I recently published two articles (Nofollow vs. Dofollow: The Verdict Is In and Nofollow: Is it Really the Spawn of Satan?) where I defended the position of using nofollow within the comment sections of blogs and I was immediately lashed out upon by those within the ‘dofollow’ movement.

Don’t miss the broader context of what I was trying to discuss in my two articles about the nofollow vs. dofollow issue. I played Devil’s advocate for two days in a row and pointed out some very legitimate reasons why it is perfectly acceptable to use the nofollow tag on comment links. The point was to stop the demonizing of those who use it.

I then concluded at the end of my second article with the fact that I use the same plugin that many dofollow proponents use. My site is a dofollow blog just as many of yours is.

My site is a dofollow site. Site Sketch 101 allows dofollow links for anyone who has left 5 comments on the site. I believe in rewarding those who are participating in the conversation.

I don’t, however, use it with a blind one-sided notion that it is a cure all and that people should avoid or demonize those who don’t use it. I’m not naive. I understand and respect both sides of the issue and my decision to be dofollow is built on a thorough knowledge, understanding and respect of both sides of this issue.

There are too many people who are defending one side or the other as if they are supporting “right” or “wrong.” This isn’t a moral issue. It is a personal preference and bloggers should not be attacked over this issue at all. I use dofollow links. One of my very close friends, Keith Bloemendaal at Hot Blog Tips uses nofollow links. Neither of us are better than the other because of our decision on this.

I was especially attacked for my statement that advertising your site as a dofollow blog can appear as though you are paying people to leave comments. It can appear as though the incentive is not to join the conversation but rather to gain PageRank link juice that we all hope and pray Google will pay attention to.

My point about paying for relationships is a valid point that the nofollow crowd brings up and it shouldn’t be dismissed. We should understand that those sentiments can and will exist. We should understand them and make our decision to be dofollow with an understanding of that possibility and not with a rejection of it.

In my mind the verdict is in and the verdict is this:

There is merit on both sides of the debate and whichever side you choose…you are right. That is the verdict.

Nicholas Cardot

About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.

31 Comments

  • Ron Leyba says:

    What ever side we are in, as long as we think that it is beneficial to all concerned, then that is the right thing to do.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Webthesurfi Rugs Webdesign =-.

  • Andrew K says:

    You’re right on Nick.

    Nofollow or dofollow, don’t tell me how to run my site.

    Either join the conversation because you have something worthwhile to say or (expletives removed) off.

    In other words, if someone argues that you MUST follow links to reciprocate and show appreciation to commenters, they’ve clearly missed the fact that those people are there only for the link.

    There are 1000 ways to show appreciation. A link is but 1 of them.

    Why isn’t it ok to pick 1 of the other 999 options available?

    • I agree. I’ve had people state very clearly that they believe that those who use dofollow and remove the nofollow are more giving, more caring and more community oriented than those who don’t and I find that to be 100% untrue.

      Nofollow doesn’t make someone bad. It doesn’t make your site less community oriented. It doesn’t do anything like that. I’ve seen people on both sides of this debate who are building amazing communities and I really feel that people who spend their time magnifying this tiny issue are really missing the broader picture of what a real blogging community is all about. It’s about rallying conversations around real content that matters.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: Retweet to Win a Dell Laptop on Mother’s Day =-.

  • Hey Nick,

    As always in this world, there are persons who just take things a bit too far and forget that each person, based on their own experiences, will have different perspectives and preferences. One man who prefers something else should not be rejected or lashed out against, especially with something as simple as do-follow vs. no-follow. One would think that it is a life or death scenario 🙂

    I agree with your verdict. It all depends on what each blogger is trying to achieve with their site and the values and culture that they would like to maintain. Do-follow or no-follow does not dictate success or failure for a blog, its the time spent to truly build the community by engaging readers and other bloggers, commanding influence and sticking to the visions and goals set for the blog.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: 6 Best WordPress Alternatives =-.

