This week I was pulled up on my comment links having the default “no-follow” attribute. This led to me installing the WordPress “do-follow” plugin and also to questions about if no-followed links have any value.
First of all let me explain what “no-follow” means. The idea was hatched to prevent spammers profiting from carpet-bombing blogs with their links. Adding the “rel=nofollow” attribute to comment links was supposed to tell the search engines “I don’t trust this link one bit, do not give it any credit”.
Problem is, No-Follow Sucks. It was meant to stop spam but of course it doesn’t. Not even a tiny little bit. Spammers don’t even check for the attribute, they don’t care. Spam is performed by brute-force automated robots, low-wagers paid on quantity or idiots. The only people potentially inconvenienced by it are the innocent bloggers by way of collateral link-juice damage.
But WordPress and co plonked it on our links anyway and felt all warm and fuzzy doing it. Huzzah. So we have to resort to workarounds now to credit comments with the link juice they deserve. Most people however don’t or can’t which means when you comment your links do not (in theory at least) pass any search engine credit to your site.
So if we are now seeing our comments and trackback links shrouded in a link condom, should we not bother commenting?
- Commenting is always good, do it without even thinking about SEO and you will be a better commenter for it.
- Every search engine treats links differently.
- No engine has ever been 100% explicit in how they treat them.
- nofollow = no trust, not ignore. For example no-follow and redirect links do appear in Yahoo!
- I take whatever links I can get and let search engines deal with them how they may.
- Links beget links, the original might not pass “juice” but every visitor is another chance at another link, the more links you get the more links you get so take links you are offered with gratitude.