Give a little link love say no to nofollow remove the link condoms

Give a little link love say no to nofollow remove the link condoms

Nofollow and wordpress why I’m removing the rewrite

linklove.jpgI was having a read here and there today about nofollow, and was left saying to myself hmmn well at least I don’t employ the damn thing, and if I do its usually with a nudge and a wink poking fun at something or other. I then fired up the firefox search status plugin and switched on the highlight nofollow option and carried on flicking through various tabs and links surprised to see the number of red rel nofollow flags popping up here there and everywhere.

It was kind of ironic to read Andy Beal’s mini diatribe about wikipedia only to see his comments section littered with a whole lot of red dashed boxes! Every single link in every commenters comment, including the link to their sites are nofollowed, even Andy’s own!


Ok, so this isn’t Andy Beal’s fault, he like me is just using the standard WP install, which adds a rel=nofollow to both the url of the poster and any links contained in the comments of what the poster says. I laughed until I went through some of my earlier posts and saw I was doing the very same!
So, whats the problem with that you might ask, why do I care that a person who has dropped by and taken the time to say a word or two on an opinion I’ve voiced be nofollowed? Well, see, people like Matt Cutts say this

“From now on, when Google sees the attribute (rel=”nofollow”) on hyperlinks, those links won’t get any credit when we rank websites in our search results. This isn’t a negative vote for the site where the comment was posted”

Yahoo on their searchblog had this to say.

By adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to hyperlinks, webmasters and weblog owners can tell search engines that the links are effectively untrusted.

MSN or Live as they are now calling themselves had this to say

One thorny source of spam that we’ve seen is people stuffing blogs with comments that include links back to their sites. We have taken some steps to combat this – but we really wanted to find a way to put bloggers back in control.

I was excited to wake up this morning to an email from my long-time friend and college roommate who is currently an engineer working on search at Google. Don’t worry Paul – I won’t blog any outrageous stories about our time at Princeton. :-)

Paul told me that Google is planning on announcing support for a tag on individual links. Any link with this tag will indicate to a crawler it is not necessarily approved by this page and shouldn’t be followed nor contribute weight for ranking. Our Search Champs suggested this and it has been a part of our plans since, we think it’s a great idea.

In principle, yes great , hell why not. Who’d really want to give comment spammers the added incentive of link love? The whole I don’t trust this link idea was vaunted as a huge step forward in the fight against blogspam and comment spammers intent to gain links in numbers. For the search engines there was an added bonus in that they proffered the suggestion that it would also help in their battle to save their link text based algo’s from any SEO manipulations. It then went on to become a stick to bash text link traders and site owners looking to capitalise on any marketing opportunities brought about by way of weight applied to their sites by IR ranking systems. Use nofollow in your sponsored links or else suffer a ranking consequence, at least that’s what’s inferred.

Getting back to the point though, about trust and why I’m removing this nofollow injection. Its like this. I pre moderate all my comments. I read every single thing that people take the time to tell me about. I follow the links they post, I read what they have to say. If I think its nothing but a self promotional comment, then I delete/edit as I see fit. In other words, if the comment is here on my blog, then I’ve personally taken the time to evaluate what they’ve said and effectively sanctioned the reason why they’ve decided to link to whatever it is they are linking to, to support their viewpoint. I trust them.
Why would I want to nofollow them all? Where is the respect due to my commenters there? Why shouldn’t they get a little bit of extra reward via some miniscule amount of rankjuice for their efforts?

Hey, thanks for commenting dude 😀 I don’t trust you, or what you had to say, so I’m going to do those search engines a big old precautionary favour and nofollow your links.”
Gee thanks Rob…

I agree too, not nice, or necessary even.

Ok, so I could well be a pagerank hoarding mudder fudder intent on holding what little linkjuice I have for personalised projects; you know the drill, funnel that ol pagerank down a little tube and point it at something I want to promote.You know what though? Longterm, that approach will die a death, if it hasn’t done already. Waste of blooming time and energy if you ask me.

Anyways, all my comments are now dofollow, read, vouched for and trusted. 😀
If you want to do the same and have a wordpress install then go to your install directory and look for functions-formatting.php and comment-functions.php. You basically want to look for the word nofollow in links and replace it with emptyspace.

(Click image to enlarge)


Rob Watts
Rob has been optimising websites since 1995 helping large and small business succeed online. Contact him today for a free no obligation quote on +44 7825 268 430

64 thoughts on “Give a little link love say no to nofollow remove the link condoms

  1. Andy Beard

    Good move Rob, I have followable comments on all my blogs, though I should hack the file and get rid of one plugin.
    The reason I haven’t done that up until now is WordPress upgrades which tend to mess up custom changes.

