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Thread: The "nofollow" tag

  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
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  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]

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  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

    Re: The "nofollow" tag

    Hang on,
    I've got a links page on my site (Links - Trafalgar Marine Services) where all out going links are listed and I try not to link to others in the main portion of the site. I'm currently not using the nofollow attribute. Does this mean pagerank is being drained from this one links page? Or is PR being taken from every page in the site?

    I'm not bothered about the links page having a low PR because it's only there for customers but obviously the ranking of other pages is very important.

    The page is only a week old and Google hasn't got around to scanning the site/assigning pagerank yet. Have to wait and see what happens.

    Slightly confused, Michael
    Trafalgar Marine Services Ltd
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  9. #9
    Moderator mjtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: The "nofollow" tag

    Quote Originally Posted by RawFunk View Post
    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
    MSN and Yahoo also support no-follow; the attribute was originally introduced to combat blog spam, and recently Google asked sites to use the tag on any paid links.

    If you have read that nofollow use has resulted in lost ranking, please share that source with us. My understanding is quite the opposite; sites which have been discovered to sell links and *not* use no-follow have been penalized.
    Need to write a love letter to Google? I'm an SEO Copywriter Hidden Content Search Smart DesignŽ. | Travel Gypsy in Hidden Content . | Get the Hidden Content to SEO Web Design.

  10. #10
    Junior Member RawFunk's Avatar
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    Re: The "nofollow" tag

    Quote Originally Posted by mjtaylor View Post
    MSN and Yahoo also support no-follow; the attribute was originally introduced to combat blog spam, and recently Google asked sites to use the tag on any paid links.

    If you have read that nofollow use has resulted in lost ranking, please share that source with us. My understanding is quite the opposite; sites which have been discovered to sell links and *not* use no-follow have been penalized.
    Hi,

    As much as I'd like to share the source, I'm unable to as it was posted to a private forum of which I belong (part of the online gambling industry).

    However your final sentence draws light towards a possible non disclosure on the part of the poster I used as reference.

    It wouldn't surprise me if the site(s) in question were penalised not for the nofollow tag but in retrospect not using the nofollow tag for purchased 1 way links.


    Cheers

    Dave

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