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Both today and tomorrow I’m going to be challenging you to look at the dofollow/nofollow debate from a new, fresh perspective. We’ve been programmed to believe that providing our readers with dofollow links is both rewarding to them and that it’s a great way to stick it to the man (Google).
There are actually several great arguments against Nofollow but I contend that many of them are myths and I’m about to show you why.
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 #1: NoFollow Discourages Comments
Don’t you think that if you’re advertising that you have ‘dofollow’ links and someone leaves a comment as a result that you are essentially paying them to talk to you? Isn’t that the same as buying friends? Sure you might lose out on a couple of people commenting on your site if you use the NoFollow tag, but when did it become right to essentially pay people to talk to you? That’s not building relationships.
Wouldn’t it be better for your community to focus on creating great content and drawing in people to enjoy it rather than building a false sense of community based on paying people to get involved in the conversation?
Don’t we all agree that comments provide an amazing sense of validation to an author? They can agree with the content or debate it but it still reveals that people are paying attention to what you have to say. By providing incentives to people to comment, that validation is completely false.
Suppose you write a worthless article. Instead of that article getting no comments that you would then internalize and would determine to produce better articles, the same worthless article gets 10 comments and you believe that it’s great.
On the other hand, I would prefer the zero comments because I would then notice that and learn from it. I would use that experience to learn and study so that I can build legitimately powerful and attractive content. I’ve done that and I now have some articles with nearly 300 comments.
Wouldn’t it be better to have amazing conversations in our comments sections that are purely driven by a passion for the subject being discussed rather than being driven by incentives?
Myth #2: NoFollow is Not Needed. Just Moderate Comments.
Random outbound links throughout the comment section can actually harm your authority and PageRank. This can actually be less beneficial to both those getting those dofollow links and to those hundreds or thousands of people who will now not find your content because Google won’t list your site. If Google feels like your content is random or sporadic based on the unusual and irrelevant links found in the comments section then they won’t list you and you’ll be missing out on a lot of potential members in your community.
If someone leaves you a good comment but their website is something that you are ashamed of because it’s porn, payday loans, pirated software, content that doesn’t relate to yours, content that’s not really helpful to anyone, or content that’s just generally worthless, that’s okay with you?
If not then you would have to click through on every single person’s comment and check out their site and see if it is something that you endorse? What if you start getting hundreds of comments per day or if you work a full time job and you are unable to do that?
There are many sites that I think are appropriate enough to leave the link in the author section of the comment but not appropriate enough for me to want to endorse them with a vote to Google. NoFollow is the solution to that dilemma.
In tomorrow’s article, I’m going to be dispelling the third and final myth surrounding the dofollow vs. nofollow debate.
In the meantime, however, I want your feedback. I want to know what type of links you use in your comments section on your blog and I want to know why.
Tomorrow I’ll let you know if the links at Site Sketch 101 are dofollow or nofollow. You might be surprised at what I tell you. Stay tuned.