Nofollow Monstrosity

(for people who don’t know, ‘nofollow’ is a word inside a link telling search engine not to give any credit to that link. why would anyone use it? to discourage spam.)

Many people wrote about this topic, but I want to focus on something that others did not dedicate enough attention to.

People increasingly use social sites, and sites that are built by user contributions. There are so many great things that resulted from this (one of my favorite reference sources is Wikipedia which is built by millions of users). However, there are some serious consequences caused by the introduction of ‘nofollow’ that many people are not aware of.

  1. Internet is rapidly going thru a PageRank concentration process (equivalent to real world capitalization where few people own most capital). PageRank is a very important factor that Google uses in determining where your site will rank when someone searches for relevant words. (why care about Google? 70% of searches are done with Google.) PageRank roughly tells how many other sites link to yours, and therefore how ‘important’ is your site. How is this PageRank capitalization happening? Many people link to social sites from their blogs and websites, and they rarely put ‘nofollow’ on their sites. Most social sites, on the other hand, started putting by default ‘nofollow’ on all external links. Consequence? For example, bookmark your new site ‘’ at ‘’. If you google for ‘example123′, page about it (with no content but the link and title) will be on top, while your site (with actual content) that you searched for will be below. Imagine what effect this PageRank capitalization has when you search for things other than your domain name!
  2. Each site and blog owner is contributing to this unknowingly and voluntarily. Do any of these look familiar? social bookmarks Most blogs and sites have at least few of these on almost every single page. Not a single one of these buttons has ‘nofollow’, meaning that people give a very good chunk of their site’s importance to these social sites (hint: importance that you give to these buttons is importance taken away from other internal links on your site). Most of social sites however, do have ‘nofollow’ on a link pointing back to peoples sites after users link to them for being good. Conclusion, people give them a lot of credit on almost every page, while these sites give nothing in return. (Two ‘good’ sites among these, that I know of, are Digg that does not have ‘nofollow’, and Slashdot that tries to identify real spam and puts ‘nofollow’ on those links only. There are probably few more.)
  3. This can be easily prevented, and PageRank can be re-distributed, in no time! Solution is very simple. ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. If you have a WordPress blog (as millions of internet users do), download plugins Antisocial and Nofollow Reciprocity. First one puts ‘nofollow’ on above buttons, second puts ‘nofollow’ on all external links pointing to ‘bad’ sites. If you are using some other blogging application, try to find similar nofollow plugins. Otherwise, or if you have a regular site, you can download Social Bookmark Buttons with Nofollow.

Note: PageRank and site importance explanations above are very simplified, but are good enough to backup the argument made in the article.

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Category: Blog Widgets, SEO Tips | Tags: , 22 comments »

22 Responses to “Nofollow Monstrosity”

  1. Jeff_

    Thank you for writing this article. Bloggers should be sharing their link equity with other bloggers, not wasting it on giant social-networking sites. I link to a handful of link-sharing/social-network sites and have added nofollow attributes to all of them. Thank you again for reminding us about this important issue.

  2. Army Kate

    The Nofollow tag was created simply to stop/prevent spamming (eg comment spam) simply because blogging became more and more frequent and it still does its job there. A different approach is indeed to manually approve them.

  3. Third Hatch

    I find it interesting how this blog phenomenon started and now it being controlled. The power struggle over PR is very similar to the power struggle over money in the US. The gap between the haves and have nots continues to widen as the haves come up with new ways to keep the have nots from getting anything they have.

  4. SolReka

    We must certainly stop the rot, and let blogs share links freely. Let’s put a stop to the dictatorial regimes the NWO has in store for us.

    The simple answer is to insert rel=follow on all links thereby overriding the default nofollow code

    Read more here

  5. TigerTom

    The real problem is that Go0gle is too powerful; it has a near-monopoly. That’s why people are forced to worry about PageRank; _their_ vague evaluation of your site.


    However, the Internet is quite popular movement DOFOLLOW. And to date, well-developed.
    NOFOLLOW really needed to prevent spam, or to correct placement of the importance of pages within the site – the internal optimization.

