Does Using a NoFollow Attribute Raise a Red Flag at Google?

Feb 12, 2008 • 7:59 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

Eric Lander wrote a piece at Search Engine Journal named NoFollow: An SEO Red Flag? which sparked some interesting debate over in a Sphinn thread. The question at hand is, does using a nofollow attribute on many of your links raise a red flag over at Google and other search engines.

There is a lot of debate on if it would raise a red flag or not. Personally and currently, I think it wouldn't make you stand out by using it. I mean, if 99.9% of your links are nofollowed in your site, then maybe it might look incredibly weird. But I doubt Google will look deep into a site just because they use a nofollow attribute on many of their links.

But is it not possible? Historically there was accepted belief that those that deployed cloaking and used the noarchive tag were singled out and hand reviewed based on using the noarchive tag. Many old time SEO experts would swear by it, they may even have dates as to when this went down - I don't have the dates on me at this time. So the concept of using a Google provided tag or attribute that can be used by Google for manual review is not unthinkable. But in this case of the nofollow attribute, I just don't see it being done.

Forum discussion is heating up at Sphinn.

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Eric Lander

02/12/2008 02:51 pm

Thanks for the coverage on this Barry. I'm sure your readers will also contribute to a healthy discussion on the topic. It's certainly possible that my conspiracy-theorist approach to SEO from the early 2000's led me to this belief -- but it is simply a belief of mine. The topic has taken on a life of it's own and I'm amazed that the SEM community is so engrossed in this. It's really not that big of a deal. I have always seen nofollow as a tool to control spamming blogs or social media sites -- but the SEO industry has adopted nofollow as a tool within their arsenal for all sorts of sites.


02/13/2008 11:57 am

Using of no follow tag helps search engine to avoid only link counting as backlink, but it crawl the pages, cache in database and follow the links. Using of no follow tag does not create any bad impact on links and pages containing no follow tags.

No Name

02/13/2008 08:05 pm

I agree with Suresh. Using the no-follow attribute won't give negative impacts and this tag is helpful for a site rather in terms of polishing out the type of links of a certain site

No Name

02/13/2008 08:15 pm

No follow links are still great though they are given lesser weight by search engines and i don't think that an excessive use of it may raise a red flag on Google

Jacques Snyman

02/14/2008 11:35 am

Links are valuable for reasons other than search engine bots, people do click on them occasionally, and here a no-follow makes no difference. Webmasters are not keen to share their high page rank with lesser sites, so the no-follow attribute prevents your page rank from getting boosted because of a link from a higher pageranked site. It is still seen as a link though, and some value gets allocated that will help in search engine placings, your pagerank will just not get boosted because of the no-follow tag on the link. The whole red flag debate is a bit over the top, but do try and mix everything up as much as possible, as it seems the best way to about getting good results.

John Illnes

04/10/2008 07:32 am

The official claim is that links with the rel=nofollow attribute do not influence the search engine rankings of the target page. In addition to Google, Yahoo and MSN also support the rel=nofollow attribute. i think it helps indexing

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