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News About The Nofollow
Posted 01 April 2008 - 06:57 PM
I helped a .gov site on some unrelated database work and was in a meeting when a good discussion came up about this very topic. They were linking to some credible and vetted consumer related resources like bbb.org, ftc.gov. consumer.gov. consumerreports.com etc. In addition to "Consumer Reports" they had a list of the complaint sites where people can post complaints. They had legitimate concerns about two such sites (Rip Off Report and another one I can't remember) since people can't withdraw their complaints and the owner of the site accepts large payments from companies to "edit" the postings etc etc. At the same time it was also agreed that there may be legitimate postings on the site that may be helpful to some people. They initially were going to just remove the link from the site, but "nofollow" provided another option that seemed to make everyone happy.
They already had a disclaimer next to the link along the lines of "While there may be some legitimate complaints on the following websites, we cannot endorse or vouch for the credibility of the content." They wrote it more succinctly than that but that's the general idea.
So in this case, adding "nofollow" simply told the search engines the same thing they were telling humans - isn't that a good thing? I personally agree with its use in this case. I don't see anything wrong with displaying relevant options that you don't necessarily endorse but want to allow visitors to make that decision for themselves.
Overall, I think nofollow is overused but the notion that it's never appropriate is an overused belief.
Posted 01 April 2008 - 08:32 PM
But is does exist, right, and it does exist on my site, and it is good for my site, and even though I canīt own it in a legal sense or he absolute control over it, I can possess and control it in some sense, right?
I mean, that it isnīt tangible in the way my PC is, doesnīt mean that you canīt calculate to some extent.
We know that PR is one of the fundamental features of Googles algorithms, and of course there is rules to it, and I canīt understand why you then just will "forget about it", instead of trying to understand how those rules works.
Posted 01 April 2008 - 09:07 PM
No you can't.
Only Google controls the Real PR. Tomorrow they could take it away completely, increase it, decrease it or leave it the same and you would have no way to combat whatever they decided to do. If they chose to they could even remove all real PR and show PR10 in the Toolbar at any given monent. And you'd still have no recourse whatsoever.
You don't own or control PR. Real PR or the imagined Toolbar PR. Google does in the end.
Stop stressing over it so much. Link to sites where it makes sense to link to them because they offer something of value to your real users. Link to your own pages where it makes sense for real users.
If you choose not to accept this friendly advice don't blame me when you ultimately go crazy, or do something that gets your site dinged for paying too much attention to the search engnies and too little to users.
Posted 02 April 2008 - 02:15 AM
Posted 02 April 2008 - 07:04 AM
First you can't know if it's really PR 2 or PR 2's Real PR equivalent. Only Google can see this.
This small fact aside, if Google decided ding one site or the other, or just the link(s) between them for some reason... You borrow PR, both the real an imagined kind.
Let's try an analogy. Let's say you had borrowed my car and I let you do that. I loaned it to you freely and willfully. And have given you the right to drive it to your hearts content, granting you certain limited rights and privileges.
You get in a financial bind and decide to take a loan out on my car. Who is going to give you one? After all, I still own and control Title to the the car, so no one in their right mind is going to loan you any money since you do not own any interest in the car. Further, if the loan agent called me and told me what you're tyring to do, I'm going to take my car back and you'd have to find another way to get around town.
Another analogy along the same lines. Let's say you decided to give my car I'd loaned you away to charity or to one of your friends. Who do you think is going to end up with the car as soon as I find out you've done this? Not you. Not the charity or your friend.
This is much like PR. Google has loaned it to you, but has not granted you any rights to sell it or do much of anything else with it.
Posted 02 April 2008 - 10:05 AM
Which one Madams?
None of mine are really for sale, so you'll be overpaying one way or another. Even my old Intrepid would cost you twice what it's really worth.
Posted 02 April 2008 - 12:42 PM
If you don't want to give someone links (no you 1dmf, the collective you), then don't give them links. Don't go ahead and give them one but nofollow it. To me, it's sort of hypocritical!
Edit: as you told 1dmf, "you" is not referring to you Jill, but the editorial "you".
In the kinds of examples/reference points you probably have in mind, I would agree it's hypocritical.
