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Why do top SEO bloggers use rel=”nofollow”

I spoke about the rel=”nofollow” tag a while back and thought I would talk about other bloggers using it. Many SEO blogs are still using rel=”nofollow”. I understand why Matt Cutts uses it. He works for the company that is trying to convince bloggers Google is trying to do something for them. But why are all the major SEO’s using it. They either use it or flat out don’t allow url’s or have some fancy redirect to do the same thing. Some even have posts about how stupid and useless nofloow is. rel=”nofollow” is not the solution. What they need to do is install proper spam detection like spamkarma and there are many good CAPTCHA programs out there. I know many of these people and they all to this day complain about comment spam. SEOMoz even made a big deal about how they use rel=”nofollow” because some of their commenter’s were linking to bad sites. It is funny that all they were worried about was what Google thought of them linking to these bad sites and not their readers. We still have to see these bad links. Obviously the rel=”nofollow” has not helped them at all. It is very simple to take off of your blog. There are at least 2 plugins that work great for WordPress. (plugin1, plugin2) If you guys are reading this please install one of these.

Here is a list of people that still show rel=”nofollow” or some other method to not link to people like redirects. The ones with *’s are the ones that have spoken out against rel=”nofollow”. Not all of these are SEO blogs some are blog written by SEO’s on some other subject.

www.wolf-howl.com *
www.oilman.ca *

This is not a comprehensive list.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Bill January 22, 2007, 11:48 am

    Hi David,

    I’ve changed it, but suspect that I won’t see any significant increase or drop in the amount of spam that I receive. If I do see a drastic increase, I’ll deactive that plugin pretty quickly.

  • Jim Westergren January 22, 2007, 12:02 pm

    Hi David,

    I have nofollow on and will keep having it on.


    1. I don’t want human commenters comment just to get a link. I want honest true comments because they want to say something.
    2. On some big articles I have hundreds of comments. Google says keep links under 100 per page and I try to follow that. Also I don’t want to waste all link juice I get to an article to the commenters instead of my own blog.

    Pingbacks are not nofollowed on my blog, they are followed.

  • WilliamC January 22, 2007, 12:45 pm

    David, good article and I agree that nofollow is not the way to beat spam.

    JimW, I agree with the first point you made, however the second one means you have made your blog more for google than the visitors that support it with their feedback and comments.

  • ogletree January 22, 2007, 12:46 pm

    If you have proper spam detection and people are leaving comments that are about the subject you have a reader. So what if they only did it for a link. You accomplished 2 things. 1. You got somebody to read your blog and 2. you got somebody to leave a comment that is about the post and that makes your blog look more important. The 100 per page link thing is a crock. Google has no problem with that. They may have a long time ago and even then the deal was that they stop looking at links at 100. It does not hurt your site.

    Do you really believe in PR leak. If that were true DMOZ would not rank for anything or any other directory. That is something that SEO’s need to stop believing and telling others.

  • aaron wall January 22, 2007, 12:53 pm

    I think getting about 30 to 60 manual blog spam comments a day makes me fear that if there wasn’t nofollow that would be increased about 10 fold.

  • Jim Westergren January 22, 2007, 1:36 pm


    I know there are no real problem with 100+ links but feel welcome to make the following experiement:
    2 identical sites and both have 10 links on their home page to important articles. Site A has 500 other links on the home page and site B has 0. The articles on site B will rank higher considering all else being equal. I am not talking about “PR leak” I am talking about PR distribution. Read the formula for PR again.

  • Jim Westergren January 22, 2007, 2:19 pm

    I agree with you that it is extremely difficult testing SEO in the SERPs. I guess we have different viewpoints on link juice or PR or whatever name we should call it. My theory is similar to the one that you should not buy links on pages that already has hundreds of other links as you will get a very little cut of the cake.

    I have for example one PR6 article with over 2K links to it according to yahoo. The article link to important other pages of mine. There are also 160 comments. In my theory if I dofollow them my links won’t get the same share of the articles juice. I could be wrong but that is what I believe.

    I just realized another stronger point. If I dofollow the comment links I should check them out to make sure they are not adult content, illegal etc which I have no time to do and that alone justifies me having nofollow.

    Anyways, do well David.

  • WebGuerrilla February 9, 2007, 8:36 pm

    I use it because it’s the default setting in WordPress for comments, and I’m really lazy. User contributed content is what it was originally designed for, so I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Hell, I might even turn it off if I new how… :)

  • thomas March 27, 2007, 1:43 am

    Jim if you are so bothered about having links to adult sites in the comments. why don’t you disable the URL field in your comments??

    I have a feeling you have the URL field as it acts as a magnet that attracts people to write comments. And you trick them by using nofollow, as not many follow the nofollow. Don’t you think that is unfair?

    Googlebot is advanced enough to recognize links present on comments and differentiate these links from other links present on regular pages. So I really don’t think your site can be penalized for that. If it does get penalized, google has to be a real dumb and primitive search engine, which it is not.

    The internet has to be free, so that all links are crawled, to ensure there are less sites present as the invisible web. All sites should be accessible to everyone. What wikipedia has done is wrong and what bloggers using nofollow do is wrong too. What’s wrong in helping a site get crawled?? What are you going to loose?

    Share what you have and you will get more..

  • Karl Sultana April 1, 2007, 6:27 am

    The nofollow tag is very useful in many other cases not just for dublicate content issues. For example I use linkmetro.com to do article exchanges.

    Many webmasters take weeks before they approve the article exchange. Within that period I use the nofollow tag in the link inside their articles. That’s also the cause with certain type of link exchanges.

  • Eduard January 25, 2008, 6:33 pm

    Its not as bad as it sounds.. it’s optionally realy. i guess you can disable it on blogging sites via an option group. And besides, to SEO ‘the neighborhood’ counts. I-follow mode is good in theory, in practice lot of peoples abuse it ..

  • rohit sinha May 23, 2009, 2:19 pm

    you did not at all here mentioned here that whether u support no follow or not. I think that using captcha is a better idea as u said rather than using no follow.

    • ogletree May 23, 2009, 3:28 pm

      I do not use nofollow. Why would I use it after making such a big deal about not using it. I did take out your links because I can tell you really don’t care about the conversation and are just trying to get a link.

  • Bobby January 12, 2011, 10:00 pm

    If you store all your link building work in backlinkreporter.com (it beats an excel spreadsheet hands down – its web-based) you can see the PR, nofollow warnings and even see if links die suddenly. It’s a great tool.

  • Loren Lopez May 3, 2011, 7:21 am

    I think getting about 30 to 60 manual blog spam comments a day makes me fear that if there wasn’t nofollow that would be increased about 10 fold.

  • ogletree December 18, 2009, 1:32 pm

    There is no reason to do nofollow. Nofollow only exists so that you can help Google do their job. nofollow does not preserve your PR. Dofollow does not leak your PR. I don’t use nofollow and my sites ranks just fine.