Clarification on External Follow Links and SEO

Hello All,

I apologize if this questions is asked ad nauseum. I have a blog with a nice base following as well as a good number of unique visitors a day. I allot some of my time every now and then to optimize and clean my blog. I have recently been trying to understand “nofollow” links and how they may or may not relate to Page Rank. An average post I make has a “read more” link from the landing page, usually 2 “Amazon associates” links to equipment I used, an embedded youtube video/link as well as 2-3 download links to an external hosting site (which is actually just a “right click, save” type of link).

Regardless if it is a big/little impact on my Page Rank, I am questioning whether or not to include a “nofollow” reference in any/all of these links.

What would everyone here suggest? What would be a good standard practice? Does the “Read More” link present on each post qualify as a link with little anchor text attributed?

With over 100 posts under my belt, I am curious as to what method would keep my site and ranking organized and clean, considering this topic on the internet is teaming with much, much larger sites.

Here is a link to a typical post so you can see what I am talking about: Beachfront B-Roll: Free to Use HD Stock Video Footage

My personal preference will be to have nofollow on both types of links that you have mentioned (affiliate links and download links).

When it comes to nofollow, my rule of thumb will be to ask myself whether will it be useful for the piece of content that I am linking out to have a higher page rank.

In your case, having downloadable files ranked highly or indexed in the search engines won’t do my website any good because once indexed, searchers will be able to download the files without visiting my site.

As for affiliate links, I classify them as paid links. Although we are not paid by the merchants for just placing the links but if you think about it, we won’t be able to earn commissions unless the links are there.

You can check out for other types of links that you should consider using nofollow.

[font=verdana]Any affiliate-type links should be marked as “nofollow”, as per Google’s guidelines.

Links to downloads would often be best marked as “nofollow”, because what value is there in Google following the link? If it doesn’t lead to a web page or a digestible format (eg PDF, .doc) that Googlebot can read then there is no point in it following the link, so you might as well preserve your link juice and mark it as “nofollow”.[/font]

This all makes sense. I REALLY appreciate your time and responses in helping me understand this. From what I’ve read, this is the “Grey Area” of knowledge for a lot of people. One more quick question as a follow up.

I’ve pooled specific clips I offer into categories to help the user browse the library. To get a clip, they will then click their desired link to go the specific post with the download link. This results in a page with a bunch of “click to download” links which redirect them to a specific post. From what I’ve read, these type of links will not rank highly, and may actually hurt my ranking because the bot would think it is spamming (since I have sometimes 10-20 links on a single page all titled “Click to download”. Would it be better then to also mark those as “nofollow”. I know that proper linking between your internal pages with appropriate anchor text helps the bot understand your site and helps build page rank, but would having these links followed help or hurt me?

Here is an example of such a page

Again, I cannot express how grateful I am to have some guidance. Now to go through and “double check” all of my post links. Whew!

[FONT=verdana]I second what Stevie says.

But, going further, whether an external link is Nofollow or not, that won’t make any difference to your own search engine ranking. It might, however, affect the ranking of the site that you are linking to. Put simply, if the link is Nofollow, any reputation that your blog has won’t get passed to the linked-to site. It’s up to you to decide whether that matters to you.

As far as internal links are concerned, I can’t see any reason to make them Nofollow (apart from the special cases that Stevie mentioned, such as links to a download). In particular, your “Read More” link should be follow-able, as that will help the crawlers find the target pages.

There’s one other factor that’s importat for a blog. If you allow blog commenting, then any links within the comments should normally be Nofollow. But that’s got nothing to do with your own SEO. The reason is to discourage spammers from posting useless comments merely to get some links to their own sites.



good question and great discussion. I would also be of the opinion that “nofollow” makes sense for both affiliate links and download links. I would be curious to know just how much it may affect your own site’s reputation in google’s algorithms. Mikl makes the point that it won’t affect your own rankings very much or at all. I tend to agree but also think that google does take into account the sites you link to and how you link to them when determining the quality of your site. However, if your outgoing linking is taken in to consideration at all, it is probably of low importance in their algorithms compared to other things like incoming links and content.