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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    nofollow And dofollow Link Relations

    Hi,

    I've seen a lot of members dicscussing the rel="nofollow" and rel="dofollow" link relations in regards to linking back to their own site at the bottom of their clients website, however, I'm unclear on what these actually do.

    Could someone kindly educate me on what these link relations are for, what they do [both negatives and positives] and when they should and shouldn't be used, please?

    Thanks very much.

    Andrew Cooper

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  3. #3
    SitePoint Guru hgilbert's Avatar
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    Adding rel=nofollow means you do NOT want to share or give PageRank away.

    So one strategy is to code a forum or directory, offer "dofollow" - let people join in vast numbers - and then on a later day - decide to change all their links to "nofollow". Profit!

    This is what w3csites just did.

    NoFollow links are also known as dirty links.

    Dirty being a most appropriate choice of word - to describe such miserly practices.


  4. #4
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Hmm. Interesting. So, I take it dofollow does the opposite of nofollow?

    So, let me just make sure I understand this clearly. Search Engines that respect the nofollow attribute won't change the linked-to pages Google Ranking?

    Isn't it the point that, the more good pages with links to your website on and the more people click on the links to your website from these links, your Search Engine rankings increase because your website / website links are becoming popular?

    If Search Engines don't rank that linked-to page from the nofollow attribute, then you just have a link on a Web page that doesn't affect your Search Engine ranking at all, when really, It could improve it, right?

    I'd really appreciate someone who knows what they are talking about and someone who has had experience with using this attribute to give me some help on understanding this. Wikipedia is a good source of information, but I'm sure it'll be missing something important, it always does.

    Thanks for the link though cont911, I would have Wiki'd it first before posting myself, however, I wanted a more clearer and in-depth explaination of it, but thanks again.

    Andrew Cooper

  5. #5
    SitePoint Guru hgilbert's Avatar
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    Noone uses rel=dofollow.

    A normal link by default is treated as a "dofollow" by Google.

    That is. The website receives a "vote" (of popularity). The PageRank of the site increases (from just a tiny bit - to quite a lot). Depending on who is vouching for that site - by giving it a link.

    With "nofollow" however, the website receives "no vote".
    ie: No "Google-points" to be given to that site from you.


  6. #6
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    So then, why in gods name do Website Design firms / agencies / companies stick the rel="nofollow" attribute with their links to their Website when they have it at the footer of their clients websites?

    Wouldn't it be an obvious and the best choice to just leave it without that attribute? Then, eventually, slowly but surely, your Page Rank with Google will increase and also your Google rankings and other Search Engine rankings will increase, thus, when potential clients are searching for your Website or are talking to you about SEO techniques and what you know about it, you can have physical evidence too!

    "Well, you can have a look at our Websites Google Page Rank and Search Engine rankings and you'll see that we know what we are talking about =]."

    Hmm?

    Cheers for the explaination too hgilbert! =]

    Andrew Cooper

  7. #7
    SitePoint Guru hgilbert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    So then, why in gods name do Website Design firms / agencies / companies stick the rel="nofollow" attribute with their links to their Website when they have it at the footer of their clients websites?
    Because they are despicably selfish.

    THey do NOT care about their clients, but want their own website to score highly in Google.

    I don't even add a link to my own services on a client's website footer.
    But I am constantly promoting their websites.
    I don't expect however other agency cowboys to be equally considerate.

    90% of SEO's are cowboys.


    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    "Well, you can have a look at our Websites Google Page Rank and Search Engine rankings and you'll see that we know what we are talking about
    =].

    Hmm?
    "
    Here's a counter-intuitive rule.

    A good SEO'er won't necessarily have his own website ranked highly on Google.

    But will produce an extensive list of impressive results for his own clients.

    When people shop for SEO , that is what they should look for.

    In fact, if an SEO agency ranks highly on Google - chances are: they are to be avoided. They have spent most of their time and energy investing on their own interests. Forsaking that extra energy for their clients.


  8. #8
    Error 404: Life not found silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by hgilbert View Post
    Adding rel=nofollow means you do NOT want to share or give PageRank away.
    And anchor text.

    Quote Originally Posted by hgilbert View Post
    So one strategy is to code a forum or directory, offer "dofollow" - let people join in vast numbers - and then on a later day - decide to change all their links to "nofollow". Profit!

    This is what w3csites just did.

    NoFollow links are also known as dirty links.

    Dirty being a most appropriate choice of word - to describe such miserly practices.
    Never heard that before nor do I understand why they'd be called 'dirty'. Google invented 'nofollow' so that people could block spam comments and to provide website owners with a way to sell links in a way that didn't contravene Google TOS.

