Because of the growth of the “link buying economy,” where companies’ entire business models are based on paid links that affect search engine rankings, Google launched “no-follow” back in 2005. While “no-follow” is not a new phenomenon it’s still important for sites like Pinterest who adhere to no-follow walking down the path of sites like Flickr and Wikipedia.
The opposite of a no-follow blog is a “do-follow” blog that allows any link-backs in the comments section of the blog. The benefit of having a do-follow blog is you may get more comments from other bloggers looking to increase their page rank says blogger Jaspreet Chahal. He says that bloggers often seek out these blogs in particular and there are lists of strictly do-follow blogs. If you have a do-follow blog you will attract more comments–but possibly from commenters only interested in increasing their SEO rank. If you decide to leverage do-follow, while it will attract bloggers looking for some time in the sun, your blog could be attacked by spam. You could harm your blog by leveraging do-follow “flowing PageRank to potentially spammy/inappropriate sites.” This would be destructive to your Google page rank, according to blogger Lisa Irby.
Google did this in reaction to [according to Google]” …some SEOs and webmasters [who] engage in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.”
Google interprets the no-follow to mean that the linked site isn’t necessarily relevant to the page that it links to.
Google says: “Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such. This can be done in several ways, such as:
- Adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the <a> tag
- Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file”
Here at Linqia we believe that while SEO is important, authentic content that inspires, entertains, educates or informs remains a priority. And it looks like Google feels the same way as Google informally announced at SXSW plans to level the playing field with sites that are “overly optimized” to sites that focus more on content. Solid authentic engagement is equally important, arguably much more so, than SEO.
No matter what you decide to do on your blog (no-follow versus do-follow), content should always be king, context queen. Continuity of posts and compliance with Google’s guidelines will help you ensure your continued success.