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Using Nofollow Tag On Your Own Internal Links?


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#91 Michael Martinez

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 11:02 PM

Where does Google say it will penalize sites simply for linking to "bad neighborhoods"?

I can think of one or two spam outings where Matt Cutts said that they identified spam pages in part by what they were linking to, but in those examples he pointed out other offenses -- usually including hidden text and other devious methods.

Simply linking to a bad neighborhood doesn't seem to incur any penalty that I've seen. It just doesn't help you achieve much trust with Google, and Matt has openly admitted they do use some sort of trust filters/factors.

I forget who, but one of the popular SEO bloggers advocates an 80/20 rule, where he says if 80% of your outbound links are to unquestionably good content, you can get away with linking to 20% questionable content (and in his context, that could be sites you know are spam, or just sites you know are new and unproven).

I feel there is indeed some sort of threshold like that, though I favor a more conservative 90/10 rule.

Google puts up with some questionable linkage from sites that generally provide good quality content and linkage. They put their foot down on things like deceptive content, paid links, advocating illegal activities, and so forth.

#92 torka

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 08:24 AM

QUOTE(Jill @ Sep 5 2006, 10:58 PM)
Second of all, who says the engines WON'T stand up and answer the questions about this attribute? (Or is this one a tag? wink.gif )
You're right, Jill, it's an attribute, the thread title notwithstanding... smile.gif

Tag: <a></a>
Attributes: href="whatever.html", rel="nofollow", onclick="someJavaScriptFunction()", etc.

--Torka mf_prop.gif

#93 Guest_Skanking_*

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 07:34 PM

Yes attribute not a tag. But whatever its called I don't like the way its currently used by SE's.

QUOTE
Where does Google say it will penalize sites simply for linking to "bad neighborhoods"?



"In particular, avoid links to web spammers or 'bad neighborhoods' on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links."

Source = http://www.google.co...py?answer=35769

Edited by Skanking, 07 September 2006 - 08:14 PM.


#94 Michael Martinez

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 12:38 PM

QUOTE(Skanking @ Sep 7 2006, 06:34 PM)
"In particular, avoid links to web spammers or 'bad neighborhoods' on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links."

Source = http://www.google.co...py?answer=35769
View Post


I'm quite familiar with the source, thank you, but they don't say they will penalize sites for doing that. They say that your ranking may be affected.

That's not splitting straws or drawing a fine distinction. There is no guarantee that you'll be penalized for linking to bad neighborhoods.

While it may be preferable, when helping people new to these concepts, to err on the side of caution, the bottom line is that it's not a clear-cut no-no. Many, many very good Web sites do link to bad neighborhoods for a variety of reasons and they go without penalty.

Some other folks in the SEO world use an 80/20 rule. I tend to go with a 90/10 rule. These are arbitrary rules, not hard-and-fast facts about what is allowable. But, generally speaking, it should be safe for most sites that have a rich selection of outbound links to link to a few suspect or not-so-well-trusted sites.

The search engines cannot dictate to whom we link, and even that particular guideline doesn't so much dictate as warn people that outbound linkage is taken into consideration and therefore common sense indicates that it's a good idea not to invest in a lot of links to "bad neighborhoods" (whatever a "bad neighborhood" is supposed to be).

Keep in mind, also, that since Google doesn't define what constitutes a "bad neighborhood" very clearly, most people are going to ignore that guideline altogether. Which is just as well. In the end, Google needs us more than we need Google because there is always another search engine but there is only one World Wide Web (proposed alternatives notwithstanding).

#95 qwerty

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 12:59 PM

OK, devil's advocate time.
QUOTE
...they don't say they will penalize sites for doing that. They say that your ranking may be affected.

That's not splitting straws or drawing a fine distinction. There is no guarantee that you'll be penalized for linking to bad neighborhoods.
There's no guarantee of anything. How many sites have you come across that have twice as much hidden text as visible, but don't appear to be penalized at all? The search engines can't catch absolutely everything. Even if something is caught and penalized, can you necessarily tell? No. Maybe without the penalty it would be ranking one space higher. Maybe it's the most relevant page to a query in spite of a penalty. We don't know, and we can't know.

The guidelines are just that. They're not hard and fast rules, because they can't be. Google strongly recommends that you not link to any bad neighborhoods. I figure the best way to deal with that is to refrain from linking to any sites that I consider to be bad neighborhoods, because Google's not going to tell me. Besides, why would I want to link to a page that's doing something that suggests I shouldn't trust it?

Is it possible that Google might deem a page that I considered ok a bad neighborhood? Yes. Is it possible that I might get penalized in some way for linking to it? Yes. So does that mean I shouldn't link out to any other site, just to be on the safe side? No way.

I link to pages that I think are of use to my readers. Period. If Google disagrees with me so strongly that they penalize me, I've got a problem, but I'm not going to link to some trashy page and hope it's not going to get me in trouble.

In other words, I don't worry about the 80/20 business. I just link to useful pages.

