Some people are wondering why I have decided to remove the NOFOLLOW from the comments section of my posts using the “NoFollow Free” WordPress plugin. The answer is simple: to encourage discussion. Will there be some jackassess out there that will leave a “great post” comment just to get a link? Sure there will. When they do, I’ll delete them as SPAM. If it becomes too much for me to manage manually, I can always change it back.
The fact of the matter is that I want to encourage people to leave comments on MY blog. I also want to offer them something in return for doing so…and all I have to offer is a link back to your website. Sphinning a post is awesome…submitting it to StumbleUpon is much appreciated…bookmarking on Delicious.com or Digging a post is fantastic, but those things don’t actually get the person taking the time to do it ANYTHING.
Therefore, I’ve decided to remove the NOFOLLOW attribute from my comments section to see if it gives anyone incentive to actually carry on a conversation here. Oh, and for the record, you have to have left a specific number of comments already before the NOFOLLOW will be removed from the links. I set it at a purposely low number to weed out those who would initially use it as SPAM. :)
I started thinking more about my motivation for removing the NOFOLLOW from my comments after I’d gone to bed last night, so I decided to elaborate a bit more. First of all, I’m kinda new to the game of SEO. Not “new” as in the sense that I have no experience, but “new” in the sense that until recently “SEOAly” lived only in my head as a persona…a symbol of how I would go about learning more about how to promote a website on the Internet. She was the anonymous conscience…my guide for learning the ins & outs of SEO and trying to figure out how all of the puzzle pieces fit together to make up the big picture.
Once I decided to turn that conscience into a website, she became more of a muse. The site has become a place conduct testing of theories, like the internal use of NOFOLLOW to pages that are designated NOINDEX. It’s also a place to to chronicle some of my experiences based on testing different aspects of on-site SEO…like the use of NOSNIPPET. In the process, though, SEOAly has also become somewhat known and that loss of anonymity gives me the chance to get some of the best and brightest in the search marketing field to read what I’ve written and comment on it. For taking your valuable time to comment and participate in the discussion, you get a link – it’s not much, but in this game it’s the only “bonus” I have to give out.
Still no SPAM or PageRank issues to report. The naysayers that claimed removing the NOFOLLOW attribute from my comment links was a stupid idea appear to have been a bit off base. Aww…too bad. Looks like some people just don’t know as much as they thought they did about the repercussions of removing NOFOLLOW.
I’ve also seen this issue discussed on a wide variety of posts since this was originally published. Many of them have also elected to remove the NOFOLLOW attribute from their blog comments. Kudos to those of you who followed your instincts and didn’t allow yourself to be swayed by the know-it-alls in the SEO world. :)
Eric Lander says
Great job Aly, and a stance I agree with. See here:
And, I’ve opted *not* to link on my comment. You’d have me discussing this even without a free link :)
Funny, I’m just the opposite. I would prefer the only incentive to comment be for the sheer love of making your opinion known.
I have nofollow on my comments and STILL remove all the spam or worthless comments because I don’t want to have to decide whether the commenter commented for a link or because they were actually interested in the discussion.
I figure they’re here reading the post…that’s proof enough that they’re interested in the topic. I’m just looking to get some discussion going here at the lesser known SEOAly at this point for exposure. It’s not as if someone commenting here at SEOAly is going to get that comment in front of as many potential readers as if they commented on it at Sphinn. So, in that respect, I’m whoring myself for discussions – their motivation in sharing their opinion is moot, from my perspective.
That’s not to say controlling SPAM may one day become more effort than I wish to put into the endeavor, but – for now at least – if someone takes the time to participate in a discussion here the least I can do is give ’em a link back to their site for doing so. If I think what they shared is spammy content or that their sole motivation was just getting a link, I’ll just delete the comment. One has to have left a certain number of comments in the past to have the nofollow removed anyway.