    On a similar line, you might want to do the opposite to the links created by the “notable” plugin, which are leaking to irrelevant pages.

    It is often demonstrated that Yahoo follow links, and if you do a search for backlinks on my site in Yahoo you will find 100s of my comments, though I am not sure what weight is attributed to them.

    One thing I also do, especially on sites that offer followable links in comments, is use the link provided to maximum advantage, for both myself and the site I comment on. I try to add a link through to relevant content, so in this case I have linked through to a post I wrote on hacking the sociable plugin to add nofollow.
    Linking through to relevant content can add value to your own page.

    As you are now thinking about nofollow, this (non personal) link might be interesting.

    With it you can add nofollow to links created by WordPress functions. Combine it with some dynamic linking philosophy.

  2. robwatts Post author

    Nice Andy, thanks for those.

    That add link thing looks damn handy, that TinyMCE html edit option also has a tendency to balls things up no end! Anything that reduces the need to open that up is a good thing 😉

    I hear you on the plugin thing too, especially notable.I’m all for doing the nofollow thing on stuff that just shouldn’t be indexed so yes you do have a point. I have a lot of links on a lot of pages going to nowheresville 😉

    Thats the thing with this nofollow lark, i really do think it has a genuine place in the tech landscape. I just think its all gained a bit of a negative connotation lately, what with all this link purchase and algo manip confrontation stuff.Some people bound that trust word round with far too much regularity. “I dont trust that, ergo there has to be something a little bit iffy about it therefore, kinda thing.” Nah just doesnt sit right with me to be honest.

    The blocking of things like notable would be one particular good interpretation of it.Thinking about that plugin and the other buttons too.I might even just document.write the lot and be done with it. 😀

  3. Hawaii SEO

    Yeah… I love the pink links.

    John Chow installed a plug in called Top Commenter’s

    It gives his top commenter’s a real link. When I first noticed that he installed it, the top commenter has about 35 comments. Now… About one month or so later and a blog post or two mentioning the feature… The top guy is up to 182 comments. Comments went from about three per post to well over a dozen. People are almost competing with each other to leave a comment now.

    Most are thoughtful, but you also get quite a few folks who just say “Me Too”.

  4. robwatts Post author

    I guess it would be kinda cool to have people queueing up to comment…as a safeguard, maybe with some little footer disclaimer somewhere saying me2 posters will be redirected to an ad clickbot exit page 😀

  5. Lyndoman

    I see a badge on the way. “Comment on this site and you get a real backlink.” It gets slapped on any blog that turns the no follow off to encourage commenting.

    If I had to chose between a “link lite” blog and a blog that gives real links then I would gravitate to commenting on the real link blog.

    I think you have something here Rob, I never thought about it before. But it makes is less worthwhile for real people to comment if you have “no follow”, and it doesn’t stop the spam, so what is the point.

    Is it relatively easy to remove it?

  6. robwatts Post author

    Lyndon, love the way your mind works on that user anticipation front 😉

    I agree, I was here and there on a few blogs earlier, some fairly well known; seeing the big pink flags all over the shop kinda discincentivised me to chime in! Not that a little link love should be a reason for doing so mind, just all seems out of whack, especially if you are adding something to the mix and all. Why nofollow someone taking the time to respond to ones randomness? Some reward huh?

    Ok, there is a school of thought that says, its merely a precautionary for the sake of SE’s, and that SE’s *may* well choose to do their own little read ahead evaluation too, but we don’t really know do we? Vanilla html links are always better. I think nofollow stinks.

    Yes, it is easy to remove, check out that gif I slapped on the end of this post. When I install a decent code plugin I’ll add the instructions in full. (currently tinymce obliterates any php I put in)

    P.s I think something could be done for me too’ers. I might well look at an option that looks at comment length if > 300 chars ok, else nofollow or if user has only commented once or twice and comment average < 300 chars nofollow, or something like that! Last thing you want to be seen as is an easy link ride. Maybe there is a plug in that lets you nofollow individual comments.

  7. Pingback: » Is your Blog “Link Lite”?

  8. Pingback: Ultimate List of DoFollow Plugins - Banish Nofollow From Comments and Trackbacks : Blog Archive Andy Beard

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  10. robwatts Post author

    I read your blog post, and to be fair i dont think Im too far away from your position. Who really wants anonymous posters anyway? I certainly don’t. Sure, people can lie and give pseudonyms and fake email addresses too, but on most occassions if they’ve made the effort and said something of value, then regardless I’ll let the link stand, with the exception perhaps of links to things heinous or otherwise objectable of course.

