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Thread: The "nofollow" tag

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  1. #1
    Member PaulMycroft's Avatar
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    The "nofollow" tag

    Hi guys,

    Can you explain the "nofollow" tag and how it can be implemented to help the internal link structure of a Web site and improve the flow of link juice.

    From SEOmoz:
    "We nofollowed dozens of links on many of our template pages to help control the flow of link juice through to our more important pages - the content in the Blog, YOUmoz, Marketplace, and Articles."

    Apparently, this benefited their Web site: SEOmoz | Sculpting with Nofollow Works Pretty Darn Well

    Should I apply the "nofollow" tag to my navigation so that less important pages like Terms, Privacy, etc. will redirect their link juice to more important pages?

    Thanks.
    All the best,
    Paul Mycroft
    Professional Web Design

  2. #2
    WebProWorld MVP Dubbya's Avatar
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    Re: The "nofollow" tag

    To a search engine, external links are seen as an endorsement of sorts. You'll share page rank and feed the linked site traffic.

    In using the "rel=nofollow" attribute, you're telling the search engine that you're happy to provide a link that it's worth spidering but that you want to retain your PR.

  3. #3
    WebProWorld MVP Dubbya's Avatar
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    Re: The "nofollow" tag

    Update:

    according to an article at Search Engine Watch, using the nofollow attribute in your own navigation might be counterproductive, so it's not recommended.

    You definitely DO NOT want to use the attribute on links to your own pages. Do that, and you'll deprive your own pages from the chance of influencing how your other pages rank.

    Having said this, I've no doubt some people will try playing with the new tag as a means to "hoard" PageRank that's passed on to only a few pages in your site. For example, your home page might link to 25 of your internal pages. Using the new attribute, you could exclude all but five of these pages. Do that, and you might possibly cause Google to give those five pages more credit.

    Maybe. Perhaps. And perhaps the search engines may make other changes down the line. Rather than get tricky with this tag, I'd recommend using it as intended for now -- as a means to flag that there are certain links on your web site that you didn't place there.
    source: Google, Yahoo, MSN Unite On Support For Nofollow Attribute For Links [SearchEngineWatch]

    .02

  4. #4
    Senior Member puamana's Avatar
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    Re: The "nofollow" tag

    Does this relate in any way to the practice of opening outbound links in a new browser/tab?
    I have always figured that outbound links (the ones I place there, hard-coded, not served by a script) are fine, as long as they open in a new window, because clicking on the link doesn't remove them from the source site, unless they close their entire browser.

    Just curious ...
    Puamana
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  5. #5
    WebProWorld MVP jawn_tech's Avatar
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    Re: The "nofollow" tag

    My apologies in advance for this metaphorical scenario. Think of search engine bots like water. It/they always moves wherever there's a channel, and always in the direction of downhill / downstream. A link is like a channel to a bot. What a nofollow does is dams the channel, so humans can pass but bots don't (in theory).

    So whatever channels are left get the most juice.

    As for outbound links in a new window -- unless there's a google blog on the subject I haven't seen, it doesn't seem to make any difference if it's a new browser window, except to humans.

    Hope my 2 cents helped.
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  6. #6
    Moderator mjtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: The "nofollow" tag

    Quote Originally Posted by puamana View Post
    Does this relate in any way to the practice of opening outbound links in a new browser/tab?
    I have always figured that outbound links (the ones I place there, hard-coded, not served by a script) are fine, as long as they open in a new window, because clicking on the link doesn't remove them from the source site, unless they close their entire browser.

    Just curious ...
    Puamana
    The use of the rel-nofollow is entirely unrelated to whether a link opens in a new window. This href attribute (rel="nofollow") tells Google (and other SEs) to not transfer any PageRank or link juice to the linked site. Opening a link in a new window has no effect on search engines; it merely means that a human visitor will still have a window of the originating site. Hope that clears that up for you.


    Quote Originally Posted by jawn_tech View Post
    My apologies in advance for this metaphorical scenario. Think of search engine bots like water. It/they always moves wherever there's a channel, and always in the direction of downhill / downstream. A link is like a channel to a bot. What a nofollow does is dams the channel, so humans can pass but bots don't (in theory).