Lesson here: share something valuable and you don’t have to worry about wasting your time writing something I may delete…or my time deleting it. :)
Thanks, Eric…by the way! Glad you’ve have been participating in the discussion anyway, with or without the NOFOLLOW. :) I’m also glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks someone taking the time to participate deserves a measly link back to their site.
So, here: http://www.ericlander.com/220.html
You do crack me up, Aly. You’re nofollowing your main categories but not comments.
Why in the world would you nofollow the main categories of your website?
The nofollow command was actually built into this WP template originally. I had taken it out for some time, but elected ultimately to put it back in. Why? I NOINDEX my category pages to help prevent duplicate content issues…no point passing link juice to pages that are NOINDEX in the first place.
Sri Naugbandi says
I could not help myself; I just had to be the jerk and link to myself.
Greatest Living SEO
That’s okay…if you’d have read carefully, you’d have noted that one must leave a “certain number” of comments before the NOFOLLOW is removed. And I can change that number at anytime.
I will also not hesitate to delete comments that don’t have anything to do with the discussion…which your comment doesn’t. This is your “get out of jail free” card.
Philip John says
I’m 100% behind you and Eric on this. I despise NOFOLLOW. IMO, it’s just a way to treat search engines differently from real visitors.
In fact, this post is a good example of why I think NOFOLLOWing comments is bad (unethical) practice. Eric’s comment struck a chord with me so I visited his site to subscribe to his blog so I can here more from him.
I would NEVER discourage my VISITORS from doing the same on my blog, so why discourage search engines?
The comments (so long as they aren’t jackass spam) could be incredibly valuable to my readers and so the authors deserve the appropriate value that is gained from having a link to their site.
It’s all about rule #4 of my ethical web philosophy (http://philipjohn.co.uk/ethical-web) which I’d love your comments on, Aly.
As a self-proclaimed Professional Ethics Proponent, I couldn’t agree more with you on #4 of The Ethical Web Philosophy, Philip! I encourage everyone to check out Philip’s philosophy at http://philipjohn.co.uk/ethical-web when you get the chance.
There are useful purposes to the NOFOLLOW tag. I understand what it’s original intended purpose and function was. We in SEO, though, are known for pushing envelopes and testing theories to determine how something intended for one purpose can be used for another. I am testing the use of NOFOLLOW on internal site links on this site as we speak, as a matter of fact.
I just don’t happen to be of the opinion that blog comments don’t deserve a link back to the author’s site. If it is a legitimate comment and contributes something to the discussion, the comment author deserves a link – plain and simple. I left Sri’s stupid comment above just so my reply to it would make sense (which, as you can see is still and will remain NOFOLLOW). Any further stupidity won’t be tolerated and I’ll just delete the comments altogether.
This isn’t really about LINKS – this is about my attempt to instigate discussions here at SEOAly.
Doug Heil says
I understand where you are coming from Aly, but I strongly disagree with your ends.
I’ll try to explain clearly and very short, to the point;
If your outgoing links to bad neighborhood ratio compared to your outgoing links to quality sites goes up, you’ve got major problems. That’s why most out there just prefer to use the nofollow tag so they don’t have to worry about link droppers in their comments screwing up things with that ratio.
Besides Aly; why wouldn’t you want good people to comment just because they want to help you and your blog members? The mindset of a blog owner OR a forums owner who thinks they need to give a link back that counts in Google is just nutty.
Point taken, Doug…but I disagree wholeheartedly.
First, it is as if we’ve all lost sight of the fact that I ultimately control which comments show up on my blog and which don’t. I will simply continue to manually delete the comments I feel are SPAM or that come from questionable sources.
Second, the would-be link droppers will not benefit from dropping links within their comments, as those links will remain NOFOLLOW. Only registered users – like myself – qualify to have the NOFOLLOW removed from the links within the comment itself. Since I control who registers and who doesn’t, there is no reason for someone to drop useless links within their comments because they will be NOFOLLOW anyway.
