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rel="nofollow" Phil Payne 6/19/12 8:47 AM
I've still got an issue with this.

Apart from its automated use in bulletin board/forum software - which is a given - what reason can there possibly be to hand-code it on a specific link?

It's like cooking someone an omelette and pissing on it.
Re: rel="nofollow" ShopSafe 6/19/12 2:18 PM
It has a purpose for an advertising link, ie where an advertising banner or inducement text links to a landing page on the advertiser's site. Without the rule, advertisers would be able to buy their link profile.
Re: rel="nofollow" webado 6/19/12 7:36 PM
I tend to use it for links to mega star sites  - I figure they don't need my link juice ;)

Joking aside, I have a site (2 actually: one English and one French) and we have sponsors who donate prizes for a competition (some big companies like Sears and a  TV station, but mostly small companies), whose ads appear on every page of the site (maybe 15-20 on the English site and again the same on the French one). Those link all use rel="nofollow".  You can say they are for traffic.

However on one page of the site (where we present the various prizes) their sponsorship is discussed in detail. Those links do not have rel="nofollow".  You can say these are relevant.

I felt it was appropriate to do it this way. I like to think it makes a difference.
Re: rel="nofollow" Lysis 6/20/12 7:22 AM
>>  It's like cooking someone an omelette and pissing on it.

LOL I never nofollow links, but I don't post links just to post links.

The latest Google curb stomp has hit people who obviously bought links. When a real link is dropped, how many people actually just post the link or take the time to make sure it's got certain phrases in the anchor text? Real links don't have anchor text like that, but a real link could have the topic surrounding it with the link drop. These dumb spammers are just putting a huge target on their back with the anchor text BS, and I think that is part of the quality signal alerting Google.

For nofollow, I just think it's a hack to fix the issue when a site owner realizes he F's up and wants to actually take the time to clean up reciprocal links. Or lets say affiliate stuff like Amazon links which are so easily caught.
Re: rel="nofollow" Panda_Effects 6/20/12 7:27 AM
"lets say affiliate stuff like Amazon links which are so easily caught"

Let's see, Google used to be an affiliate of Amazon in their early days as a way to make income.  One person said that two people from Amazon are on Google's stock board.  Google favors big brand names which Amazon is.

Who is really at fault here?  Google could have started addressing issues years ago yet did not.  Amazon wanted all those affiliates to flood the internet and did not stop them from doing what was against Google polices.

Who are the real spammers?  Not that others should have done those, but again how they were taught by Amazon etc.
Re: rel="nofollow" Panda_Effects 6/20/12 7:32 AM

Matt Cutts (Google, Inc)
Jason Shellen (Blogger/Google)

Re: rel="nofollow" zihara 6/20/12 8:39 AM
Pre-Penguin, my WMT account showed me a couple hundred incoming links from Wikipedia (none that I placed - Wiki software tracks everyone and everything and that's a problem I don't need, especially as I'm an erstwhile "editor" and have donated/CCA-shared (I don't know how many hundreds of) photos over the years). Everyone knows Wikipedia automatically nofollows all links but that presence in WMT said to me that the Googlebot followed the links and perhaps gave some amount of rank-juice based on the relevance of what was on both sides of the link.

Post-Penguin, every one of those Wikipedia links is gone from my WMT list. Post-Penguin, Wikipedia has also seen a huge upsurge in linkspamming. The links to me are still in place on Wikipedia but I'm fully expecting nearly all non-"official" links to be disappeared from Wikipedia soon.

As far as Google goes, it looks like a complete and utter wipe of nearly everything in terms of referring backlinks, legitimate or not. I do still see a number of not "nofollow" links incoming from .gov, .mil and .edu sites but that number is down also. However, the vast majority of backlinks still registered in my WMT account are from crap sites, most of which I've never heard of.

