YouTube Nofollows Most Outgoing Links

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Here’s a shocker: Wikipedia isn’t the only major site that uses “nofollow” on outgoing user-generated links; YouTube does it too.

I looked at the source code on a typical YouTube video page and discovered 137 rel=”nofollow” tags!

The strange thing is, YouTube doesn’t reserve the nofollow for outgoing links, they even slap it on links to other parts of YouTube. For example, the Related videos box in the sidebar, as well as the links to user’s profiles, all receive nofollows, even though those links present no search spam value.

If you do want to link from your YouTube video to your own website and keep the PageRank, fret not. Turns out, if you paste a link into the video description (the full link, including http://), YouTube will automatically turn it into a link, and won’t slap on a nofollow tag. Take advantage of this loophole, and be sure to link to your blog post when posting a video.

Google should be concerned about this, since sites that make heavy use of nofollow can skew the accuracy of search results. The technology behind Google is built on a certain philosophy, one that breaks down if one of the top ten sites on the internet does not follow. YouTube’s use of nofollow, by itself, is mostly harmless, but as a Google property, it sends a bad message on misuse of nofollow, and is an example Wikipedia can point to for its more complicated policy decision.

Eventually, nofollow, if used significantly by major sites, could break down the accuracy of Google and other search engines, forcing us to find a new method of determining search relevancy. Every legitimate link that gets a nofollow tilts the balance in the spammers favor by one more link. Big websites should only use it when absolutely necessary, and websites owned by search engines should be much smarter than this.

Oh, and Yahoo’s del.icio.us does it, too.

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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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  • http://www.day-trips.ca daytripsca

    It looks like YouTube has caught on and even sets nofollow on description links. No fair!

  • http://www.probilpleie.no Guest

    Do you use noflow here ?

  • http://lepixelshoppe.com Asuka_Aki

    Of coars it’s faire! Half of what is on youtube is worthless! Imagine if all spammers, frauders and myspace bloggers all got Google juice by uploading worthless videos and leaving a link in the description? You want link love? visit my blog and leave a a comment of value…

  • http://www.retraiteplus.fr maisonretraite

    Hye Guys (ands woman :-))

    now, i see in most blogs dofollow comments.
    do you think that wikipedia or youtube will also do this ?


  • http://www.owaks Video

    Good article and good website !
    Thks for all information

  • http://www.Movies.ie Irish Cinema

    Some of our video pages on Youtube come up in google toolbar as having a high pagerank – even with a highpage rank is it still set as nofollow I wonder? It’d be a big shame if it was.

  • http://techgeeks-online.com/ Angel

    I’m sure if yahoo made a video sharing site like youtube it would become very popular and google would think twice before they did this stuff. Just my opinion…

  • http://www.q-tuner.com Neodymium

    I think that Youtube at least should use “dofollow” on outgoing links in the stats box. Those links are sending a lot of visitors to Youtube, so they deserve a reward methinks.

  • Guest

    Yea YouTube needs to give back to the people that make it what it is. Give us dofollow for sure. It’s not like it will hurt them, they already have spammers on there now.

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  • http://vierundachzig.de/kostenlose-kreditkarte/ Kostenlose Kreditkarte

    Why do people use nofollow? Is it because they don`t want to give others the linkjuice?

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