Even once someone has left enough comments to qualify to have the NOFOLLOW removed, it will link from their name (as you can see from the comments from both Philip and the “nice try” classified link from Sri above) – both of whom elected to include a URL…while Eric & Jill did not.
I think we’re losing sight of my ultimate intent here – it isn’t to generate 100 comments from 100 different people that all say, “great post”. I’m looking to generate discussions…between small or even large groups of people on the post’s topic. And those people, once they’ve established their desire to leave multiple comments and actively participate in the discussion deserve a link for taking the time to do it.
Doug Heil says
Yes; and I understand that totally. I don’t think you see what I’m saying Aly. Good people with good intentions will comment on your blog or my forums no matter if a link is given credit by Google. If that comment is good and helpful, readers will follow that link to the owner of the site via the link. Who cares if it gets any juice from Google? I don’t. Most quality people in this industry could not care less.
I would think you would only want quality people making comments, right? Why would you want someone who wants to discuss things with you, who is simply commenting because they know they are gaining a backlink from Google?
Do you see?
I’m simply trying to help Aly, as you can hopefully understand. No back link wanted at all. I could care less about it.
I hope this was more clear.
I absolutely see your point of view, Doug. And I appreciate your sharing your perspective. This is the very kind of conversation and discussion I hope to conduct here at SEOAly, so thank you for taking time to do so.
Link or no link, having the best in the business carry on a conversation on my blog increases my credibility and may help me to expose the SEO scammers and protect small business owners – which is among several goals of this website.
So, while the link from my site back to yours may have no value to you, identifying the “Eric Lander”, “Jill” and “Doug Heil” who are commenting to the small business owners (i.e. NOT industry insiders, but those clearly looking for information from the best in the business) STILL holds value for me.
On the flip side, I am among those who DO care about generating quality links back to my site in order to make it easier for my target audience – small business owners – to find my site in a keyword-based search in Google for a variety of search terms (i.e. the “Professional Ethics Proponent” and “SCAM Watch” aspects of the site).
Building links and thereby gaining authority with Google is very important to me – not so those in the industry know I exist, but so a small business owner who types “seo consultation” into a query find something from SEOAly that will help to educate them on the subject.
I believe there are a lot of SEOs just like me who are just starting out and to whom building link popularity are still important – and for that reason, I don’t see any harm in using NOFOLLOW in my site’s comment links.
I do want quality people making constructive and useful comments…which is why I have configured the plugin such that it does not reward spammers for dropping irrelevant links. I will also manually manage and remove any comments I believe to be SPAM.
Removing NOFOLLOW from legitimate comments will “reward” individuals who have quality content to contribute on an on-going basis and feel that they would benefit from the additional link popularity they receive in return. One can never have too many links, even to a quality site…right?
I also know how busy those people are. Taking the time to comment on my blog, rather than at Sphinn where it would be seen by a much larger audience, is very important to me. As such, the only thing I have to offer in return is a link back to their URL of choice.
There are good people out there with good intentions who will comment and participate in the discussion out of nothing more than the goodness of their hearts. I realize for people like you, Jill and Eric, perhaps continuing to build additional link popularity isn’t all that important…and that’s completely understandable.
For those of us in the “middle class”, though, all links from quality sources put us one step closer to our goals. So, the moral of the story – if for any reason you want to comment on my post, but don’t want a link back to your site, do as Eric, Jill and Doug – exercise your right to not receive a link by simply omitting your URL. :)
I understand your point of view completely…and now I hope you better understand mine! :)
Doug Heil says
Understood. I just think you are giving the wrong impression to even those new people you speak of. Others should want to comment, well, erm, hmm….. just because, and not because of some added value they will receive for a backlink. They get a link from your blog if they want, so that should be quite enough. The industry’s biggest problem is … doing things for and because of Google. Of course; using nofollow is because of Google as well, but you are not rewarding people for a comment because of Google when not using nofollow.
Another big problem is all the SEO bloggers out there and their nutty, crazy, idiotic “dofollow” blog and forums lists they make. Talk about why the industry looks soooo bad to those outside of it? It’s clear as to why.