    • Right. And yet I hear people actively teaching their readers that they should ‘only’ be commenting on dofollow blogs and then they try to say that they aren’t commenting only for the dofollow links. Does that even make any sense?

      People think that follow and nofollow does dictate their ability to attract readers to a blog and we get mad at someone because they are nofollow or because they don’t even allow comments when in reality we are missing out on someone who has the potential to teach us a ton of mind-transforming information.

      Seth Godin is the perfect example of this. People refuse to accept a blogger who does not have a comment section and yet he is one of my all time favorite writers online. His material challenges me to think more than anyone else that I read. And yet several people have told me that they entirely reject him based on his commenting policy.

      Yet despite his comment policy he is able to attract thousands of subscribers. It’s because he understand the big picture. Write material that rallies people together and everything else is minor.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: Retweet to Win a Dell Laptop on Mother’s Day =-.

  • JohnFTM says:

    I’ve never seen a good reason to argue either side of this debate. Dofollow is just another form of reciprocation among many.

    Do we want our readers to feel like we’ll reciprocate in some way? Sure, a lot of us do. Who cares how we do it?

    What am I missing?
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: 100 Ways to Write a Better Blog Post =-.

    • You’re not missing anything. But why do we feel that it’s necessary to reciprocate at all? Why can’t we just focus on writing compelling content that rallies people together? I just can’t get over the fact that Seth Godin rallies thousands of people together and he doesn’t even have a comments section on his site.

      I think that we fail to realize that we reciprocate more to the community by providing useful information that challenges the way that they think than we do by simply giving them a little link.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: Retweet to Win a Dell Laptop on Mother’s Day =-.

      • JohnFTM says:

        Why would a new, local bookstore give you something extra just for shopping there, while Borders wouldn’t? It’s just a business decision.

        Why would a small blog offer incentives for commenting, while Seth Godin doesn’t even bother to have a comments section at all? Same reason.

        For that matter, what if some (insane) blogger actually offered cash incentive to comment? Even in that scenario, I can’t see why anyone should care. If the content is good, we’ll read it — and the buzz of their paid comments might actually make us notice it in the first place.
        .-= My Latest Blog Post: 100 Ways to Write a Better Blog Post =-.

  • Hi Nicholas,

    I think the most valuable element of your articles on the nofollow/dofollow debate, that some people seem to be missing, is that you take a look at both sides objectively, look at the pros and cons of each method … and then make it clear that we’re adults running our own blogs (and businesses in some cases) & are responsible for our own decisions, and no one else has the right to judge others decisions without knowing ALL the facts!

    So thanks once again for playing Devils Advocate – only by challenging dogma can we learn … and grow!

    Best wishes
    Tracey
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Planning your posting =-.

    • That’s exactly my goal and yet far too many people see only one side as right and refuse to acknowledge any merit on the other side of the issue. I think that by doing this that it really makes people look naive. When you only recognize half of an argument it makes it look like you are either naive or like you are trying to hide part of the truth. Either way it destroys your credibility on the issue in my opinion.

      When we can recognize and respect both sides then I believe that regardless of which side you stand on you can demonstrate yourself as someone who has made an informed, educated decision.

      I believe that we should be challenging the way we think about things every day. Don’t just follow where others lead but go where there is no trail and make one for others to follow.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: Retweet to Win a Dell Laptop on Mother’s Day =-.

  • Ed says:

    i totally agree. that is why i do not label my site as dofollow because spammers just want to the link love. but i do want to reward my commentators like you do. keep up the great posts and remember the verdict is whatever you want it to be
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Make Your Website Environmentally Friendly And Become An Eco Warrior =-.

    • Ed » We shouldn’t have to label our comments as anything. If that’s the determining factor for why they are going to leave a comment on my site then they are welcome to go somewhere else. That mindset is going to cripple them and keep them at the bottom of the blogosphere until they get so fed up with the internet that they end up giving up and quitting. If we want to make a splash online then we’ve got to stop following what everyone else is saying and we need to start thinking outside the box. I think that we often forget what it means to carry on a real conversation with someone. We don’t need to pay or promote our comments sections when people can clearly see that we’re ready and willing to carry on a real conversation with them.

