Econsultancy Nofollows All Contributor & Guest Posts

Apr 2, 2014 • 8:48 am | comments (51) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Econsultancy NofollowsBased on all the guest blogging for SEO being dead and sites being penalized over guest blogging, the Econsultancy blog has decided to nofollow all guest blog contributions.

Econsultancy, in my mind, is a respected blog on internet marketing topics. The content quality, both editorial and contributed, always seemed very high to me. For them to make this move makes me wonder. They said they "want to play it safe," but is the move a way for them to get attention and links? It worked here.

Either way, I don't blame them for going that route. Heck, I don't even allow guest posts here, never really did.

But this is a question many blogs and news sites are asking themselves. Should they also go the route of nofollowing links left by guest bloggers even when those guest posts are reviewed by a strict editorial process. Lots of sites are asking or going to be asking this question in the near future.

Of course, you should check out the conversation going on in Twitter about this change. The debate on guest blogging will live on for some time now.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Stuart David

04/02/2014 12:53 pm

Been toying with the idea of nofollow, even been thinking about nofollow for my own internal links to a point (looked it up, matt says dont worry) - but thats the level of confusion after you get hit

Jawad Latif

04/02/2014 01:06 pm

I changed all do-follow links into no-follow a while ago for my blog.

Michael Martinez

04/02/2014 01:45 pm



04/02/2014 02:39 pm

Barry, I'll put my thoughts on Econsultancy's choice into two different P.O.V.: 1) As a Freelance Writer - I don't care about how the link might or might not be seen by search engines, as long as there's a link and readers have the possibility to know I'm a professional writer they can hire if they enjoyed my piece. Under this view, the change to an all-nofollow policy doesn't touch me the least. 2) As a Computer Scientist - Yes, it worries me. As you know, every webpage is a node in the Web graph and rel=nofollow by definition excludes relationships between nodes in the graph. So, the more we use rel=nofollow in our in- and outgoing links, the more relationships between nodes are expunged from the graph and some nodes may disappear completely, isolated. This is dangerous for the overall well-being of the structure of the Web - that is, at least for the Google search engine, the graph becomes more and more disconnected. Unless Google aims at becoming an elitist type of search engine where only a small selection of webpages makes it to the index. (As a web marketer, Google-generated traffic is only one factor among many, so it doesn't touch me either). :)


04/02/2014 02:54 pm

people must nofollow google in their brains. company of horror, dictatorship and stupid decisions. their greediness and love to grammar is already well known around the world. they tanked all websites with user generated content (like stories, jokes, videos & pictures with user-submitted texts around it) is tanked (except few forums & very high pr). They unable to fight with spam - so they killing all topics.


04/02/2014 02:56 pm

yes, it exactly what google want. i think soon they will buy wikipedia and finally all top1-10 will full of google own sites.

Durant Imboden

04/02/2014 03:05 pm

It's all about supply and demand. The Econsultancy blog will still get contributors who want to promote themselves and their businesses to the Econsultancy audience. JoeBob's Guest Blogging Network has less to offer, so when Matt Cutts says It's time to stick a fork in guest blogging for SEO purposes, JoeBob's list of low-quality contributors is likely to dry up.


04/02/2014 03:07 pm

Hi Barry - thanks for your thoughts on the matter. I should make it clear that this is not a move we wanted to make or that we should have to make. Also, we have nofollowed links in the author bios at the foot of the page, links in the main post are still followed. I agree with nOtSEO's second point - I think Google needs to find ways of distinguishing between good and bad guest posting to preserve the value of links. Sadly, we have reason to believe that this move was necessary to preserve our search traffic so we had little choice. If Google wasn't so dominant in search, then this would not be necessary, but that's the way it is.


04/02/2014 03:14 pm

The one plus point about this is that at least we know people aren't wanting to guest blog for the links.

Durant Imboden

04/02/2014 04:14 pm

It was a move that you chose to make. Not a move that Google forced you to make. In any case, the change could work to your advantage by discouraging SEO-driven "guest post" pitches. That would be a win for you, a win for Google, and a win for potential contributors who actually have something worthwhile to say.

Spam Cutts

04/02/2014 04:16 pm

38% of my big sites incoming links have changed to nofollow in the past 12 months, after 10 years in some cases, I don't blame the site owners and will be adding nofollow to every link on my sites from now on just to be safe. My concern for google is that they are causing themselves a bigger headache than they have right now with a tiny percentage of spammers compared to legit sites, they may have pushed too hard on this one and may backfire on them if everyone nofollows out of fear. I suspect a softer line video from Matt regarding links will be in the works in the coming months, but until then, lets play it safe and worry about our own sites rather than helping the sites we link to.


04/02/2014 04:19 pm

No, Google hasn't forced us to, but due to information we received and SEO advice we felt we had little choice. Like many, I would appreciate some clarification from Google on this, but I won't hold my breath. I was sick of guest post pitches so if this stems the tide, then at least some good will come of it.