Ramon Eijkemans says
I’m with Doug, although I agree with Aly that a blogger should give something in return to good commenters. But there are other ways to do it.
For example in a blogpost or a blogroll. If someone enters good comments on my site, I email them, link ourt to them in all kinds of ways, talk to them, add them to MSN/Gtalk/LinkedIn, etc. That is valuable also.
It’s just that comments are not under my control because of all the spam. I have betrer things to do than constantly editing comments..
Ramon Eijkemanss last blog post..Journalists show spammers how to write
Thank you Doug and Ramon for your comments. I completely see where you are coming from. In my case, comments ARE under my control – completely. SEOAly has not yet received enough of a following to take up much of my time manually controlling SPAM. Most of it is controlled by the way I set up the plugin…the measly few others, I can and will weed out myself. It is because of “nutty, crazy, idiotic…” bloggers out there that there need to be more legitimate, reputable SEOs sharing links with one another.
Doug, I’m not doing anything for or because of Google – nor do I expect or want those commenting on my posts doing so. Aside from trying to help small business owners looking for information on a topic by using by Google…which forces me to a certain extent to play by Google’s rules, create quality content and build link popularity proving its relevancy – everything visible to my site visitors is useful to my site visitors. I’m simply playing the game required to make it easier for my target audience – small business owners – to find the posts on SEOAly that will help them avoid wasting money and/or getting scammed.
NOFOLLOW aside, I want the people that visit my site to be able to benefit not only from what they’ve read here at SEOAly, but from what other reputable and long-standing SEO experts have to say on a given subject. The only way for them to do that is if there is a link to your site. A small business owner reading “Doug Heil” on the recent comments section of my home page has no way of knowing who you are within the industry and no opportunity to follow a link to learn more about you. That, in and of itself, hurts users.
I think we should just agree to disagree on this post. Y’all do it your way and I’ll do it mine! :)
Doug Heil says
No Aly. I’m all for giving a link out. But use nofollow because of all my explanations above. I’m not giving myself a link from here as I’m trying to make a point that not using nofollow should not make a difference to ANY quality commenter in here. I don’t get what you just wrote at all as that’s not what I’m saying.
I will make one final comment regarding the discussion to this point and then we can move on. Others can feel free to continue commenting, should you so desire! :)
As as an “up & comer…”, what do you suppose generates more exposure for me: leaving a comment on Sphinn or commenting on a lesser known, lesser trafficked blog (one in the same current circumstance as SEOAly, for example)?
The answer is simple, really – commenting on Sphinn will expose me to a far larger audience and I should, therefore, leave my comment there. That is, in fact, probably how a number of people who read SEOAly now learned of its existence in the first place…by reading comments I had left on Sphinn.
What incentive does someone in that position have for choosing to comment directly on my blog instead of Sphinn? A drop of link juice, that’s what. There are probably a number of reputable SEOs still in the “launch” phase of their sites and their careers to whom that additional link popularity is valuable. It’s my only bargaining chip at this point, and this is how I’m choosing to play it.
Also, please allow me to clarify how not leaving a link to your website when you leave comments hurts users, FOLLOW vs. NOFOLLOW issue aside. Regardless of your intentions, to anyone reading this post and your comments, “Doug Heil” is just an anonymous figure who, for all they know, could be trying to mislead or misinform them in some way.
Linking the comment author name to a website gives users the opportunity to follow the link to the website and learn more…which is the purpose of providing the link in the first place. NOFOLLOW or not, it helps to establish the comment author as an “expert”, rather than just some anonymous spammer leaving random comments based on opinion alone.
Do I expect Jill from High Rankings, Kim from Cre8pc, Rae from Sugarrae, or Josh from SEO Factor to leave a comment here because they value getting a link back from SEOAly to their site? Hell no – I’m not an idiot. But if any one of them were to participate in a discussion at SEOAly, it would certainly increase my credibility among the ethical members of the SEO / SEM industry. And, whether they value it or not, ongoing participation will get them back links.