      Comment links don’t matter to me. In fact, I probably get more high quality inbound links on my articles at Site Sketch 101 than most people do from comment dropping and I barely comment outside of my blog. I don’t have the time to as much as I would like, but I make myself approachable here and people take advantage of that. I may not be able to have the time to come over to your blog and leave a comment but I can empower you to take what you’ve learned from Site Sketch 101 and go back to your blog and build the same type of vibrant community. I want to empower other bloggers to build real conversations at their blogs and to know how to truly rally people together.

  • It baffles me why anyone would make comments dofollow. Does it not tell you something that all the top blogs on the web leave their links nofollow whilst all the newbie make money online blogs are promoting the fact they pass PR juice.

    Firstly, dofollow comments attracts spammers and those who only want a link back to their site. These people generally don’t want to take part in the conversation or leave a good comment, all they want is a link. Which is why so many dofollow blogs are littered with comments such as ‘nice article’ and ‘I agree, great post’. I’d rather my articles had no comments than that kind of crap.

    Secondly, those who use dofollow comments on their blog are probably doing so because their content isn’t good enough to be linked organically in articles and social media (thats true most of the time imho).

    More importantly, you hardly get any PR juice anyways. There is a myth that leaving comments on blogs will increase your PR somehow. It will but only by a tiny tiny tiny amount. Put it this way, you’d get more PR juice from a normal link within an article on a nofollow blog than you would from 50 comments on dofollow blogs.

    So why is this? Well, it’s pretty obvious once you know how PR works (which most of the dofollow group don’t seem to know).

    Let’s take a generic blog for example. The home page could have a page rank of 5. However, most internal articles (i.e. blog posts) will have a PR of 2 or 3.

    Now, any given page only has so much PR juice to pass on. If a page only has two outgoing links then the PR will be split evenly between those links. However, generally speaking, a blog post will have dozens of links.

    Every page on the blog will have links to category pages, important pages like about, contact, advertising etc, archives and more. These could take up about 10 to 30 links.

    So you now your PR 2 page is splitting it’s juice between 30 pages, each page getting the same amount of PR juice.

    Now, you need to add in several links (or more) within the article. So being prudent, let’s say there are 5 more links going externally. These pages have juiced passed to them in the same way as internal pages.

    So you now have 35 pages splitting juice from a PR 2 page.

    Now dofollow blogs usually attract a lot of comments (granted, of a poor quality). So to make my example simple, let’s say that there are 35 comments after the blog post.

    Now we this Page Rank 2 page needs to split it’s juice between 70 ways evenly.

    This essentially means that:

    * The sites you link to within your main article are given the same juice as the blogger who left the ‘great post’ comment.
    * The juice passed internally to your own blog is greatly reduced, which means that some of your own articles could have low PR (this is particularly true for articles with no incoming links from external sites i.e. the only links to the article are from within the blog).

    Put simply: dofollow attracts poor commenters, it reduces the PR of your blog pages, and the sites you link to in your main articles will get less PR juice passed to them.

    You need to remember that the page rank formula works exponentially, so one link from a PR 4 page is worth much more than a PR 3 (some suggest it uses a base 5 or 6 type logrithmic scale).

    My advice to you all is to keep your comment links nofollow and don’t waste your time promoting yourself through dofollow blogs either. Comment because you have something to say and spend the rest of your time working on your blog.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Install WordPress the easy way with WordPress Loader =-.