    As people like Andy and others have suggested. Nofollow certainly has a place, its just a case that its use is being bent and manipulated to the benefits of the few rather than the many. When did the blogging community become search engine traffic wardens, placing tickets on suspect links??

    The debate around whether valid commenters should or should not receive a little link love/juice is more or less wrapped up; its kinda difficult to argue against giving it, unless of course you are some PR mongering link whore.

    It really isn’t  the job the of the blogging community to fix search engine algo deficiencies, that I do know.

    As far as bloggers go individually, well part and parcel of the game is that people *should* be moderating their content, people should be looking at what people are writing and linking to. To rely on a little rel=nofollow to act as a dissuader is kinda silly and if left in place, just defeats any original aim of supposedly clearing up the mess.

  11. Pingback: » Valuing your readership - Site wide links for top commenters Blog Yack Yack

  12. cctech

    Hey Rob – Great post. We recently had a discussion about doing the same thing on our blog and decided to go for it. Akismet does a SUPER job of catching spam and we moderate all comments anyway. So, even if a spam comment made it past Akismet, we could still catch it.

    I love Lyndoman’s idea of the badge! Is somebody working on that graphic? If not, we should create one as a “little community” or something.

  13. robwatts Post author

    Hey Anthony, nice decision! On the badge thing…no, not that I know of, would be a good idea though I agree, could create a little buzz with the right graphic…

  14. Bri

    Personally, I think that if someone is contributing to your discussion, then they should be rewarded. It’s a way of encouraging involvement without using the top commentator plugin. Though I understand the premise behind the top commentator plugin, the results are just stupid. People post very inane of silly comments just to get in the top 5 or 10. They should be punished and not rewarded for that.

  15. robwatts Post author

    Hi Bri

    I agree, reward people who make an effort, absolutely.

    >People post very inane of silly comments just to get in the top 5 or 10.

    That hasn’t been my experience thus far with (TP) but I hear where you are coming from. Good moderation is where its at!

  16. robwatts Post author

    Im getting a

    “403 forbidden

    Server configuration does not allow access to this page. Please go back and try again.”

    On that link there…

  17. cctech

    d’oh – forgot we are blocking direct access to some of the sub-dirs. if you want to check it out, you can see the chicklet on the home page of the blog in the bottom right.

    if you want to use that chicklet and can’t get it from my blog, let me know and i will email it to you. of course, if you have ideas for improvement – please share :).

    ur blog is looking great, BTW! Good job!

  18. Ant

    Hi there, congratulations on your dofollow I suggest you join the group on . I believe that this “no nofollow” movement is going the put more personality among blogs…

  19. robwatts Post author

    Hi, yes thats a good group to belong to, Ive been there from the off actually, Andy did well to set that up.

    NO nofollow is definitely a way of re-personalising and making blog owners more aware as to who is commenting and looking at what they are saying, rather than leaving it all to some attribute like nofollow. A non moderated blog is not at all cool in my book.

  20. HOBO SEO

    Cheers! I’m on bumpzee as of yesterday. looks quite good.

    As yet, any bad experiences of removing nofollow? I havent but it might be too early!

  21. robwatts Post author

    I get the odd, one liner and me2, but by and large thats it. Ive deleted or disapproved the odd comment here and there, but overall, no problems at all.

  22. HOBO SEO

    That is nice to know. Hope I’ll be back to reply “M2” to this post later regarding wether it’s been good for me too! :)

  23. Court

    What a cool thing this is. I wish that more and more bloggers would start to ‘follow’. It has been good for me and it has really increased the comments on my site a lot.

  24. Dexter

    There are lots of blogger beginning to make this do follow rel.. thing.. at least any comments i make make sense with my blog..

    I have now also make my blog as do follow

  25. robwatts Post author

    @ Court – sorry Court I missed your comment for some reason – I hear you too, I tend to come across blogs that have nofollow now and subconsciously switch off to commenting. I find myself thinking in terms of, stingy so and so, doesnt want to share any link love, why should I bother even.

  26. robwatts Post author

    I might just do that Turk. Be sure to check out the Bumpzee community referenced above. They’ll like stuff like this too.