    Sure there are unethical ways to use nofollow like the one you described but that doesn't mean any use of it is unethical.

    Quote Originally Posted by hgilbert View Post
    Because they are despicably selfish.

    THey do NOT care about their clients, but want their own website to score highly in Google.

    I don't even add a link to my own services on a client's website footer.
    But I am constantly promoting their websites.
    I don't expect however other agency cowboys to be equally considerate.
    You have it the wrong way around. Any webdesign firm that nofollows the credit link on a clients website back to their own as AndrewCooper described, is not being selfish. Think about it.

    I've no idea why you dont' have a promo link on your client's sites, it's standard practice and since my clients are always happy with the job I've done for them they never ever say no when I ask if I can have one.
    It's 530 people, but do you really get it?
    ImgWebDesign - Web design in Buxton, High Peak, Derbyshire UK.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hgilbert View Post
    But will produce an extensive list of impressive results for his own clients.

    When people shop for SEO , that is what they should look for.
    Thats understandable. I would expect that from any SEO agency. And if I was searching for an SEO agency, I would look at their clients websites in Google and other Search Engines myself to see the results.

    Quote Originally Posted by hgilbert View Post
    In fact, if an SEO agency ranks highly on Google - chances are: they are to be avoided. They have spent most of their time and energy investing on their own interests. Forsaking that extra energy for their clients.
    Not necessarily. What you would think they would do is spend plenty of time building and developing their Website and making it Search Engine friendly and optimized correctly so when it comes a few months down the line, they see perfect results. Then they don't need to touch their website again [If it's static content] and just concentrate all of their energy on their clients.

    Hmm, I'm thinking about creating a poll to see what the members overall think is a good idea. Use nofollow when linking back to your own Website from your clients footer or not?

    Thanks for the discussion though hgilbert, you've educated me and enlightened me quite a bit so far .

    Andrew Cooper

  10. #10
    SitePoint Addict kiduka's Avatar
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    You can even manualy check a website if it's using a nofollow or a dofollow tag. This is a really helpful technique towards blog commenting.

    On the website you want to check "left click, and then click view source". Once the source comes click "crtl+f" to open up the "find" function and simply type "nofollow or dofollow" to quickly locate the tag.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiduka View Post
    You can even manualy check a website if it's using a nofollow or a dofollow tag. This is a really helpful technique towards blog commenting.

    On the website you want to check "left click, and then click view source". Once the source comes click "crtl+f" to open up the "find" function and simply type "nofollow or dofollow" to quickly locate the tag.
    Already know how to do this. I'm asking about the effects of using the rel="nofollow" attribute and why people use it and why others don't.

    I'm sure it'll be helpful to any others who are reading this though =].

    Andrew Cooper

  12. #12
    SitePoint Guru hgilbert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    You have it the wrong way around. Any webdesign firm that nofollows the credit link on a clients website back to their own as AndrewCooper described, is not being selfish. Think about it.
    Yes, I got it the other way round and so hopefully understandably got wound up if that was the case

    I've no idea why you dont' have a promo link on your client's sites, it's standard practice and since my clients are always happy with the job I've done for them they never ever say no when I ask if I can have one.
    I just don't. I do *not* condemn those that too, and good for them.

    My personal reason why I dont:

    The website I design belongs to the client.
    All information should be relevant to his business.
    Every pixel and bit of info - is truly precious - to maximise his results.
    That includes the nano-second of the client "thinking" about something else; ie clicking on my link
    Or the PR dilution of my link being there.

    And my naive hope - that being so client/customer oriented .. I eventually will get good referrals.

    I want the client to win all the way. I am very competitive for the client. And enjoy their success later on. So I tend to maximise their interests & profits & satisfaction (possibly to the extreme)


  13. #13
    SitePoint Guru hgilbert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiduka View Post
    You can even manualy check a website if it's using a nofollow or a dofollow tag. This is a really helpful technique towards blog commenting.

    On the website you want to check "left click, and then click view source". Once the source comes click "crtl+f" to open up the "find" function and simply type "nofollow or dofollow" to quickly locate the tag.
    If there is a Firefox Plugin - kindly let me know.

    I will search for one now ...

    I will try this one


  14. #14
    . shoooo... silver trophy logic_earth's Avatar
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    Just to point out, Pagerank is nothing to concern yourself with. Its meaningless.
    Logic without the fatal effects.
    All code snippets are licensed under WTFPL.


  15. #15
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    Already know how to do this. I'm asking about the effects of using the rel="nofollow" attribute and why people use it and why others don't.

    I'm sure it'll be helpful to any others who are reading this though =].