    • BIZZNURSE says:

      Hi Kevin, thanks for the share. Well, as a newbie, this technical things on “dofollow” and “nofollow” really make me think. I have went to both type of blog, and either they mention it or not. I mean, some blog would have promoted above the comment form saying”This is a Do-follow Blog” so please abide the rules mentioned etc…
      A fresh out from coconut newbie would not understand about it, but as they passed discussion like Nicholas has done out here, they will realize the potential of both harm and good brought by both ways.
      The problem is, most discussion would fall in one side, thus leading newbies to choose a profitable one they need while still struggling to get their PR.
      Well, if Nicholas doesn’t point out today that his blog is a blog is “a do-follow after 5 comments” I would have comment anyway. I mean, Dofollow or Nofollow, as long you are being a good host, people will come and drop comments.
      Everyone got their own views and its an open discussion…
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: Make Money Blogging being an Affiliate =-.

      • Yes I can appreciate that it can be confusing for those new to online marketing etc.

        My advice to you is just to concentrate on writing good content and connecting with your readers.

        Nicholas – I honestly don’t think you need to offer dofollow after 5 comments. You already have commentluv installed, plus most readers here enjoy contributing and aren’t looking for a free link or anything like that. 🙂
        .-= My Latest Blog Post: Install WordPress the easy way with WordPress Loader =-.

      • mark says:

        I can see why this is a topic of interest for so many people. But, having said that, I do not really care much about it for any reason other than how it is a great case for people to try to convince others of their point of view.

        That is interesting for sure.

        I like the articles I like and comment where I think I can add something. Otherwise, there is so much else to get done.

        BIZZNURSE -the phrase “A fresh out from coconut newbie…” is great!!!

        Have a great day!
        .-= My Latest Blog Post: icebluebanana.com Grand Opening – 04/26/2010 =-.

    • Kevin Muldoon » I agree with you Kevin. I’m becoming more and more convinced with you that those who rally around the dofollow issue are really crippling their journey to the top of the blogosphere and I don’t say that because dofollow itself is so incredibly horrible. I say it because people are missing the big picture. Their crippling the way that they think and in turn they are sealing their fate as a mediocre blogger.

      I had someone comment recently that we need to be dofollow because let’s admit it, we can’t create new content anymore so we have to do something to attract new people to get involved. Think about that mindset for a minute. They believe that people lack the creative enterprise to get out there and present a new opinion, a new voice and a new reason to rally themselves into a community. I disagree with that and I think that it’s the exact type of mindset that keeps people from doing those very things. Of course, if they believe that they are unable to do it then they are going to be unable. I’ll be honest, I’m confident that I can do it and I’m not going to allow my paradigm to be crushed like that.

      Every season on TV there are new shows that fight for the spotlight. Every year new movies are coming out. Avatar just surpassed all other movies as the highest grossing movie of all time. And I’m guessing that hollywood won’t run out of ideas for new movies and shows anytime soon. And the same is true with books, products and blogs. People just have to be creative and find ways to set themselves apart from the crowd and something as insignificant as a comment link is not going to be the way to do it.

      • haha that’s quality. What’s the point of doing anything if we can’t create anything new. I doubt that person will go far with that attitude.

        The dofollow blogs don’t bother that much because I don’t read them. They rarely offer quality original content, they are usually regurgitating thoughts and ideas from something they have read, rather than giving their own view on the subject. Most of these people are too scared to stand out from the crowd, yet that’s what they need to do to succeed.
        .-= My Latest Blog Post: Install WordPress the easy way with WordPress Loader =-.

        • Kevin Muldoon » I agree. I actually feel sorry for people with that attitude but I have a suspicion that many are plagued with those types of doubts. I hate to say it, but I agree with you. I think that many people in this crowd are using dofollow as a crutch to compensate for that lack of creativity. I think that people with this very attitude are destined for mediocrity because they refuse to change the way that they think. We have to change how we look at things. We need to shift our entire outlook of online communication and we need to learn how to provide something that really matters to people.

  • For me, The blog is great as long as the content as great — whether it is no follow or do follow.

    In my opinion, do follow blog may attract only a link seeker not a commentator. And if so, the conversation become nothing.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: How To Create Blog Logo Easily by Using GIMP #5 (Finish) =-.