Joshua Sciarrino says
Cool to see the Follow. :)
I wouldn’t ‘expect’ Kim or the other women commenting but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did. Namely Kim.
Your two years in the industry and I’ve only been 6 months. Yet, I’m puffed up. Horrible me. *smack*.
Seems I need another lesson in humility.
I like that little widget on your personality. Pretty cool.
Glad you like the widget! I can’t seem to resist those personality and IQ tests. :)
Jill & Kim both commented a bit on the “SEO Consultation Is Ruining The Reputation Of An Entire Industry” post at Sphinn…but I’ve yet to have any of them comment here.
I was surprised and thankful that they took the time to comment at Sphinn – especially since I didn’t deem it “Sphinn-worthy” and decided to just send it out to those following me on Twitter and let them decide. :) I am very thankful for their feedback…and I’m hoping to get similar discussions going here at SEOAly on a variety of topics.
Mike Dammann says
It shouldn’t be our job to add no-follows. It’s Google’s job to build an algorithm considering all factors of links given and come up with a solutions to make it all work regardless of some links not being given as a recommendation.
Mike Dammanns last blog post..Why no-follow is bad
My comments have not had a nofollow, thanks to the “dofollow” plugin, for a long, long time. Even before I required registration to be able to comment (due to an increase in smart spam bots and being tired of guessing). I just didn’t see the point in nofollowing comments since I moderate commenters. That said, I have a comment policy, which clearly says I’ll delete any comments by someone using a name like “Designer Jimmy Choo Shoes” no matter how relevant or good the comment is.
Raes last blog post..Did Twitter Lay Down for Google?
Also meant to mention… seems follow plugins are a bit more sophisticated now with them allowing you to wait until a user has x number of comments and also removing the follow from links withing their comments once they don’t have a “nofollow” on their comments here. Back in the day, dofollow was the only plugin doing it – I am pretty sure it unfollows all names from day one, but nofollows all links dropped within comments still.
Raes last blog post..Did Twitter Lay Down for Google?
I love the capability of the “NoFollow Free” plugin’s capability. It really is versatile and gives you control over how many comments one has to have made before the NOFOLLOW is removed and even whether the NOFOLLOW is ever removed from the links within the comments.
It also gives the option to remove the NOFOLLOW from registered users immediately…and, as with unregistered users, lets me control whether the links within the comments themselves should have the NOFOLLOW removed. I’m sure there will still be some SPAM I have to manually weed out, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay. :)
Michael D says
If you were seeking to create discussion it certainly worked.
I was not aware of the plugin so that’s something I’ll be checking out. It’s funny for me because in the SEO industry many people live in this link currency mentality. Not saying that’s a bad thing, quite the opposite.
In my main industry (healthcare) it’s amazing how few even understand the value of community participation and leaving comments, regardless if link juice is being passed.
I’m curious to see how this works out over the next few weeks/months.
Michael Ds last blog post..Asus Eee Box PC desktop setup testing
What I like about the idea of passing link juice to others in the industry is that it’s like word of mouth advertising that never shuts up. Participating in the conversation helps to build rapport online just like it does in person…but unlike personal conversations, you don’t have to keep answering the same questions over and over and over again.
Participating in conversations is the ONLY way to build a relationship with them online and establish yourself as an “industry expert” – both with colleagues and potential clients, as well. My goal in this “test” is to see if I can get some of those conversations happening here, rather than Sphinn or some more well-known site. I’m pleased with the outcome thus far. :)
john andrews says
Nice move. Links are meant to be followed. If Google can’t handle it, so be it.
I find it odd that some suggest it is the quality of the comment that matters, and they put nofollow in place saying (as above) that nofollow ensures comments are meaningful. On the contrary, if your blog is quality, Google can’t afford to penalize it because of the fluctuating nature of comment link destinations (or even the quality of the comments). You don’t control what changes at the other end of an apparently meaningful link.