So, as usual in these things, it looks like the Google nuclear strikes have done almost equal damage head-on and collaterally. In some respects, it looks like they demoted virtually the entire web with only a few sites not hit in some way. And, of course, like the cockroaches in a nuclear blast situation, many crap sites have survived and are thriving really nicely.
Re: rel="nofollow" Lysis 6/20/12 12:16 PM
>>  As far as Google goes, it looks like a complete and utter wipe of nearly everything in terms of referring backlinks, legitimate or not.

LOL You know how people complained that Google should get rid of PR? I kinda wonder if that's what has been done along with links not counting all that much. I think they still count, but I think they have more clearly defined a quality link from a non-quality one. My forum spam went way down right after Panda, but dumb forums like BHW keep spreading crap that the way to get out of Penguin is to xrumer more damn links, so now I'm back up to where I was. I've completely blocked the IP range for Russia, the Ukraine, Sweden and India now.
Re: rel="nofollow" fathom 6/20/12 2:34 PM
Constructively... NOT doing something isn't a prefect position to offer advice on it either.
By default... you can only say "I really do not know".
I did start a reference over here for nofollow validity
I do have a predetermined position on this but I all for disproving myself first.
Re: rel="nofollow" fathom 6/20/12 2:43 PM
I try to look at links from this position:
ALL "LINKS" are for patrons on that specific page... no matter where you are or what your wares are ALL links are for the viewing PATRONS only.
In that context all links should be rel="nofollow" on every domain UNLESS the domain owner themselves are providing some critique or criteria for the reason patrons MUST LEAVE their domain. This the inherent risk of offering a link - right? You are intentionally trying to force patrons or users away from you.
A perfect plan for a domain that has no patrons or users which is the first layer of shady motives.
The sense of value to our website patrons has gotten lost in the desire to rank better (or to take a bribe - some form of compensation to offset the loss of patrons. If the link IS ONLY FOR PATRONS the nofollow should not be an issue to anyone.
IF THE LINK IS FOR SOME OTHER BENEFIT THAT IS WHY IT MUST BE NOFOLLOW... or along with your alternative conpensation for offering the link is the risk risk of being devalued by Google.
Re: rel="nofollow" zihara 6/20/12 2:48 PM
What gets me in WMT is the list has been emptied but when I go to places where I know there were links, they're still there. So has the network not caught up with itself? Is it sending itself conflicting signals? Is it rebuilding the list from scratch after a total dump, using different criteria this time around? And then there's the real kicker: virtually all the links I miss most in that list were purely reward for me having done an excellent job and some complete and utter stranger somewhere (usually in a position of some respectable authority) re/commending me for it. Google seems to have thrown that baby well out with the bath water... Perhaps in time it will recover, perhaps not.

Other than some of the ads I get served from Google, I've never blocked anything... but I don't run any forums or other UGC-type operation either. I like my stuff completely locked down.
Re: rel="nofollow" Geminineil 6/20/12 2:54 PM
"What gets me in WMT is the list has been emptied but when I go to places where I know there were links, they're still there."

For me the matter of getting up-to-date data in WMT is far more important than some hypothetical 'dis-avow' tool that has recently been mentioned.. IF the data was live or even 3-4 weeks old in WMT webmasters would have a far greater chance of being able to deal with problems - as it is how can a webmaster 'know' which links Google is referring to?

I have read on here that 'if the link has gone (from the linking website) don't worry about it' - BUT how can webmasters be sure that Google is still not viewing old data....
Re: rel="nofollow" luzie 6/20/12 3:40 PM
>>> It's like cooking someone an omelette and pissing on it.

:D ... hehehe ... right. Google and other search engines should be half-semi-intelligent by now, so as not to need this nonsense anymore. It's nothing but a historical work-around Google have invented in times when their own so called PageRank went rampant and threatened to blow their weak ranking logics apart.

