Should Google Go The Rel=Follow Route? Opt In vs. Opt Out

May 1, 2009 • 7:42 am | comments (7) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

There is a pretty funny thread for anyone who is somewhat familiar with the SEO industry. A thread at Google Webmasters Help has this SEO who goes on a rant about the nofollow and what have happened to links. In fact, he says that Google should consider all links nofollow by default and require webmasters to add a rel="follow" to links that they deem respectable enough to deserve any link equity.

Here is the webmaster's post:

I'm thinking that I should just adopt a site-wide policy that all links have nofollow. Because of Google's PageRank algorithm, links have become a dirty thing that requires a lot of consideration, a cause for concerns and panic, an object of envy, conflict, fight, bitterness, etc.. Reading this forum is a good indication of the sad state of what "links" have become. And, it's all because of Google's PageRank algorithm. It would be simpler, easier, and healthier if all links had nofollow as a policy. In fact, I wish Google would do the opposite; require people to add rel="follow" only when you want to pass "link juice" to someone else. The truth of the matter is that everyone has to know what PageRank is these days and some degree of SEO, which means that everyone is perfectly aware of what value and power links have. No one is innocent. Everyone treats links like money whether we actually get paid for it or not. Links has become a currency of power. In the old days, when we used to call them "hyperllinks" they were just a mechanism for convenience.

Now how is that for a rant? I kind of agree. I mean, the nofollow link attribute was originally designed to prevent spam in blogs, forums, and any open web form. Now it is used for ads, for managing your internal PageRank and to penalize sites. I am not going to go off on a rant on the nofollow attribute, so I will stop there.

The Google Webmasters Help thread has a lot of discussion around the nofollow attribute. It makes for a fun, pre-weekend read.

Forum discussion at Google Webmasters Help.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: April 30, 2009


Matthew Lawson

05/01/2009 01:15 pm

No, because it would wipeout the web as it currently stands and all in bound links would be lost. Also natural blog link etc. many users wouldnt know how to do it therefore the site losses out.

Jim Gaudet

05/01/2009 02:56 pm

Nice, I agree too. I think the Follow is the best idea...

Michael Martinez

05/01/2009 05:19 pm

If Google wants people to use links as recommendations then "rel='follow'" actually makes more sense than anything they've proposed since the Backrub paper.


05/04/2009 01:17 am

No, rel=follow wont work. The only people using it will be spammers. Links coming from people who are innocent enough to count wont know about this technical BS. Agree with everything else tho..

Adam Snider

05/06/2009 05:43 pm

In some ways, I agree with this. My reasons are more or less the same as Barry's, so I won't go into more details. On the other hand, this would pretty much wipe out all existing link equity across the entire web. Unless Google grandfathered old links, this would pretty much destroy their ranking system and make Google pretty impotent for what would probably be a long period of time.

No Name

10/01/2009 03:14 pm

I don't like that fact that links are now becoming a paid investment. I say keep the "follow" for solid links.


11/28/2010 07:22 am

i think google used this as a barricade

blog comments powered by Disqus