    So whatever channels are left get the most juice.

    As for outbound links in a new window -- unless there's a google blog on the subject I haven't seen, it doesn't seem to make any difference if it's a new browser window, except to humans.

    Hope my 2 cents helped.
    Just wanted to be clear about this: bots can and do follow, and even index, pages that have been linked with a rel=nofollow; all that is blocked is the passing of PageRank or other "link juice" or "voting" power of a link. Or so I understand it.

    Cheers, MJ
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  7. #7
    Junior Member RawFunk's Avatar
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    Re: The "nofollow" tag

    Hi all,

    It has been my understanding that the nofollow is only recognised by google.

    Unless I've received bad information, I was also under the belief the nofollow attribute was being used primarily for advertising links/banners to prevent PR being passed.

    With that said there was/is speculation that by using the nofollow attribute google may penalise sites. I believe I read where sites have lost ranking from using the nofollow tag.

    Would someone care to respond regarding the (nofollow tag) implementation issues and provide some solid facts on these topics as opposed to mere opinions...


    Cheers

    Dave

  8. #8
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    Re: The "nofollow" tag

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulMycroft View Post
    Can you explain the "nofollow" tag and how it can be implemented to help the internal link structure of a Web site and improve the flow of link juice.
    Paul,
    in a strict sense the "nofollow" tag does not exist.

    There are two ways you can guide search engines in your pages using "nofollow".
    Code:
    <HEAD>
    ....
    <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW">
    ...
    </HEAD>
    This meta-tag instructs any internet robot (aka crawler) to not index this page (don't store any information, don't return it in the search results) AND not to follow any links to other pages.

    The NOFOLLOW value here means the search engine should not use the links on this page to discover new pages to crawl. You would use that if you have links and pages that you don't want indexed and are volatile, such as random pages and or highly dynamic pages.

    However, the nofollow [here] will not securely hide other pages from the SE, because any other webmaster can use the same links as you do and the search engine crawler discovers them on this path. So make sure that the page you want out of the index have a "NOINDEX" themselves.

    Also, it is unclear what influence this NOFOLLOW has on weight the search engine assigns to it in the ranking algorithm. Nothing says that it should not be counted.

    Code:
    <BODY>
    ....
    <A ... REL="NOFOLLOW">...</A>
    ...
    </BODY>
    This NOFOLLOW value in the relationship-attribute of an anchor link is a more recent invention by Google. It indicates, that the search engines ranking algorithm should not assign any weight to it when calculating page rank of the page the anchor tag points to.

    Google invented this notation, because lots of people left hundreds of thousands of meaningless and context less links in collaborative websites such as Wiki, Blog or Forum sites. All these links where generated by programs and were a nuisance for any webmaster, blogger, wiki admin to remove. By allowing this notation, the webmaster can declare certain types of links to be w/o value to the search engine, so taking away the incentive to generate them mindlessly by program everywhere.

    I hope that helps you understand

    K<o>
    P.S.: To clarify, a "nofollow"-tag would be <nofollow ...> ... </nofollow>, which neither case above is. Strictly speaking "nofollow" is an attribute value used in two different tags/attributes.

  9. #9

    Re: The "nofollow" tag

    • And this is the interpretation of nofllow attribute by the individual search engines

    • Google takes "nofollow" literally and does not "follow" the link at all. That is supposedly their official statement, but experiments conducted by SEOs show conflicting results. They show instead that Google does follow the link, but does not index the linked-to page, unless it was in Google's index already for other reasons (such as other, non-nofollow links that point to the page). Links with "nofollow" are included in the backlinks reporting data at Google's Webmaster Central.
    • Yahoo! "follows it", but excludes it from their ranking calculation.
    • MSN Search respects "nofollow" as regards not counting the link in their ranking, but it is not proven whether or not MSN follows the link.
    • Ask.com does not use the attribute for anything.


    source: wikipaedia

  10. #10
    WebProWorld MVP Dubbya's Avatar
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    Re: The "nofollow" tag

    Quote Originally Posted by ushuiah View Post
    And this is the interpretation of nofllow attribute by the individual search engines
    Thanks!

    Or, you could just refer to the graphic in my post which says the same thing.

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