Re: rel="nofollow" fathom 6/20/12 4:14 PM
Ya the inherent problem with old devalued pages it "that"... there is little reason for Googlebot to recrawl, reindex, and recredit (or de-credit) something.
Also "is a PENGUIN re-RUN needed as well - after Googlebot to recrawl, reindex, and recredit (or de-credit) something or is that the same thing?
Re: rel="nofollow" Geminineil 6/20/12 4:17 PM
"there is little reason for Googlebot to recrawl, reindex, and recredit (or de-credit) something." to some extent I can agree with that.. BUT -  why does WMT show data that is so out of date.. if the data has no value then why keep it there...
Re: rel="nofollow" zihara 6/20/12 9:12 PM
Penguin, like Panda, doesn't run in real time on the live index. It's segregated: it runs on data that's stored on a separate infrastructure. That's why the data dump only happens now and then. It looks like they collect data, populate the offline database, run their specifically targeted (resource intensive) search algos, collect the names and then do the dump that kicks the asses. The Googlebot continues doing its daily thing, the dust settles, they run the collection algo again, tweak the variables and start the Penguin process all over again. So nowhere does it look like WMT is particularly out of date. I do know (via WMT and confirmed in my own raw web logs) that the Googlebot samples a couple thousand pages of mine every day. We don't know how long that data takes to migrate across Google's network but the live network seems to be reasonably quick about it: certain tweaks that I introduce as I go about my daily thing of updating code to html5 show up the same day. Things like AdSense reporting do have some latency built in but it never seems to be more than one hour off. These forums, as borked as they sometimes are, seem to be reasonably quick about populating new input, too. Blogger, Youtube, Google Sites: all new material gets indexed and is available in the SERPs in minutes, if not seconds. So I think folks are perhaps looking at the wrong signals and that Google might be pointing them at the wrong signals, too. I've seen so much waffling over <rel="nofollow"> by Googlers, never mind the rest of us serfs... and when I check out those sites that have been welded to the tops of the SERPs for years there's just no ambiguity. Is it the "official"? Is it the reputation? Is it the quality of info and presentation? It certainly isn't the <rel="nofollow"> or usual lack thereof...
Re: rel="nofollow" Geminineil 6/21/12 3:44 AM
an interesting insight.. thanks - I would question... "So nowhere does it look like WMT is particularly out of date." but then agree with "Google might be pointing them at the wrong signals,"  I have back links that were removed nearly 6 months ago and still show in WMT.... and those websites seem to have been spidered and pages cached much more recently....
Re: rel="nofollow" JohnMu 6/21/12 3:57 AM
Since you all are speculating that Google doesn't mean what it says, it seems a bit fruitless for me to post here, but anyway ... :-)

The information on is still valid. Using the rel=nofollow microformat prevents PageRank from passing. It's useful for potentially untrusted links (eg in UGC), it's useful for advertising, and to some extent, for crawl prioritization. There are some good examples listed in this thread - such as event sponsors, etc.. They aren't taken into account when we review sites with regard to paid links or other link schemes, nor are they used for things like authorship. We generally still show them in Webmaster Tools though, since these links may be bringing users to your site. If you're seeing issues with your site with regards to paid links, link schemes, or similarly, then apart from just removing those links (if they're just embarrassing), you could add the rel=nofollow instead, especially if you feel that these links have been useful in driving users to your site. 

Does that help? Anything missing?

