50% Of SEOs Use Nofollows Internally & 50% Don't

Jul 20, 2010 • 8:20 am | comments (10) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Despite the advice of Google's Matt Cutts, SEOs are continuing to use the nofollow attribute for internal linking. A few weeks ago, Matt advised against using the nofollow for internal linkage and PageRank sculpting.

We decided to run a poll asking SEOs if they agree with it. Believe it or not, many SEOs don't believe Matt and do things despite his advice.

The results are in and with 176 responses, 88 of them said one thing and the other 88 said the opposite.

I asked: "Do You Use Nofollow on Some Internal Links?" Here are the responses:

nofollow internal poll

I am surprised, honestly surprised, by the results.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Do Links Every Really Disappear?


No Name

07/20/2010 12:43 pm

Kinda makes one wonder if perhaps 50% of the SEOs really don't know anything more about SEO than the rest of us.


07/20/2010 12:57 pm

or his reputaion has gone!

Social Kevin

07/20/2010 01:41 pm

@1st comment "Kinda makes one wonder if perhaps 50% of the SEOs really don't know anything more about SEO than the rest of us." Haha. Great post overall. Shows the complexity that SEO is a complex thing.


07/20/2010 01:54 pm

The next poll should be if you've used rel="nofollow" internally, do you have documented proof that it actually helped. I suspect that you'll get surprising results from that one as well.

Ben Tullett

07/20/2010 03:44 pm

As much as I'd like to trust all of Matt's advice, it'd hard to get it out of my head that he might also be saying it because it does work and its messing it Google's algorithm. Plus there are a lot of SEO's out there who have probably spend months persuading a client to implement it and don't want to lose face by changing back.

Michael Martinez

07/20/2010 04:00 pm

Ben, if anyone in the SEO community can prove that using "rel='nofollow'" on internal links works, they need to come forward with that proof. To date, no one has done it. All we've gotten so far are bogus science and outrageous claims. There is no reason to disbelieve Matt Cutts or any other Googler on this issue. If 50% of SEOs are still using "rel='nofollow'" on internal links, that clearly shows they don't know enough about search engine optimization to be doing this for a living. They need to stop cheating their clients and get out of the field.

Ben Tullett

07/20/2010 04:38 pm

Michael, I agree - nofollow on internal links has never been proven and if it ever did there are so many other factors involved it would be difficult to tie it to that one change. However, Google also tell us that a plethora of other spammy techniques don't work but there are many sites ranking that use them, so I take any guidance they provide and weight it against what is proven to work where risk is minimal - based on previous experience. There are many SEO's out there who shouldn't be in the field, especially in the lower end that deal with local companies and SMEs. All I'm saying is that recommendations can be made that are pushed through as another tick in a box in the name of SEO. The client won't fix their sales copy, title tags or session IDs but nofollow can be a vanilla change that justifies an SEO's fee. The results of survey might result from this approach and anecdotal evidence.

Rob Woods

07/20/2010 10:17 pm

I've got to agree that there is no reason to doubt Matt on this. While he may be evasive with answers at times I think he neither wants to nor can afford to outright lie. I think that likely there are a lot of SEOs that either don't know better, automatically distrust any advice from Google, or simply can't be bothered to change sites that have implemented the internal nofollows.

No Name

07/23/2010 10:19 pm

Perhaps some people do not want to make it so easy and simple for all of the other aggregation services out there, including Google, from extracting any content other than any/all pages a publisher was willing to surrender to the various indexes since a publisher/broadcaster surrenders rebroadcast rights on a variety of levels?

Stan Maple

01/23/2011 07:25 pm

Matt is semi-liar. If you got everywhere on your website outbound links - doesn't care if sponsors or natural or link exchange - you should NOT have ANY text link on your domain index - include navigation. Simply - in this case use graphic navigation only - buttons, images, etc. rel="nofollow" will not work . Simply - on the domain index should be nothing linktexted. My personal opinion this is the part of the battle against the directories.

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