Google Scares Sites Not To Link Out

Nov 29, 2010 • 8:08 am | comments (10) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

There is an interesting thread at WebmasterWorld that talks about the fear of linking to third party web sites.

One webmaster knew he had about 3,000 links to his web site, but the site wasn't ranking well. So he built a program to check the source code of those 3,000 links. What he discovered was that about half of those 3,000 links, linked to him with the nofollow attribute added on to those links. So only about half of those links may have counted.

Further more, he said those links are not coming from user generated content sections, but rather real web pages, real articles, with links within the content. Links you and I would have thought would not have been nofollowed.

He said:

Only problem is, they seem to be too scared to link to anything anymore without nofollow in the link.

I emailed a dozen of them and only two responded. Both said they were aware that PR is still lost through the nofollow link. Both said "better safe than sorry" somewhere in the email.

Was this the true purpose behind Google introducing the nofollow attribute?

I'd love to see SEOmoz, RavenSEO or other tools run mass reports on this to see this. I believe some may have done so, but it is always interesting to see one webmaster run it on his specific site. It may not tell the story of what most people do out there, but it does share a story of what can happen to you.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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11/29/2010 01:59 pm

I've have moaned so much about this with UK press websites.. I gave great coverage in and the links are nofollowed its really a joke imho. A newspaper will write good about u and readers both online and offline can see your link but no value is passed.. The big blogs in my niche nofollow all content.


11/29/2010 02:44 pm

Using the nofollow attribute is about to become "So last decade!". I almost think it should be made obsolete as with the meta keyword tag. It has completely manipulated webmasters into becoming mindless pagerank craving whores, meanwhile totally missing the point!

Ian Artimovich

11/29/2010 03:42 pm

"I'd love to see SEOmoz, RavenSEO or other tools run mass reports on this to see this." We can run some reports at Link-Assistant.Com. If you're interested, just drop me a line.

Michael Martinez

11/29/2010 07:18 pm

It's not Google that is doing the scaring, but rather the SEO industry. Matt Cutts is on record as saying that some portions of Google's algorithm reward sites for linking out. It was the SEO industry that perpetuated nonsense ideas like PageRank hoarding and PageRank sculpting. Now many sites are buying into these and other stupid ideas that SEOs have only themselves to blame for.


11/30/2010 10:37 am

Michael, that's right. But: without the utterly useless rel-nofollow microformat, invented by Google, that never ever had any purpose worth using it, all those nonsense ideas wouldn't exist. I'd say the engines should dump rel-nofollow support, because in its current shape it's useless. I mean, when even Google's crawler team decided to ignore it in paricular cases, because so many webmasters have abused / misused it, for what is it worth at all?

Marcos Alonso

11/30/2010 12:34 pm

i Think people are scared because they don´t think in user´´s experiece. they´re thinking just in google, google google... i don´t have problmem fo0r linking other sites when they´re relevant. but it is a really good discusion! Congrats ;)

Klaus Junginger

11/30/2010 12:35 pm

The whole idea of loosing PR seems absolutely stupid to me. Doesn´t make one single shred of sense.

luiz almeida

12/01/2010 11:40 am

IDisagree about the nofollow links. All links are important to our sites. Some of them maybe don't matter to google, but what about the importance of them to your site? they bring traffic? they can give a chance to you to sell your products/services? Maybe some sites with bad content links to you, but if YOUR content is relevant, why not keep this links.

Johan Tavard

12/10/2010 09:00 am

I'm getting links from wikipedia and all in nofollow... i'm working hard to make good content for nothing. I'm also getting lots of links in forums from users who recommend my website and again all in nofollow. This is just pathetic.

Montreal SEO Expert

12/17/2010 06:27 am

I think it is dangerous for blogs to accept any link. I had a few with links to porn sites but luckily I check all of them and I simply deleted them. Bad links can damage your reputation. John SEO Expert and Marketing Manager

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