Yesterday I challenged you to look at nofollow in a different way that you had before. It’s not something that destroys our potential for building online relationships or communities. Throughout that post, I focused on dispelling several myths surrounding the dofollow vs. nofollow debate. Today we’re going to look at the third and final myth.
Note: Nofollow is a tag created by Google that identifies a link as one that should not be followed by search engines and as one that should not pass Page Rank through it into the linked site. It tells Google that although we are linking to the page, we are not vouching for or against its quality.
Myth #3: NoFollow is Evil. You are wrong for using it.
People are convinced that nofollow is evil. I actually hear people talk about it and pass moral judgment about it. I even heard one man use the word terrorist when talking about those who use the nofollow tag.
I’ve heard many people say that the first thing they do at a new blog is to determine the status of their comment links and that if they are dofollow it is a sign that the blogger is a generous, giving person. What!? People are actually kinder and more generous if they use dofollow links? That’s crazy. The follow or nofollow of a link has absolutely no bearing on the character of the blogger. It doesn’t make the blogger evil, unkind, or ungenerous.
Nofollow protects webmasters from harmful, random, or irrelevant links that can actually slow the growth and development of our communities by holding back the number of people who would otherwise be able to find us and join us through search engines.
Here’s some information from Matt Cutts explaining to us exactly how Google views comment links.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/v/NQfOhncTXRU[/youtube]
By reducing the low quality links in the comment section, you can boost your authority in Google’s eyes and improve the number of search engine traffic that you receive. This allows more people to be drawn into your community, and that’s better for you and for those people who have now discovered and been helped by your content.
I enjoy having posts with 50+ comments, and if I lose some of that, I know the ones that stopped commenting were only here for links anyway. The others comment because they have something to add, and I would rather have those comments because they are genuine.
Did you know that CopyBlogger, Problogger, Chris Brogan and many others use the nofollow tag at their websites? These are people who are building powerful communities around their respective niches. Nofollow is not a community killer.
The comment links on Site Sketch 101 are mixed with both follow and nofollow. Once you’ve posted 15 comments across the site, every comment that you have posted including the recent post link that appears at the bottom of each comment will automatically have the NoFollow tags removed.
I want to reward people who are actively participating in the conversation, but I don’t want to attract a bunch of drive by commenters who are only in it for the link. Once I’ve seen and approved those 15 comments then I know that I trust their links and that I can respect and reward their input.
Important Note: All of the trackbacks at Site Sketch 10 are dofollow. I believe that responding to one another with opinions on our own websites is a terrific way to build broader conversations throughout the blogosphere and I want to do whatever I can to continue encouraging this type of communication.
This is the balance that I’ve decided to claim in this debate. It allows me the comfort of knowing that I’m giving back to those who area part of the conversation but also that I’m not promoting a false sense of community by essentially paying people to comment.
What do you do at your website and why?