#96 Randy

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 05:47 PM

Forget being a devils advocate or politically incorrect Bob.

Michael, are you nuts?

Would you jeopardize any of your sites by knowingly linking out to a bunch of bad neighborhood sites?

If so, that's you're perogative. They're your sites after all.

But do not be trying to split hairs to say it may be okay for everybody else to link out to really 'y sites just because the Google Guidelines say that these links may affect someone's ranking instead of positively stating that they will.

Sorry, but just not into I'm not being politically correct today. That approach is quite simply foolish. For someone who supposedly knows something about SEO is even more foolish!

#97 Michael Martinez

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 06:34 PM

QUOTE(Randy @ Sep 8 2006, 04:47 PM)
Forget being a devils advocate or politically incorrect Bob.

Michael, are you nuts?

Would you jeopardize any of your sites by knowingly linking out to a bunch of bad neighborhood sites?


But what constitutes a bad neighborhood? Xenite links to a lot of new sites, for example. I have no control over where those sites link to or who links to them. So what if I link to a cool new cheese dip site that is trying to promote itself through some black hat SEO's services? Should I disown the link -- which I have already determined to be valuable to my visitors -- because the site may be deemed part of a "bad neighborhood"?

I agree with Bob wholeheartedly. I'm going to link to content I think is useful and valuable. I'll let the search engines sort it out.

QUOTE
But do not be trying to split hairs to say it may be okay for everybody else to link out to really 'y sites just because the Google Guidelines say that these links may affect someone's ranking instead of positively stating that they will.


It's hardly hair-splitting to point out that the Google guidelines do not either state definitively that all sites linking to so-called "bad neighborhoods" will be penalized or explain what actually is a "bad neighborhood".

That's equivalent to saying, "Okay, kids, go play in the park but don't break rule 13" without telling the children what rule 13 is or where they can find out what it is.

Those of us who have been around the SEO community a while feel strong that a "bad neighborhood" is determined by sites that have been identified as violating Google Webmaster guidelines in some collective fashion. i.e., they probably all link to each other, to the same other sites, and have a lot of common inbound linkage.

But the average Webmasters don't know anything about that sort of stuff, don't look into whether sites may be in "bad neighborhoods", and just link wherever they want.

I believe some innocent Webmasters probably get zinged by ignorance, but I think most are not penalized. I've seen no evidence that such penalization is widespread. Rather, they simply don't get credit for being trustworthy, but they can earn that credit by adding more links to trusted content sites and receiving more links from trusted content sites -- without necessarily having to remove their previous links.

There is nothing foolish about natural linking. It is the search engines' responsibilities to ensure they don't harm the reputations of good content sites, or to find ways for those sites to improve their results naturally. I think Google makes an effort to be flexible.

#98 Guest_Skanking_*

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 07:33 PM

Hi Michael Martinez

QUOTE
I forget who, but one of the popular SEO bloggers advocates an 80/20 rule, where he says if 80% of your outbound links are to unquestionably good content, you can get away with linking to 20% questionable content (and in his context, that could be sites you know are spam, or just sites you know are new and unproven).Some other folks in the SEO world use an 80/20 rule. I tend to go with a 90/10 rule.


OK so here you seem to say you know how to identify "questionable content and possible spam" and also indicate a awareness of unquestionable content and seem to be filtering your outbound links to a 90/10 rule.

QUOTE
I agree with Bob wholeheartedly. I'm going to link to content I think is useful and valuable. I'll let the search engines sort it out.


This seems to contradict the previous statement and say you link to valuable content without filtering. Is this a change of opinion from your previous post?

QUOTE
But what constitutes a bad neighborhood?


Do you need some help with this? I would be more than glad to post some tests you can do.

#99 Scottie

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 08:14 PM

QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Sep 8 2006, 07:34 PM)
But what constitutes a bad neighborhood?  Xenite links to a lot of new sites, for example. 
View Post


Since when is a new site a bad neighborhood? I'm not sure I see the connection.

#100 Michael Martinez

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 01:26 AM

QUOTE(Skanking @ Sep 8 2006, 06:33 PM)
QUOTE
I forget who, but one of the popular SEO bloggers advocates an 80/20 rule, where he says if 80% of your outbound links are to unquestionably good content, you can get away with linking to 20% questionable content (and in his context, that could be sites you know are spam, or just sites you know are new and unproven).Some other folks in the SEO world use an 80/20 rule. I tend to go with a 90/10 rule.

OK so here you seem to say you know how to identify "questionable content and possible spam" and also indicate a awareness of unquestionable content and seem to be filtering your outbound links to a 90/10 rule.


No, I'm just saying that if I feel other people may question the worthiness of a site, I'll probably link to such a site about 10% of the time. I still have to see some value in providing the link.

QUOTE
QUOTE
I agree with Bob wholeheartedly. I'm going to link to content I think is useful and valuable. I'll let the search engines sort it out.

This seems to contradict the previous statement and say you link to valuable content without filtering. Is this a change of opinion from your previous post?


