Posted by sumedhinamdar on July 10, 2008
Links at have rel=nofollow attributes are a significant issue from search engines and SEO perspective. It is a mechanism to tell a crawler not to follow a link. In simple words, a link with nofollow has no “juice” from SEO perspective.
All external links on the Wikipedia are nofollow links. Blog comments are generally nofollow links. Yahoo answers links are nofollow links. A lot of the social bookmarking sites use nofollow. (Here are some that don’t).
Of course, a lot of people don’t like nofollow. To quote this article, Nofollow tag is like “reaching to shake someone’s hand, but stopping to put on a pair of latex gloves.” His argument is that No-follow is a poor search engine’s solution to conceal its own failure to rank websites appropriately. Well, that’s somewhat true! For example, some blog comments that actually add good value to the content do deserve some link juice…but they are not getting due credit because of some spammers. There is definitely a backlash going on against this. For example, this WordPress plugin allows you to add a nofollow attribute to all the links going to sites like wikipedia, which use nofollow attribute themselves. Some people say that this anti-nofollow campaign is all bull shit and nofollow is fair enough! In the end, it’s a fact we need to accept that putting comments on blogs and linking back would not be so useful nowadays as it was once.
But interesting part is that a lot of people say that search engines do follow these links! It’s just that they don’t give them as much importance, which actually makes a lot of sense. This post shows that the target page is certainly spidered, but might not count it as a vote. Also, there are a few differences among search engines on this.
One more aspect of the nofollow link is that it saves your “PR juice” (I really like the analogy of link-condom :P) from leaking out. But again, whether “normal” links leak pagerank is a topic of debate and discussion.