no follow tag (rel="nofollow") has been adopted by Google,
Yahoo, MSN and the other major and minor search engines as a way
to thwart spam. The no follow tag was originally created for bloggers
who were being spammed in the comments area of their blogs with
ads for pharmaceuticals, home loans and even adult ads.
spammers contributed nothing to the blog but benefited from PageRank
with links that pointed to their own websites. The nofollow tag
simply says to a search engine to disregard this link as it is
not to a 'trusted' source. The page at the other end of the no
follow link will not benefit in PageRank. Most of the blog software
and services now put in the no follow tag automatically for links
in the comments area.
where the no follow tag is being used is on publisher websites
in on the sponsored link text. Google is especially keen on this
noting that sponsored links may in fact be links to bad neighborhoods
and should not gain from another site's PageRank. Yahoo disagrees
with this philosophy so there is a nice debate going on now about
the no follow tag in regard to sponsored links.
where one will definitely not want to use the no follow tag is
when doing reciprocal link trades. In a reciprocal link trade,
you're not only trading traffic with another website but PageRank
as well. If you place a no follow tag on the text link of one
of your reciprocal partners, this says a couple of things.
says that you don't trust the website that you're linking to enough
to endorse it (so why did you make the link trade in the first
place?). It also says that you're willing to cheat your partners
since they are giving your website PageRank in good faith that
you'll do the same and you are employing means that will deprive
them of this (so your link trade its not reciprocal).
It is also
important that you protect yourself from link partners who are
using the no follow tag to gyp you out of a truly reciprocal link
trade. Searching the source code on the link page where your link
appears from time to time will help you discover if the no follow
tag is being used or not.
the no follow tag is a good device when used properly, but like
so many other inventions for the Web, it is prone to misuse as
if you do want to pass on PR and reward those who comment on your
blog or message board you may want to go with the dofollow
tag that is gaining popularity. The dofollow encourages posters
and helps build communities, though you may have to fight more
spammers than usual using this method.