See above.

QUOTE
Do you need some help with this? I would be more than glad to post some tests you can do.
View Post


Well, I'm always happy to look at what other people use to evaluate good versus bad neighborhoods.

But I would be more interested in an explanation of what you feel is a bad neighborhood, or a good one.


QUOTE(Scottie @ Sep 8 2006,07:14 PM)
QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Sep 8 2006,07:34 PM)

But what constitutes a bad neighborhood?  Xenite links to a lot of new sites, for example.


Since when is a new site a bad neighborhood? I'm not sure I see the connection.


Since when is a new site a good neighborhood? Where is the connection between any new site and any neighborhood, good or bad?

#101 Scottie

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 09:09 AM

Exactly. It's the way you put things, Micheal, that makes it seem like you want some of these Seo Myths to continue.

The bottom line is this: link to sites that provide your users with good information. You don't have to study their promotion techniques or the age of their site or their PR to help you decide if you should link to them. It's simple- if they provide valuable information, and you would recommend them to your users, link to them.

If the site provides good info but contains 3 inches of footer links to PPC sites (pills, porn and casinos) then think again. The owner obviously doesn't think much of their site if they are using it to pimp out unrelated sites. That (IMO) would make it a bad neighborhood and NOT something you would want to recommend to your users.

It's a good idea to check your links every now and then- I know I just went through one of my directories and found a ton of sites had gone under and the domains were bought by MFA sites and other undesirable content... I took them out but Lord only knows how long they were that way.

Did it affect my rankings? Not in the slightest.

The overall tone and feel of the directory is a well-edited highly themed directory for a specific industry- the fact that a few links to sites that were now bad neighborhoods existed didn't hurt anything. (But it's a very good idea to clean them up in order to have a better user experience!)

Linking decisions should not be all that difficult. Use common sense, think about whether you would honestly want your users to visit the site you are about to link to, and then make a choice.

If you really don't want your site associtated with the other site, don't link to it. Don't link to it with a nofollow, just don't link to it at all.

#102 Michael Martinez

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 10:38 AM

QUOTE(Scottie @ Sep 9 2006, 08:09 AM)
Exactly.  It's the way you put things, Micheal, that makes it seem like you want some of these [url=http://www.highrankings.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=15499]Seo Myths[/url] to continue.


I'm not sure what [url=http://www.highrankings.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=15499]Seo Myths[/url] you thought I might be wanting to continue, but I had an English professor in college who once said something like, "Idiom often makes us look like idiots".

QUOTE
If the site provides good info but contains 3 inches of footer links to PPC sites (pills, porn and casinos) then think again.  The owner obviously doesn't think much of their site if they are using it to pimp out unrelated sites.  That (IMO) would make it a bad neighborhood and NOT something you would want to recommend to your users.


I try to go easy on footer links, myself. However, there are people who use good content sites to promote affiliate sites they operate. That practice has been around forever. Maybe some of those site operators would feel their afffiliate pages are bad neighborhoods, but I suspect many of them would not feel that way.

I am pressing the good neighborhood / bad neighborhood issue because I want to know how other people define these concepts. I think general community perceptions are somewhat vague. We all have our points of view clearly in mind, but I seldom see them expressed with clarity.

Perhaps I should start a new discussion about the topic, as we have obviously veered off the point in this thread.

#103 Guest_Skanking_*

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 09:03 PM

QUOTE
I am pressing the good neighborhood / bad neighborhood issue because I want to know how other people define these concepts.


I for one would not be willing to discuss how spam and bad neighborhoods are identified. Trouble would be once a technique to identify spam is revealed then those sites would remove that way of identifying them.

But for google I will suggest you consider bad neighborhoods to be sites that have been removed from there index as a basic rule no.1.

#104 Bethers

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 10:46 AM

I'm going to ask all of you if you feel the same about no follow today as you did a year ago, or even 6 months ago?

I feel that it's going towards black hat seo to use no follow on links within my own site. However, it seems that much of the seo community is now touting it to bring up page rank by doing this and calling it siloing.

Jill, you have said earlier in this thread that this won't work. Do you sitll feel this way? I do, but it's getting harder and harder when so many out there (i.e. bruceclay.com/newsletter/0906/silos.html) are saying it's a valid seo tool today.

And what do you feel of this comment from Matt Cutts?
QUOTE
think of it as a tool to sculpt things at a link level. You always had page-level granularity (e.g. with nofollow as a meta tag on the page), but link-level tools were hacks (redirects through robots.txt pages, JavaScript, etc.).


I appreciate any and all comments.

#105 Jill

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 11:36 AM

QUOTE
I'm going to ask all of you if you feel the same about no follow today as you did a year ago, or even 6 months ago?


I feel the same.

QUOTE
I feel that it's going towards black hat seo to use no follow on links within my own site. However, it seems that much of the seo community is now touting it to bring up page rank by doing this and calling it siloing.


It's not blackhat anything. It's just dumb, imo, since it doesn't actually affect anything.




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