Spam Hunter

04/02/2014 04:25 pm


Johnny Pickle

04/02/2014 04:26 pm

Wow. Good for you.


04/02/2014 04:30 pm

if Google decides tomorrow that webmasters should jump off Brooklyn bridge to keep their traffic I am sure a lot of them would be standing in line, despite the fact that few would survive. That's the pathetic state of search and Internet we are in today. Next are links within articles, just like in Barry's one above. Pretty soon, they will have to be no-followed.

Shane K.

04/02/2014 05:19 pm

I wish Google would do away with the entire concept of "no follow". It may have began with good intentions, but has turned into a nightmarish virus that will end up breaking the internet as content providers try to appease Google and stay in their good graces. Given the current atmosphere, I wouldn't be surprised if some big content providers end up adding a "no follow" tag to ALL outbound links on their site. Heck, why not? I've even considered it for my own blog even though I've taken an approach to not even consider Google or SEO in my content writing outside of making keyword-optimized page titles. Up until this point I haven't used a "no follow" for a single outbound link because I am linking to these sources of my own volition and all sites I link to bring value to my users. Some posts end up having a lot of outbound links because I want to provide users with the best resources. But a renegade Googlebot or manual reviewer may question the "intent" of some of my links and nuke my site. Google's fear mongering has worked in that regard, but ultimately I feel that it is detrimental to the internet as a place where ideas are shared freely. What would happen if every website "no followed" all their outbound links? Wouldn't that break Google's algorithm? Well, we are getting close to that point.

Michael Martinez

04/02/2014 05:19 pm

Stop whining about Google. They didn't tell everyone to use "rel='nofollow'" on all outbound links. This controversy has officially moved into the realm of "Let's See Which SEO Agency/Blog Can Top Most Stupid SEO Trick".

Michael Martinez

04/02/2014 05:20 pm

Geeze, people, get a clue. If you don't have any penalties for bad outbound links leave them in place.

Davis Johnson

04/02/2014 05:35 pm



04/02/2014 05:40 pm

Is there a reason my comment was deleted? Or is there a Disqus glitch?

Barry Schwartz

04/02/2014 05:56 pm

Disqus thought it was spam, I approved it manually.


04/02/2014 05:59 pm

Thanks! I guess I must write like a spambot!

PM Fiorini

04/02/2014 06:07 pm

If we really want to "mess" with Google, no-follow everything. Search results will be nothing but random noise.


04/02/2014 06:21 pm

It's a shame google is killing natural linking! What's wrong with contributing for content in exchange of the link! It's very editorial! Google is big time wrong there!

Stuart David

04/02/2014 06:54 pm



04/02/2014 08:00 pm

If you link for your users nofollow,your users still see the links, the sites still get the traffic and your safe not to get a penalty. Why take any risks when you receive no rewards?


04/02/2014 09:39 pm

world without google - is what we need. google become monopoly and gov not looking into it.

Michael Martinez

04/02/2014 10:03 pm

"It's a shame google is killing natural linking!" Google isn't killing natural linking. Marketers are.

John Stirzaker

04/02/2014 10:53 pm

hahaha i like it.

04/02/2014 11:34 pm

no-follow is the the new do-follow

Durant Imboden

04/03/2014 12:42 am

It's more a matter of "If panicky Chicken Littles fall for a rumor that Google wants them to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge...."

Jitendra Vaswani

04/03/2014 04:54 am

People who spam are being killed by Google. Agree with you sir

Jitendra Vaswani

04/03/2014 04:56 am

Low quality spam guest posts will be hit hard by Google algorithms, I hate webmaster who spam guest posts with fake names. They think they will rank by using spammy guest posts links. Webmasters need to increase their outreach by being real. Fake profiles never works

Soni Sharma

04/03/2014 06:37 am

Spamming possibilities can't be avoided in guest posts, that is why they want to play in safe mode. Guest blogging will only work in traditional marketing way not as link building technique.

William Vicary

04/03/2014 11:32 am

This seems a bit of a strange viewpoint from a website that is considered savvy when it comes to SEO - if a website as savvy as econsultancy is nofollowing all contributed posts (which follow very strict guidelines and are written by great authors) what will come of the link landscape in the following months?


04/03/2014 11:53 am

The problem here is that ALL SITES now need think ahead to googles next move. Because nobody can predict what google will ban next, it is far safer to consolidate position by not linking to anyone at all. This is pretty much the beast that google is unleashing. Because their SMART algos are pretty stupid actually, they have no way whatsoever of identifying what is real spam and what is real content. Because of this they lurch (under the helm of Matt Cutts) from one disastrous policy to another so leaving us all in the predicament we now all find ourselves in. The only way google will have of telling a good site from a bad site in the very near future is by the nofollowed links. Then , jump aboard the merry go round because we all get to go full circle. Thanks Matt and co for Royally Fu**ing up the internet in the quest to satisfy your own greed. I bet this latest stupid policy from Matt will drive people to Bing and Yahoo. As businesses can no longer trust google to do the best, they will make sure their staff desert by changing company policies for search engine use. This is where google will then go on to die the well earned death they so deserve. Bing it on!

