger JayPeeFreely posted at Tuesday, July 03, 2007  
    I famed you...Thanks for having me fill out another profile...;)

    Happy 4th!
  • Blogger Blog Bloke posted at Friday, July 06, 2007  
    Unfortunately the techniques mentioned in the aforementioned links will not work for Blogger comments.
  • Blogger Sueblimely posted at Friday, July 06, 2007  
    Hi Mauigirl
    I got no spam on my first blog for quite a while but when it started it came in great quantity. I always use the Blogger captcha code system now.
  • Blogger Sueblimely posted at Friday, July 06, 2007  
    Hi zubli
    The badge is just an image so you should be able to use it with any blog platform.
  • Blogger Sueblimely posted at Friday, July 06, 2007  
    Thanks for that information blog bloke. I too tried to remove the nofollow manually.

    One solution could be to use Haloscan's free commenting tool in Blogger -
    http://www.haloscan.com/
  • Blogger Blog Bloke posted at Friday, July 06, 2007  
    I forgot to mention that you did a very thorough job with this post. Well done.
  • Blogger Sueblimely posted at Sunday, July 08, 2007  
    Thank you blog bloke. I am really pleased to have feedback like this from such an experienced and esteemed blogger about blogs. You have made my week.
  • Anonymous Andy Beard posted at Wednesday, July 25, 2007  
    There is actually a bug in the article for the example nofollow link

    Blogbloke, removing nofollow from "new blogger" works perfectly, and as I explained in the comments of the article you linked to, the links from your own blog, which is a blogger blog, are "dofollow" - you have removed nofollow correctly.

    Haloscan is not a suitable answer because then the content is only displayed on your own blog by way of javascript.

    The real answer, though it is not popular among many bloggers is to stop using blogspot, buy a domain name, install workpress, import your wordpress content whilst maintaining the original permalink structure, create redirects for the feed URLs using .htaccess, and once you are satisfied that everything works correctly, tell blogspot to redirect your blog to the new domain.
  • Anonymous Tracey-Ann posted at Friday, December 21, 2007  
    A article. I recently learned about the Dofollow rule. Now i appl this to all my blogs .thanks
  • Anonymous Czytelnia posted at Tuesday, April 22, 2008  
    OMG! Thanks! I have finally managed to remove that stupid tag, great thing, thanks mate :)
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