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  1. #1
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    Dubious use of nofollow or is it?

    A competitor has added the rel="nofollow" attribute to every external link on their site. It is a very large site with thousands of external links to quality sites which they have built up over years. This has nothing to do with comment spam and I can only imagine that they believe this will improve their rankings by hoarding pagerank.

    What effect if any will it have on their rankings? Improve? Worsen? No change?

  2. #2
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    nofollow was introduced because of comment spam but isn't limited to being for that purpose only. It is designed to allow a webmaster to stop the search engines from following any link. This use, while questionable in is effectiveness, is perfectly fine.

    What I would consider a dubious use of nofollow is in a link exchange and the webmaster does not tell the other webmaster their link will use nofollow.

  3. #3
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    It won't change their rankings (I don't think), but all the sites that trusted them in trading links or paid them for a link aren't going to benefit either. Shame on them.
    Linda Jenkinson
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Kailash Badu's Avatar
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    Your competitor does not want search engines to follow those link or pass any PR to them.

    This won’t bring any advantage to your competitor. Only that if he is trying to fool the owner of those external sites, they might hit back.

  5. #5
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kailash Badu
    This won’t bring any advantage to your competitor.
    Would the use of nofollow in this manner not reduce PR leak and thus enable them to keep more PR for their own pages?

    That would be an advantage for the competitor.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy hooperman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tke71709
    Would the use of nofollow in this manner not reduce PR leak and thus enable them to keep more PR for their own pages?
    Good question, I'm not sure it would reduce 'PR leak'. If you want to take that silly PR equation literally, the amount of PR passed by a page is (total PR of the page) / (number of links on the page).

    It doesn't say anything about the "number of links that don't use nofollow", so each internally linked page will get the same amount of PR whether external links are nofollowed or not.. I suppose it's open to interpretation.

  7. #7
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    I think Google said that nofollow will stop the passing of PR to a page when they announced the introduction of nofollow.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy hooperman's Avatar
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    The amount of PR passed via a normal link is PR(Tx)/C(Tx)

    Where C(Tx) is the number of links on page x. We 'know' that a nofollowed link doesn't pass PR, but we don't know whether it's excluded from the link count C(Tx). You would assume it is, but maybe it's not. If it's still included in C(Tx) then the amount of PR passed internally will be the same (because C(Tx) is the same) whether external links are nofollowed or not. If the amount of PR passed internally is the same, then there is no PR leak.

    I think.

    But it won't make much difference one way or the other.

  9. #9
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    It might not make a giant difference but if we can't argue the useless things then there isn't much point in being here

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy hooperman's Avatar
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    I think you'll find I have impeccable credentials in arguing the useless things. Or it might be my arguments that are useless, it's one of the two

  11. #11
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    Using the nofollow tag in external links to other sites is fine as long as its not in a link exchange or on someones paid link text ad then I would consider it cheating.
    Learn to Play Anything Song in Minutes Online Lessons

  12. #12
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by autoe
    Using the nofollow tag in external links to other sites is fine as long as its not in a link exchange or on someones paid link text ad then I would consider it cheating.
    Only if the site does not disclose this. If they do then it is morally okay to do.

  13. #13
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    I can't prove my words, but saw some folks on the forums saying they had bad effect on the pages that had no follows only. Google was becoming a more rare visitor to these pages. Maybe because it *thinks* that if there are only the links that are supposed by webmaster not to be indexed by search engines, then what the heck should bots do here.
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