Google knows a comment link from an editorial link.
By the way, I commented simply because you decided not to help Google wreck the web. Maybe some will say mine’s an example of the poor quality commenting you get when you don’t nofollow!
john andrewss last blog post..Google’s Figured Out Better Ways to Know About You
Even if they did say that and that were your intent, John, it wouldn’t matter. You’ve not yet participated enough to have the NOFOLLOW removed. Therein lies part of what I love about this plugin – my level of control over when the NOFOLLOW is removed giving me more ability to control SPAM somewhat automatically.
please not the NoFollow argument, to be honest I am only speaking from my own experience here, but the I got so much spam in my comments when I had the DoFollow plug in ..
DaveNs last blog post..MSN Messenger Down
Once SPAM becomes so much of an issue that the plugin level controls and my manual control aren’t enough, I will do as Rae has done in requiring people to register in order to comment. I considered that initially, but then decided it would ultimately discourage busy people – like Rae – from taking the time to comment. :)
It’s as if the world has forgotten that I have complete control over what links are NOFOLLOW and which aren’t. Furthermore, I have complete control over what comments show up on my blog and what don’t at all.
Having TOO MANY comments to weed through to determine which are legit and which aren’t…that’s the least of my worries at this point.
Btw, I Love the CommentLuv plugin, you may have converted me again !
DaveNs last blog post..MSN Messenger Down
I know! Isn’t it sweet? That’s a great plugin!
>>>I got so much spam in my comments when I had the DoFollow plug in
Dave, I agree with you there… it is why I went registration only and it has cut down the spam beyond belief – to almost nil aside from scrapers.
Raes last blog post..Did Twitter Lay Down for Google?
@rae I looked at the registration method but I thought If I’m way to lazy to register why would others
@daven if you couldn’t interest or piss someone off enough to register to comment, I’d be disappointed in you :)
In all honesty, I haven’t seen much of a dip in comments at all since going the reg method.
Besides, if what you have to say isn’t worth registering to you, I sure as hell doubt I’d miss the input ;-)
DITTO! But I don’t have the rep Rae has yet…and to some, registering just to leave a comment on my blog might fall into the “too much trouble” category.
I read Sugarrae long before I registered…it was when I had something I couldn’t resist commenting on that I registered. Had I known she removed the NOFOLLOW from her comments, I’d have registered and talked my ass off a whole lot sooner! HAHA! ;)
Thanks for the tip about the plugins. I was just wondering last night how to stop nofollowing.
@Rae I agree, what’s the point if you’re moderating? Plus WP has a good filter, so the obvious detritus goes away.
I want to have straight links because I hope it conveys some semantic meaning back to Google about what my site in a very organic way (as opposed to an unchanging sitewide blogroll).
I agree with you Jeremy…it’s an opportunity to build a correlation of sorts between the sites being linked to and from. I think ultimately that removing NOFOLLOW comment links is good for all…once you’ve established the best methods for controlling SPAM.
Stuart | Design Meme says
Do you think the follow / nofollow thing matters as much to people who aren’t talking about things like SEO, Pro Blogging, Adsense or similar topics? I’m not sure it would be much of an incentive to remove nofollow on my site wich is web design articles and firefox extensions.
Good question, Stuart…and the answer is simple: I believe any blog with the intent of encouraging discussion on a topic can benefit from removing the NOFOLLOW from their comments – provided you have a plugin that can help you police it like I do.
If you’ve written a post about a Firefox extension you’ve created and your goal is to generate a discussion about it, reward those willing to participate in the discussion by providing a link back to their site. When I say “police it…”, I mean by configuring the plugin such that one-time “great extension” comments do not have the NOFOLLOW function removed, but ongoing discussions by the same comment authors do. It’s a way of passing a little link love to those who deserve it most – and those are the individuals that are most active in the discussions on your blog.