    • Dana @ Blogging Tips Blog » That’s true. But ultimately the point is that there is nothing wrong with the decision to go either way with it and if people need to provide incentives for comments, then so be it. I think that ultimately bloggers will strengthen themselves by forgetting about comment links and learning what it truly means to create content and conversation that compels participation.

  • As a matter of fact, I don’t care if I’m posting a comment on a do-follow or a no-follow blog. I am aware of the benefits of do-follows etc. but I think that, with time, I just got bored (in the same way I got bore of MMO oriented blogs) with the discussions on whether I should be rewarded (with link juice) for commenting, even if I try to keep keywords in my handles. I’m certainly commenting because I want to do so.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Speeding your page load time will improve your Google ranking. =-.

    • Sachin @ Web Design Bureau of Mauritius » I guarantee that the type of commenting that you’re talking about will be far more effective on average than someone’s comments who is only compelled by the lust of gaining a link or with the goal of building self-promotion. If we could get all bloggers to comment when the feel compelled or drawn into the conversation then it would be amazing how effective the conversations online would be. People are afraid to really think and carry on real conversations. They want to say as much as they can to get a link without looking like their spamming. Let’s step it up and really just interact with people.

  • I don’t care one way or the other. I read people’s posts because I like the message. The people I follow teach me things and inspire me in ways that keep me going. I don’t care what it does to my website, I do it for what it does to my soul.

    I leave all my traffic up to Google. I don’t feel my links are attracting any new clients on these types of blogs. I find it intersting to read, but it does nothing for me. 🙂

  • Boni says:

    Using dofollow have a bad effect,
    like people will comment just for get good backlinks to their site. On the other side using nofollow have no bad effect, people just comment because they found it is very interesting to come to your blog and they give feedback, and if they found it is needed to give a comment.

    But i myself don’t really think dofollow is a bad one. It is like a gift to your customer because it is not give bad effect on google itself..

    Good article Nic, very interesting discussion.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Hello world! =-.

  • Vincent Chow says:

    I have recently installed CommentLuv and Top Commentators plugin for my blog, and links generated by both this plugin will all be nofollow.

    This doesn’t stop my comment count from growing and my readers don’t seem to mind at all.

    May I know which plugin you’re using to implement the “dofollow after 5 comments”?
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: ThemeGrade Premium WordPress Theme Contest =-.

  • Dotmarie1 says:

    Thank you once again!

  • Barbara says:

    I think that limiting dofollow-links to people who have left more than just one or two comments is a very good idea for some blogs.

    I don’t get many spam comments on my blog, so I don’t see any reason to use the nofollow-tag. When I do get a spam comment (or trackback), I delete it anyway.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Erfolgreich bloggen: Tipps zur Themenwahl =-.

  • Keith says:

    Nick, you have brought this discussion to a new level, and in a way that I was unable to because I get too pissed of at people that think in ways I can’t understand.

    Great discussion, and regardless of which side you stand on, the proof is in the pudding (or content in this case) and if your pudding sucks, then no one will eat it!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Blog Tip: Free E-Book Released =-.

  • Mohan says:

    Counter attack is the best way to defend at times… but not when one is playing devils advocate role! Good one.. all the best with your dell give away!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Indian PANGA League : IPL =-.

  • Mark Johnson says:

    I have just moved my blog over to be DOFOLLOW. I feel good about it. It does invite more spam admittedly, but that just gets deleted (I don’t know why they bother, but hey)

    My policy is this: If you just want to say “great post, thanks.” That’s fine, but you don’t get a link.

    Anyone who adds something of value to the discussion is rewarded with a DOFOLLOW link, even if they dis-agree with me.

    So far I have found that it actually encourages more substantial comments, and it hasn’t really increased the amount of spam I am seeing.

    Of course as I start getting more traffic this might change. But it’s nice to have an ideal of how the internet should be, even if it is one that will never happen.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: item descriptions – detailed versus vague =-.

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