  7. keyword richness removed

    Yeah, nofollow makes life harder for SEOs and marketers and doesnt stop spammers at all. Google and other search engines would do the world a favor if they stopped acting like gods.

  8. Charlie R

    I have been struggling for some time to dig the essence of no follow and “do follow” and PR and link juice and social bookmarking and the whole search engines algorithm. Your post was very helpful!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Have a nice day!
    Charlie R ;)

  9. Alexander Villamizar

    Yeah, I think that in an ideal world nofollow should not be used, but my point of view is that Google implemented this to ‘protect’ the blogs and forums from spammers. But this blog offers a different point of view, which is really appreciated.

  10. Leonardo Medina

    I have installed “nofollow free” to made my blog ” do follow” but I am thinking about implementing this plugin to have some extra functionality. Infact I haven’t found or read about such plugin before. I am wondering where all good plugins are hidden.

  11. Dr. Green

    I prefer to use the LinkyLove plugin as this helps prevent people who comment on blogs just for PageRank.

  12. shaw

    Thanks for the info on social buttons. I haven’t started using them, but it never really occured to me that they would be do follow. I was wondering how they were able to gain so much authority. One thing I am considering adding to my blog is comment luv. If I understand right it allows for the most recent post to show up in the comment, effectively sharing 2 links with the commenter. That is what I call a nice gesture! Shaw

  13. Ryan

    I’ve been looking into whether or not to go do-follow or not. I was always afraid of the amount of spam it would bring in. However, with the plugins available now to fight spam, and now with that cool one to fight off bad links that you’ve posted about above, I guess there isn’t much reason not to make the move.
    Good post.

  14. keyword richness removed

    For the same reason many of my blogs suffered a lot and I have many good rankings but below to those social bookmarking sites ranks. For the same reason I didn’t encourage my users to bookmark me socially. I had similar solution for all m y blogs and now I love social media sites more than I could.

  15. Victor

    I find this post really useful, one of my blogs is a dofollow, and I have submitted to some social bookmarking sites, but I noticed as you have mentioned in your point no. 1, that whenever I search for some of my keywords, some bookmarking sites which i’ve submitted to comes first, just before my own site. Anyway, thanks for the advice of putting antisocial on my blog.

  16. Ed

    A very useful post though I don’t agree that having the social bookmarking buttons are negative for your site.

    I used to run a blog for my previous company, and we had a host of social bookmarking buttons using the “ShareThis” system. With interesting content on the blog (it was about modern architecture”, we had acquired over 100 daily visits, a PR of 4 and our readers were regularly bookimarking our articles. One day we received 800 from Stumble Upon.

    It’s far to easy to get hung up on PageRank and losing sight on what really matters on the web: content. Write good content, promote it properly and the links and SERPs will follow.

  17. keyword richness removed

    Not all who give comments to blog are spammers. There is akismet or TypePad to control them. And you can also manually check everyday if someone is spamming your website. Dofollow is good in a sense specially if you are building a good relationship with your visitor and trying to “socialize” with them.

  18. Jostmon

    You are a beautiful soul. I just realized today that my domain has over 1000 backlinks and not even one of them is being followed. Wish I could have been rewarded a little for all those comments I left. Oh well, I guess folks in the domain industry don’t believe in helping the little guys.

  19. keyword richness removed

    Nofollow is like the war on drugs – totally flawed. Drugs are illegal, but drug use is still rife. Spam has been “outlawed” by nofollow, but it too is still rife. Nofollow has failed in stopping spam. For this, it should not be allowed to persist and have the damaging PR-concentration effect that it does :)

  20. rel NoFollow, Google, PageRank Sculpting & SEO

    [...] wrote before about the rel nofollow monstrosity. It seems Google guys did finally realize something is terribly wrong with their [...]

  21. jay ess

    thank you for informing me about this dirty underhanded trick that so many of these gigantic social sites are pulling. i had no idea about this and never even thought about this. truly amazing what these sites are doing to hold on to their own page rank while taking from others. thank you.

  22. April

    My main concern has always been the amount of spam. You’re never quite sure how genuine people are and often they are too lazy to even write more than two words. I have a couple of dofollow blogs and most of the time I’m not sure if people have even read the post because they end up saying things that have nothing to do with what I have written.

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