    Andrew Cooper
    The effect of rel="nofollow" on some links on a page is to tell search engines that the other links that don't have that are the important ones and that what Page rank (and equivalent for non-Google) should be shared between those other links rather than wasted on your disclaimer page, contacts page etc.

    Not that PR makes all that much difference to anything since it is only one of thousands of factores that Google uses to determine rankings.
    Stephen J Chapman

    javascriptexample.net, Book Reviews, follow me on Twitter
    HTML Help, CSS Help, JavaScript Help, PHP/mySQL Help, blog
    <input name="html5" type="text" required pattern="^$">

  16. #16
    Error 404: Life not found silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    The effect of rel="nofollow" on some links on a page is to tell search engines that the other links that don't have that are the important ones and that what Page rank (and equivalent for non-Google) should be shared between those other links rather than wasted on your disclaimer page, contacts page etc.
    No Stephen, it's not. The effect (and purpose) of 'nofollow' as you well know, is to prevent the passing of PR or anchor text. That's it, nothing more nothing less. It tells Google which links to drop from their link graph, any inferences it has for the importance of any other links on a page are your own, not Google's, and Google won't treat the other links as if they were 'important', it'll just follow them because it hasn't been told not to.

    You're referrring to PR sculpting as if it were the only reason to ever use nofollow, Google don't even want people to do it "it's not something we recommend you do" - Matt Cutts.
    It's 530 people, but do you really get it?
    ImgWebDesign - Web design in Buxton, High Peak, Derbyshire UK.

  17. #17
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    No Stephen, it's not. The effect (and purpose) of 'nofollow' as you well know, is to prevent the passing of PR or anchor text.
    That second sentence is just another way of saying the same as what I said so your first sentence tells me I am wrong and then your second sentense just says exactly the same as I said only in different words. So if your first sentence is right then your second sentence is wrong and if your second sentence is right then your first sentence is wrong.
    Stephen J Chapman

    javascriptexample.net, Book Reviews, follow me on Twitter
    HTML Help, CSS Help, JavaScript Help, PHP/mySQL Help, blog
    <input name="html5" type="text" required pattern="^$">

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy
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  19. #19
    SitePoint Zealot superjacent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hgilbert View Post
    If there is a Firefox Plugin - kindly let me know.

    I will search for one now ...

    I will try this one
    Can also try here SEO Tools.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Member lumima's Avatar
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    The SEO Tools are nice. I like to use it.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Hmm, ok then. Let's simplify this slightly. FORGET about Google PageRank. Let's focus on this scenario:

    I do a clients website and on their footer I have this following link:

    "Website Designed By: Andrew Cooper"

    That links back to my websites homepage. As part of that link it includes the rel="nofollow" attribute.

    What will having happen to the Google Rankings of my website by having that attribute in that link? If it affects my websites Google Rankings even the slightest, I want to know so I can determine whether I should stick the rel="nofollow" attribute in them footer links.

    Thats all I want to know really!

    Thanks too!

    Andrew Cooper

  22. #22
    . shoooo... silver trophy logic_earth's Avatar
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    It will not affect your ranking negatively or positively. However, regardless if its nofollow or not, Google can still use that link to find and index your site. It just will not have any endorsement from the site that linked.
    Logic without the fatal effects.
    All code snippets are licensed under WTFPL.


  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    Hmm, ok then. Let's simplify this slightly. FORGET about Google PageRank. Let's focus on this scenario:

    I do a clients website and on their footer I have this following link:

    "Website Designed By: Andrew Cooper"

    That links back to my websites homepage. As part of that link it includes the rel="nofollow" attribute.

    What will having happen to the Google Rankings of my website by having that attribute in that link? If it affects my websites Google Rankings even the slightest, I want to know so I can determine whether I should stick the rel="nofollow" attribute in them footer links.

    Thats all I want to know really!

    Thanks too!

    Andrew Cooper
    Do not use rel="nofollow" back to your own site. You want to distribute the juice from their site to yours. Especially if they get heavy traffic. For other external sites "not including your own", you can use the rel="nofollow" so that their juice will not be distributed to other sites. The link I posted earlier would definitely answer your question in full.

  24. #24
    . shoooo... silver trophy logic_earth's Avatar
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    And that "juice" you speak of cooper.semantics actually has no benefits anymore. It doesn't affect how one is listed in the results. Its rather pointless.

    As stymiee says on the Google FAQ:
    Summary: PageRank is your page's popularity on the Web. (Notice I didn't say website).

    PageRank != Page's Rank. They are two very different things.
    Logic without the fatal effects.
    All code snippets are licensed under WTFPL.


  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy
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    What do you get from this article?
    1.4. Which factors don’t have an impact on PageRank?
    http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007...know-about-it/


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