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SEO Website Audit

Linking to Low-Authority Sites

June 2, 2010
Hi Jill,

I just signed up for your newsletter, which looks good. I have a question for you:

If websites have links pointing externally, is there a difference when pointing to high- or Photo Credit: the justified sinnerlow-authority sites? Is it good to use the nofollow tag when pointing to low-priority sites so that link juice doesn't leak out to low-ranking sites, but okay to use the dofollow tags when pointing to high-authority sites?

The sites that we point to are ALWAYS relevant material related to the link, but some of them are very small manufacturer sites with less PageRank and link juice than we have on our sites. Some of them don't do much Internet marketing and aren't held in high esteem in the eyes of the search engines, though they have all the specs for the products that we are linking to. Is it okay to follow them anyway, as long as the content is relevant?

Thank you,


++Jill's Response++

Hi Pam,

As long as the URLs you're pointing to within your website are being pointed to for good reason – that is, you want your site visitors to have more information or a recommendation – then it's all good regardless of the perceived authority. Obviously, you wouldn't want to point your site visitors to junky sites, so there shouldn't be an issue as to whether you should nofollow the links or not.

It's absolutely, positively 100% okay to follow them and point your visitors sites that don't have a high Google profile. How else will they ever become more of an authority? What if everyone thought it was bad and refused to link to a site that was helpful to their site visitors because they were worried about Google? It would completely throw off the natural balance of the Web and force Google into a new mode of determining a site's value.

In addition, you should be aware that there's no such thing as a "dofollow tag." All links are followable links by their very nature unless they have the rel=nofollow attribute on them, or the page itself is set with a nofollow meta tag.

Hope this helps!



Jill Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings, a Boston SEO Services Agency.

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