With that comes the responsibility of accepting that the reverse is also true. So loosely referring to my example above: You already provide a statement for visitors that you personally don't endorse or necessarily trust the credibility of the a site, but have reason to believe that having the link on the page would provide value to some of your visitors. Therefore, you would like some option other than just removing the link from your site that keeps what you are telling/showing your visitors congruent with what you are telling the search engines. If there is no such option though you will remove the link entirely since both your personal credibility and your site's credibility with the search engines are more important to you than than the relatively small and "mixed" value the link provides to visitors.
So borrowing your good logic, by not using something like "nofollow" to tell the search engines the same thing you are telling your users, how is that not equally hypocritical?
Edited by bluenote, 02 April 2008 - 01:03 PM.
Posted 02 April 2008 - 03:47 PM
So yeah, I can definitely see where you're coming from there.
Posted 03 April 2008 - 04:22 AM
Don't lose sight of the fact that most of the world does not know about nofollow, and much of the content on the Web was written before nofollow even existed. So all search engine algorithms, if they are to be successful, need to take account of the fact that a link that the SE would ideally like to be labelled with nofollow will, in all likelihood, not be labelled with nofollow. Hence ...
You did the right thing and I probably would have done the same thing myself, but it should not have been necessary. "Nofollow" is too binary. There is no element of greyness. You can't use nofollow (or anything else in HTML-speak) to say "There is some good advice on the other end of this link, which is why I'm sending you there, but if you browse around the same site you may find some bad stuff which I don't really agree with. Proceed with caution."
Some thoughts for the PR hoarders ...
It's well known that Google uses many different ranking factors in its algorithms. Some say more than 100 individual factors, of which Pagerank is one. Many of the other factors are unknown, but one factor that could be taken into account is a page's hub factor, or something like it. In using nofollow to hoard Pagerank, you could destroy a page's hub factor. In addition, if you nofollow every outbound link on your site, you are guaranteeing that your site cannot be considered in the core of the web. Finally, there is a notion of a rank sink, which any site that nofollowed every outbound link would be, and which is dealt with by a process not defined by the Pagerank formula.
In other words, if you are using nofollow to hoard Pagerank then you may be doing yourself more harm than good and damaging your potential rankings. IMO it's much simpler to act naturally.
Posted 03 April 2008 - 05:06 AM
Well, isnīt that to say - presupposed that there is PR, although I canīt know exactly how much - that I actually can do something with it. I can loan to you Randy, what I loaned from from Google - without interest!
Are you seriosly completely in high PR-links for your own websites?
Posted 03 April 2008 - 06:27 AM
And as Alan pointed out above, it is not a certainty that actions you take will have the effect that you're intending. With the example of someone attempting to utilize nofollow to hoard PR (or sculpt it?) may well have the exact opposite effect on rankings than one intends.
Not to mention that except some relatively rare situations such as comments in Blogging software the one thing nofollow can be guaranteed to do is send a clear signal to the search engines is that the site in question has been SEO'd.
Posted 03 April 2008 - 07:02 AM
Given that I really don't like nofollow at all as it goes against all I believe in , I would say sculpting is a good use of nofollow and hoarding is a bad use of nofollow.
Posted 03 April 2008 - 12:10 PM
Do I sculpt my PR that gets passed to internal pages? I sure do!
Though it may be completely unintentional, I scuplt PR because of how I link my pages together, where my home page and the rest of my first level pages are at the top of the pyramid, second level pages are at the second level, and so on. This is done naturally because I construct my internal links to make sure real users can easily find the pages of my site that I consider to be the most important for them to find.
If I were to throw a 4th or 5th level page in my main navigation that I didn't consider to be very important it wouldn't make sense for users, let along the search engines.
As far as I'm concerned trying to sculpt PR via nofollow is bound to introduce some confusion into the picture for real users. If for no other reason than that you'd be introducing something to them far too early in the process at best, or introducing something that just doesn't need to be there at all because it has no value at worst.
What I don't understand is why in the world someone would want to purposely sabotage the usability and usefullness of their site, which is the only reason I can see for one to even consider using nofollow to sculpt PR.
Posted 03 April 2008 - 02:31 PM
Pagerank was invented when the Web was a bit different. There was no CSS and bandwidth was in short supply.
In these days of CSS and high bandwidth, a site may reasonably have a huge, spiderable navigation menu complete with pullrights on each page. The net effect of such a menu is to flatten the information architecture of the site and make all pages seem equally important in Pagerank terms.
Judicious use of nofollow can reintroduce the information architecture that the navigation menu destroyed, allowing the site owner to let Google know the true relative importance of each page.
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