Martin Woods

04/03/2014 01:28 pm

I think we just just nofollow all links on all website and have done with it! Personally I wouldn't care if a link to me* from Econsultancy were nofollow because I know that the traffic you get from great sites like these are far more important than any link equity. Having said that, in my opinion they should have just been a bit more selective over who posted there in the past and then this wouldn't even be an issue. Am I going to no follow guest posts [where I invited an expert to talk to my clients audience] !NO! Because I invited them, I didn't take crap copy for the sake of it, or exchanged them for something with a monetary value! Have I had any issues? Nope, because those sites do real marketing and were participating in a community. The Google scare tactics are working... only difference is that people who shouldn't be afraid are getting caught up in the whole 'link penalty' discussion.


04/03/2014 01:41 pm

Google's webspam team needs some recognition and something more interesting to do, otherwise they act like a bully on the playground by injecting fear into people who shouldn't be concerned at all.

David Urmann

04/03/2014 07:05 pm

Is it that links become invaluable when everyone "no follows" or is it more simply that their is no value in drawing a distinction between follow and no follow. If every link is "no follow" links are still a useful metric that are difficult to replicate.


04/03/2014 09:06 pm

You know what they say about the student who underlines an entire paragraph instead of underlining only the most important notions... :) All is like nothing.

Jawad Latif

04/04/2014 01:04 pm

Yes, you are.


04/04/2014 07:42 pm

I don't disagree with you BUT links were never made to be fully editorial. People are online to make money. Even the "editorial" links are commercial oriented in indirect manners.

Ann Smarty

04/07/2014 12:34 am

"Stop whining about Google" -> True "They didn't tell everyone to use "rel='nofollow'" on all outbound links" -> True So WHAT on Earth did they say? where are the clear guidelines to prevent rumor and FUD?

Michael Martinez

04/07/2014 01:37 pm

"So WHAT on Earth did they say? where are the clear guidelines to prevent rumor and FUD?" The FUD is coming from angry marketers, not from Google. You tried to do something good for everyone, Ann, and people took advantage of you. I'm sorry that happened and I understand your anger. But a lot of the anger coming from marketers is unjustified because I and others have warned people for years NOT to rely solely on links for their marketing. If people are going to ignore the warnings they have no excuses when it comes time to face the penalties.

Ann Smarty

04/07/2014 04:58 pm

I am not angry at all. I said many times that I'd taken all the responsibility for what happened. My point is, if Google wanted to stop the FUD, they would have done so. There are thousands of ways to do that but cases like this (and Econsultancy are NOT the only ones who did that last week; I just don't want to put anyone in the spotlight here, not my style) shows that people ARE lost

Michael Martinez

04/07/2014 07:26 pm

My point is that most of the FUD is not coming from Google -- it's coming from the marketers themselves, many of whom publish the wildest conspiracy theories (usually under pseudonyms) across the Web. Google has done its share of harm but the marketers need to take responsibility for what they have done and too few do so.

Ann Smarty

04/07/2014 08:08 pm

That's a theoretical issue that is a bit irrelevant to my point. My point was that, if Google wants less FUD and higher-quality signals, they probably need clearer guidelines and clearer penalty reasons. Because in the row of recent penalties, it's not quite clear what lesson we were supposed to learn :) While I do realize MY responsibility, I would love some light to be shed on what the actual rules are. Many people (like myself) do actually want to follow the rules (I am still proud of every link to MBG even though my site penalty says "Inbound link penalty"), we just need clearer guidelines, that's it

Michael Martinez

04/07/2014 08:46 pm

Ann, there is nothing theoretical about all the people complaining about Google. Most of the FUD is coming from the marketers, not from Google. It's classic Chicken Little Syndrome and it happens here on SE Roundtable and on Search Engine Land and on Moz and on Webmaster World etc. etc. etc. It's open, blatant fear-mongering and it's NOT coming from Google. If marketers want less FUD then they need to stop making it. As for what lesson I think Google would like people to take away from the last round of penalties, it would be not to assume that slipping keyword-rich anchor text into author biographies is any more acceptable than putting it into sitewide margin links.

Ann Smarty

04/07/2014 09:58 pm

That's the world we live in. Whining about marketers making noise isn't more helpful than whining about Google penalizing anyone :) As for that lesson, nope, it had NOTHING to do with exact-match anchor text, that's the point.

Michael Martinez

04/07/2014 10:06 pm

Well, I have a splitting sinus headache and I'm no longer sure of where we disagree on anything so I'll agree with you that Google came down harder than I expected and I wish they had handled the links differently.

Ann Smarty

04/08/2014 12:45 am

Works for me :) Get well!

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