Re: rel="nofollow" Lysis 6/21/12 4:02 AM
awww, JohnMu, we love you anyway.
Re: rel="nofollow" Geminineil 6/21/12 4:06 AM
Thanks John... the bottom line is that any (or all) 'no-follow' links will NOT be included in the "unnatural links"...  good to hear! :)
Re: rel="nofollow" zihara 6/21/12 5:15 AM
The question that never sees answer is this: does Google wag us dogs by tails we have no control over?  For someone who has never taken the blog/forum post route, the fake stumbleupon or digg route, never spammed FB and/or Twitter, or never paid for (or participated in) unnatural link schemes/exchanges of any sort, is that person still potentially under fire for producing materials that somehow draw linkspamming predators? One method of defense (sort of) against lazy scrapers and copy-pasters is to fill textual content with absolute links to other of our own materials... when that material gets stolen and plastered somewhere else (without rel=nofollow, because the original setting was internal to our own stuff) and the links don't get stripped out, what then? It might draw traffic and might point out the reality of the situation but does it draw the wrath of Google? It's not like we can hunt them down and force removal of the links. It's not like we can spend days and weeks searching them out and filing DMCAs with Google and multiple hosts. Is that under the heading of "acceptable collateral damage" or are the emails saying "You haven't removed enough unnatural links on other sites [you have no direct control over]" a red herring... Granted, a lot of people were just being stupid but I don't know anyone who can fix stupid, especially after the fact. And to suggest that it is exactly that fix that is required... This is a case where brutal honesty might be more kind: For many folks negatively affected it would perhaps be less wasteful of resources.

And the concept of wide open outbound links drawing incoming traffic is an interesting one... I use outbound links to recognized reputable sites as a service to my visitors but I'm also well aware that the concept of "service to visitors" is a rubber idea: it's the banner that AdSense flies under. And providing "service" via AdSense can also be quite problematic. The minefields are thick and heavy these days... and the fog above ground just gets thicker and thicker...
Re: rel="nofollow" Lysis 6/21/12 5:50 AM
Something I just want to point out is that JohnMu answers every question we have in the private area. He really is supportive, but I understand not all groups have a JohnMu. Every site I ask about, he helps and sometimes posts in the thread. The Webmaster Support section really does have the eye of Google and threads are being read.

I just hate to see Pierre, JohnMu, et al get lumped in with other group reputations, because they really do support us and our questions.
Re: rel="nofollow" zihara 6/21/12 6:13 AM
I have often patted JohnMu and Pierre on the back for their presence here and, usually, for their contributions. That said, some questions do go unanswered, I would suggest even in the back end. And some questions are answered in so many different ways in so many different places by different of Google's reps that the fog just seems to grow... In the end, we're all left flying solely by the seat of our pants.

I might also add that I'm a bit jealous: in my home forum we have long had a problem with a lack of Googler participation. It's fed by what looks like a constant HR churn. In the moment, I've stirred it all up and we're told discussions are happening. But whatever discussions are happening inside the black hole, we've had input but we have no insight. We've seen this before, we'll likely see it again. It's a cyclic thing that doesn't bode well for the future.

Another reason for my jealousy: much as I might complain about the fog, the Googler responses here are quite clear about what they explicitly are responding to. What we often see over there is Policy... and nothing generates more fog than pronouncements from those folks.
Re: rel="nofollow" Lysis 6/21/12 6:30 AM
It's OK zihara. You're like our big brother Adsense TC. :) I think we can commiserate on a lot of the issues.
Re: rel="nofollow" Danielhaim1 6/22/12 9:46 AM
Thanks for the insight John.
Re: rel="nofollow" Marcus - THB 6/26/12 1:22 PM
I agree.  I've always felt that placing nofollow on any links within your site, including links to external references, makes no sense.

If you feel the need to add nofollow to a link because it might not be considered trustworthy, then why are you linking to that site/page in the first place?
Re: rel="nofollow" Marcus - THB 6/26/12 1:26 PM

nofollow does not stop the crawler from actually following that link.  It only prevents the passing of any PageRank.  And even then, Google has noted that it still reserves the right to pass PageRank if it feels it's necessary, even with a nofollow in place.

"only a few sites not hit in some way"

Possibly because they spend millions on AdWords campaigns each month?  Dun dun dun.
Re: rel="nofollow" luzie 6/26/12 2:36 PM
You're kidding. They keep their Adsense and Organic Search as apart as fire is from ice. It's a vital part of their business strategy to let these business sections compete with each other, each targeting another goal.
Re: rel="nofollow" fathom 6/26/12 3:23 PM
You misunderstand the concept completely.
There are many different reasons for one webpage to link to another webpage... and not all are acceptable reasons to pass PageRank.
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