No Follow – That Big of a Deal Really?

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Folks in SEO/SEM, webmaster-type circle have a tendency to get all fired up over ‘no follow’. There seems to be a prevalent misconception that a no followed link is worthless. The fact of the matter is, that simply isn’t the case. Loren Baker recently made a really cool and concise post that does a fantastic job of explaining what exactly ‘no follow’ means to the various search engines.

The basic conclusion drawn is that some value should be associated with ‘no follow’ links. Yahoo and Ask both handle a ‘no follow’ link quite differently compared to Google’s rather extreme policy of essentially ignoring the link completely. Ask, for example, evidently doesn’t give a whit about ‘no follow’ – they don’t even support ‘no follow’. So if Ask is your game… ‘no follow’ is a non issue. Yahoo is somewhere in between. Yahoo will follow a ‘no follow’ but no attribution will be given to the target. In other words, they will crawl the link but you won’t get any benefit from the anchor text/attribution etc.

So there you have it. Loren does a good job of explaining how and why ‘no follow’ shouldn’t be regarded as worthless. Technically speaking, he’s absolutely correct. Ask doesn’t support ‘no follow’, so you’re gold there… and Yahoo does, in fact, index the links at least – so that’s something, I guess.

In the end, I suppose all you folks making all your money and getting all your traffic from Ask and Yahoo really don’t have much of anything to worry about in terms of ‘no follow’. For the other 90% of the web businesses in world however, I think we can and should all still be a little irritated about the whole ‘no follow’ thing.

Personally, I think it’s a Draconian stopgap solution to a certain (I won’t name any names) search engine’s inflated value on links as a basis for their ranking algorithm. On Lauren’s post there is a comment to the effect that it was hoped that sites would develop ways to adopt “less-absolute” approaches to ‘no follow’ .

I’m glad they’re at least hoping everybody else will take care of this for them. How innovative.

No Follow – That Big of a Deal Really?
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About Mike McDonald
Mike has been covering ebusiness and the search industry for WebProNews since 2000. Follow me on Twitter! WebProNews Writer
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