August 24, 2006

Not posting at nofollow blogs

For some time I’ve had a personal policy about avoiding posting at blogs that use the nofollow tag. As more people, friends among them, start blogs, I’ve just revisited my policy. I’ve come to the decision that my policy works for me. Why?

  • The original purpose of nofollow was ostensibly to render outbound links "juiceless" (at least, supposedly, as determined by the search engines) — thereby discouraging blog spammers from dropping links in blogs. As I surmised prior to nofollow’s being implemented in WordPress, that hasn’t proved true at all. No surprise there.
  • Recent-ish comments from Google’s spokeperson Matt Cutts indicate that Google would also like us to nofollow advertisement links.

So what? Well, I’m a pretty prolific writer/poster, at least at various times. And, though I’ve been around for quite a while, I have no way of determining what this type of special tag will be used for, now or in the future. Fact is, it’s original purpose has already been changed by Google. It could change again.

So, let’s say that I post at many, or a handful, of hand-selected blogs and forums that employ nofollow. What does a search engine utilizing the criteria that Google says it uses today make of that? Thing is, we don’t know that search engines don’t assemble "site profiles" of some sort; in a way, I can’t see why they wouldn’t, even if they’re just a tallying of positive/negative marks based on info they find around the Web (for instance, in the same way that they are able to determine what is a bad neighborhood and who is linking to it). So, a search engine may see a "profile" that fails to note that I am a friend or fellow industry worker sharing thoughts, but instead indicates that I am either an advertiser or blog spammer. Or, if they tally nofollowed links against plain links, a prolific writer may end up with an inordinate number of nofollows. With, as the Texas oil millionaire’s daughter noted in Urban Cowboy, “all that that implies.”

Now, we know that WordPress, for one, builds nofollow into its software, though it’s pretty easy to dig out of there if you pay a little attention. Personally, I moderate my blogs, and there are almost never links in the comments anyway. I figure moderation is the price I pay for allowing people to post without lazily tacking on some sort of hidden “implication” (an implied devaluing) of their sites. As a result, they don’t pay the price for posting here and on my other blogs.

Now, I’d like to comment on a number of blogs on occasion. However, careful consideration dictates that I ensure that my sites not be penalized for the sake of showing someone else the courtesy — and camraderie — of posting on their sites.

Overly cautious? Perhaps. But I’ve done very well over the years by being overly cautious. And this Web game ain’t over yet. <grin>

2 Comments to "Not posting at nofollow blogs"

  1. Annie Brunson says:

    I’m fairly new to the whole blog posting thing. And I must admit, I’m still a little confused about the whole nofollow thing. It’s very tempting to get excited when you get to blog on a highly ranked nofollow site, but if I am understanding correctly, my backlink has no “juice” and will not be credited to my backlink count. There don’t seem to be that many relevant follow sites that have good rankings. I’ve read that one of the best ways to get backlinks is to post great articles and have them picked up by other people…is that a better way than blogging on “follow” sites?

  2. Diane Vigil says:

    It’s very similar, Annie. You might want to read Kalena Jordan’s article, Article Distribution vs. Guest Blogging: Is There a Difference?.

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