Friday, June 22, 2012

Search Engine Optimization Tip

Search Engine Optimization Tip


Google has announced through Matt Cutts (Google employee) that they no longer treat nofollow as it was intended!

Nofollow was originally adopted to amongst other things help prevent comment link spamming of blogs, forums, guestbooks etc... without harming the pages the spammed (nofollow) links are on.

It was a very good SEO idea by the major search engines, amongst others Google, Yahoo and Bing used nofollow in their search engine algorithms.

For webmasters and SEO consultants this opened up a new way to link to pages, like affiliate product pages that would not waste PR/link benefit. Previously a webmaster not wanting to send link benefit through a link would use javascript and other methods for 'hiding' the links from search engine bots.

I like many other webmasters have used nofollow extensively on blogs (WordPress is my choice of CMS) to prevent comment link spamming on pages with comments enabled, many webmasters also use nofollow links to link to affiliate sites where you don't want to waste link benefit on an affiliate product page.

This made a lot of sense for both webmasters and Google et al, we got an easy way to tell Google a link shouldn't pass link benefit and Google wouldn't give ranking benefit to pages/sites webmasters didn't want to rank well: I promote various Clickbank products for money, when I link to one I'm not saying this page is great, I'm saying I want someone to buy that product through my link. If link benefit is passed that page could rank better than my page! If I linked to the BNP (British National Party) to comment on how racist they are, I don't want Google to treat that link as a positive vote for their site, nofollow was perfect for negative reviews on sites.

As mentioned above Google no longer honors the intended use of nofollow, rather than protecting the PR/link benefit of nofollow links, it deletes it!!!

Yes deletes our hard earned PR/link benefit!!

What this means is if you have a site with a lot of nofollow links, I for example have popular WordPress blogs with pages with hundreds of comments. WordPress by default adds nofollow to commenter's links, so if you have a page with 100 comments and half the commenter's added an author ink (50 links) now Google is treating that page as though the 50 nofollow links are normal links except it doesn't pass the PR/link benefit to the linked to page, it destroys it instead. So if you have a page with 50 nofollow links and 50 normal links that means half the link benefit that should have gone to the 50 normal links is deleted in effect halving the SEO benefit that would (should) have passed via the normal links!

I have pages with up to 700 comments, I could be throwing away well over half my PR/link benefit. For this reason I've been fading out use of nofollow on my sites.

One option is using form button links with method post as search engines do not treat these as links (they are used to submit search forms etc...). Example below going to one of my sites:

With a little CSS you can make a form button like this look almost like a text links, take a look at the joke site URL above Jokes and on the menu there's a Login link that's a form button, also all commenter's links are now created using form buttons: I had the ability to post a author URL disabled until a few days ago so, there's only a handful of actual author comment links (registered users basically).

I sell about a dozen AdSense/SEO WordPress themes and when I've got the code completely nailed down will incorporate this into my themes.

Sucks that Google would do this to webmasters, nofollow was working fine, now we have to go back to javascript and tricks like the one above!