The vast majority of people don’t know what FOLLOW vs. NOFOLLOW means and visually they’ll have no indication of such. It is, however, a way to reward your most active comment authors with some link juice…in return for their providing you with additional content that is relevant to your blog post.
Stuart | Design Meme says
Some of my posts get a lot of comments. This one had 270 comments + trackbacks: http://www.designmeme.com/new-firefox-extension-x-ray/
While others have a lot less. This one only has 4 comments + TB: http://www.designmeme.com/professor-x-for-firefox-3/
Would the 4 comment post have had a lot more discussion because of removing the nofollow? I’m not sure.
I definitely hear what you’re saying, but I’m just not sure that people’s motivation for leaving comments is whether they will or won’t get those links back to their site that Google will spider. For some topics definitely. For others, not as much.
For me personally, I’m more interested in the actual discussion, and maybe hoping the other people taking part in the discussion will want to check out what I’m working on as well. I usually assume a nofollow unless someone specifically says otherwise, and that usually doesn’t affect whether I post or not.
At any rate, it’ll be interesting to see if this works for you — and if you see an increase in your comments as a result of removing the nofollow. :)
Stuart | Design Memes last blog post..Professor X for Firefox 3
I can tell you in the short term that it has worked like a charm. :) The long term results remain to be seen.
In most industries the people commenting and discussing on the blog don’t even know that FOLLOW and NOFOLLOW exist, so I concede that point completely. But for people within “the middle class”, up & comers in the search marketing industry…the ones with SEO for Firefox enabled right now that can see which links are NOFOLLOW and which links are not, it can make a difference to whether they get a link in return. I’m at the stage where building link popularity from well-respected sources is still very important to me.
As busy as I am, if I have something to say and I know I will get a link as a result of taking the time to say it, I’m more likely to comment. And it’s never a “great post” or “totally disagree” BS post just to get a link…it’s a real comment that contributes real value to the discussion. That’s the kind of culture I’m attempting to build here. So far, it seems to be working…
ArteWorks SEO says
The fact that a website bleeds link juice because it links to other sites is so dumb. I know that part of the reasoning behind the nofollow is to prevent out of control link exchanging, but as many of you said, it doesn’t make sense from the user’s perspective. In a perfect world a website would not lose link flow just because they allowed a link out on a blog comment or whatever.
Props to you for trying this out.
ArteWorks SEOs last blog post..My Experience at OMS Seattle
I’m not so sure pages bleed link juice the way we all seem to assume. Right now this post is ranked on page one of Google for nofollow comments and it has been since the day after it was published. That’s part of this little “test” of mine, as well…
ArteWorks SEO says
boy oh boy, I hope you’re right :)
I guess we’ll see! ;)
Tanner (does Utah marketing) says
Please ignore this, I’m just looking for some link love.
Only joking. I have found that blogs which give links in comments a little bit of value receive A LOT more comments from readers, it’s bound to happen, right? And if you stay on top of things as a moderator of those comments they could really boost the value of your blog. So it’s a win win, right?
But – I wonder – if you let spammers get out of control when commenting, does that devalue your blog?
Funny, Tanner! ;) Thank you for your comments…I think the experiment I’ve done on this post proves that passing along a little link juice indeed does give some a little more of an incentive to participate in the conversation…and ultimately keep coming back to participate in others.
It especially rewards return visits to keep up on replies and leave new comments, as one of the SPAM control measures I have in place is that a single author has to have left a certain number of comments before the NOFOLLOW is removed from the link. That helps to control SPAM and the outgoing flow of link juice a bit for those who stop by and leave a single comment and never return. You can see (if you’ve got SEO for Firefox installed) that only Rae, Dave N and myself have left an adequate number of comments to have the NOFOLLOW removed.
Not only does WordPress’s Akismet does a pretty good job of recognizing and eliminating SPAM virtually automatically, the “NoFollow Free” plugin gives you the opportunity to control the removal of NOFOLLOW even further by configuring a number of options. Like how many comments an author must have left before the NOFOLLOW is removed from their link, whether or not the NOFOLLOW is removed just from the author name or from within the comments section, as well…I like it and I’d encourage anyone with a WordPress blog to check it out.
