No Follow Links

All About No Follow Links

By now, you probably realize the importance of incoming links to your
webpages. You will also have heard that not all links are created
equal.

Some links are of a much higher value than others, depending on the
authority levels ( due to pagerank, domain age and other factors ) of
the website’s that link to you.

But, there is another huge factor that determines the value of any in-
bound link – the no follow attribute.

So, what is the no follow attribute, and why should you be aware of it?

A no follow tag is a simple bit of html code added on to a link ( either
internal, or outbound ) which tells the google search engine bots to
ignore the link.

So, the link is still there for the website visitors’ convenience, but it
does not pass any authority or ranking power to the page it links to,
like a vote that doesn’t count.

So, as a website owner, it is vital that you understand this.

But why would google invent this?

To answer this question, we will need to briefly consider the concept
of page rank ( which is covered in detail in the understanding google
page rank
post ).

Page rank is a scale from 0 to 10, which google uses to describe the
importance of a webpage.

Pages with high page rank are less likely to link out to other websites,
unless they use the no follow tag.

But, why? The reason is what is known as page rank bleed. The idea
is that if a page with a page rank of 6, for example, linked out to other
pages, the page would lose some of its pr.

The more outbound links on the page, the more page rank bleed, or
so the theory goes.

When the rise of blogs, and comment spam ( where a bunch of visitors
leave worthless, irrelevant blog comments containing links back to their
sites ), bloggers went crazy for the no follow attribute to conserve the
page rank of their pages.

Whether page rank bleed is a real problem or not is a matter of debate,
but the fact is that the no follow tag is a very real issue.

So, what can you do about it? The fact is that if a link to your site is
no follow, as opposed to do follow, it is of very little, if any, good to
you from a ranking perspective ( from google, at least ).

Should you still build no follow links to your website, though?

Some people say yes – they reason that these links still count with the
other search engines ( which have a lower market share, by the way ).

Furthermore, many experts advocate getting a number of no follow links
in order to make one’s link profile look more natural, in spite of the puny
ranking value of such links.

So, what should you do?

Well, most seo experts speak from the perspective of engineering their
own links – if you do this, then it will be difficult to have a natural looking
link profile anyway. There are other, more natural, ways to build links.

We definitely wouldn’t recommend going to any trouble to orchestrate no
follow links – it doesn’t make sense.

If google doesn’t count them, why should you?

Plus, you’ll have trouble identifying sites that use the no follow tag. Even
if you use some of the excellent firefox plugins, like ‘no do follow’, its still
extra labour for no good reason.

If you are going to do research like this, do it to identify do follow links,
not no follow ones.

Don’t get overly concerned about adding no follow tags to your own links,
either.

So, to summarize – google is the main search engine to focus on. No follow
links are useless – if you get them naturally, fine, but don’t go hunting for
them.

Focus first and foremost on your own website content!

Feel free to have your say below…

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