You’re absolutely right…as a moderator the responsibility ultimately falls to me to know who my post comments are passing link juice to. That’s why I like the aforementioned “NoFollow Free” plugin so much.
I think this is all a good experiment in how to remove the NOFOLLOW from a newer blog properly, giving some more experienced in the field a little incentive to participate in the conversation…without worrying so much about SPAM. Keep in mind, this experiment I’m conducting isn’t JUST about SEOAly and directed toward the search marketing industry insiders. This is about how I can help my future clients build blogs with a strong following and regular return visitors…blogs that encourage the best and brightest in their respective industries to participate in the conversations there – in much the same way all of you have here!
So far, all is well. I’ve gotten some great comments from a variety of people…like Rae Hoffman and Dave Naylor. ;) I’d say thus far the test is a success. If it ever crosses the line to “FAILURE”, I’ll be sure to write a post letting all of you know. :)
I don’t get what the big deal is personally? All those saying how bad an idea it is to actually offer the link back, why? Real question here is, “SEOAly, what is your goal for your blog?” If it is to generate conversation then I think you are succeeding! If it is to sell PR at a later stage, then you are failing dismally ;)
Either way you look at it, there are those that think it’s a dumb idea and those of us who think it’s a fine idea.
Good luck to you. um… should I now add in the “Great post” remark?
Thanks for joining in on the conversation, Robert. :) Conversation, knowledge gathering and sharing are the goals of SEOAly.com – not concerned with PR at all.
But, if you check out the links within the comments you’ll see that most are still indeed NOFOLLOW (as a result of how I’ve configured the plugin). So, I’ve actually accomplished 2 things: 1) generated a lot of comments on this post; and 2) maintained low number of external links that flow PR.
I can see both sides of the coin here for this one. You might get more dodgy comments but on the other hand, you’re not hoarding the link love. There must be a balance somewhere :) After some testing, I’m sure you’ll make the right decision.
Thus far this “test” is going just as I anticipated. You can be sure I will post again if circumstances change! :)
I have added dofollow to my blog as a result of reading this now. I just googled any random plugin so I don’t think it has the same functionality but I totally agree with you that it’s one of the best incentives you can give to your readers.
p.s. what’s with all the honies getting into SEO, I thought it’s supposed to be a geek field :p
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Aww…I’ll take that as a compliment, jackmo. :) As will the rest of the “honies” that are also “geeks” around…more than you might believe. It’s a common misconception. ;) Here are just a few:
Carolyn Shelby, Rebecca Kelley, Jane Copland, Rae Hoffman, Lara Kulpa, Lisa Barone and Lora Lufark…just to name a few. :)
Glad you like the post and that you’re trying out having FOLLOW links. Please come back and let us know how it turns out for you!
Mr. Swagga says
You STILL HAVE THE “NO-FOLLOW” unless I’m a little late and you added it back
y Stuart | Design Meme on
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As I noted in the post above, there are certain criteria that have to be met in order for the “NOFOLLOW” to be removed – like the number of comments you have to leave before it is removed and whether or not you’re a registered user. :)
This was a great read as we are almost ready to launch our new blog and I have been thinking about these issues.
I like the solution you came up with to reward “real” participants with removing the NOFOLLOW for their link after a certain number of posts. Very clever!
With the recent admission by Matt that nofollow no longer works the way we once believed it to, I think nofollow vs. follow argument is relatively moot.
Nevertheless, having links that are follow vs. links that are nofollow may still have some impact. How much is up for debate, but I still believe it is worth giving my most frequent commenters a link that is free of the nofollow attribute, whether its impact can be measured definitively or not.
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Just found your blog today and its quite nice. Interesting discussions and glad your blog like mine is a do follow. I agree it does increase the amount of discussions.
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