  27. Andy Martin

    nofollow tag has deprived many good bloggers of their valuable backlinks to their blogs.Although most of the time people use it to spam other’s blogs.We should fight spam rather than fighting bloggers

  28. Bree DoFollow

    I do-follow links now on my Aussie housewife blog. After a long time procastinating I have seen the importance of dofollow and using the “do follow” principal to help keep the Internet better connected. – Take a look at my dofollow blog and feel free to comment. Thank you, Regards Bree.

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  30. Max

    I have downloaded the search status plugin which you mentioned in your post and I can;’t thank you enough for recommending it. It is amazing to (easily) see how much no follow is used.

    On another note, I was wondering if comments were good for SEO? I have recently noticed that quite a few sites with a ton of comments (mostly because of plugins like link love) have a significantly higher PR than their nofollow equivalents. Any thoughts on that>

    Thanks for the post!

  31. miadeo

    Nice blog. I’m liking how the dofollow movement is really gaining steam! You bring up some good points, but I agree that the pros far outweigh the cons.

  32. Geek Mother

    It will be interesting to see how the dofollow movement develops over the coming year. I for one get sick of people hanging on every word of Matt Cutts’ diatribe of usually misleading twaddle. Who do Google think they are?

    Power to the people.

  33. robwatts Post author

    Hi Geek Mother, right on sister 😀

    Yes, Google are very very big in their boots right now. We aren’t alone in our dissatisfaction with them and their propensity to weight throw. Until the school kids stand up to the bully then the bully will usually continue to bash.

    I think Google think they own the internet right now. At the current rate of influence and acquisition they probably will too. :(

  34. Geek Mother

    Hi Rob

    All I can say is that Google moved the goalposts around October last year and both my own and some friends sites were basically wiped from existence after 4 years of great natural positions – some will say that we were lucky to have ‘free’ traffic for so long but depends how you define free – what about the months of white hat effort that went into them? Fortunately I do not have all my eggs in one basket and being in the UK means that we are already in a niche as far as the web is concerned – I must confess that my white hat is becoming darker by the day. Advertisers now advertise advertisers advertising advertisers who advertise advertisers advertising the occasional real business. the fact is that if you can get past all of the advertisers then the value of the listing is more valuable these days – so best bet these days is to go niche – watch what is being advertised and get a slice of the action by using your current traffic in a different way – rinse, wash and repeat and David can beat the Googleiath.

  35. robwatts Post author

    Hi Geek Mother

    I hear your legitimate beef.Been there had it done so to speak.

    All too many people like to use that whole “but they are a privately owned company free to do as they please” line, which you’ll be unsurprised to hear, I don’t buy.

    Apologies if I’m repeating myself (its a nearing 40 thing) but the way I see it is that Google took on public utility status some time back, simply because they happened to win the war of search and branding. Everyone bought the whole colorful, pink fluffy lava lamp do no evil message and helped evangelise the word. Christ, did you know that they even have so called search evangelists these days, I mean as in actually refer to each other in that way?

    Scary kool-aid stuff.

    Fight the power.

  36. SEO guy Leeds

    The interesting thing for me is that we now have little dofollow communities emerging of dofollow bloggers who seem to know and trust each other which ironically means that the links between their blogs are trusted in pretty much the way that Google envisaged in the first place. I’m no fan of nofollow, but I do enjoy a little bit of irony.

  37. robwatts Post author

    Hello Chris

    Well, I find that with having dofollow I get a lot of comments from people just here to get links and not very much else really, which is a bit of a shame in some ways. I’m thinking of installing a new plugin something like Greg Bosers plugin that enables you to selectively choose who does and who doesnt get a link. I think I might go the anchor text route in that if someone turns up and comments intelligently yet links to their site with target keywords then I’ll probably nofollow them, unless of course they comment regularly, in which case I might feel all nice and dofollow them all.

    Moderation is a PITA 😀

  38. SEO guy Leeds

    Hi Rob,

    have to admit my blog is quote quiet – mostly because its new and I haven’t done much at all to market it at the moment. But I did have one amusing spammer the other week. A supposed SEO who managed to select a linking opportunity on my blog for one of his clients that was totally out of context. Not to mention the fact that I only dofollow in the name field not the content. So I just left him there with his irrelevant worthless link and left a comment to let everyone know what he’d done – nothing like a bit of bad publicity.

  39. robwatts Post author

    Chris, nothing wrong with being quote quiet bud – so long as you get to say what you want and express a view or two then what the hey!

    As for comment spammers the best way to get them I think, is to leave their comment and delink their stuff, Im sure that absolutely kills them 😀

  40. SEO Guy leeds

    Hi Rob,

    thanks for the kind words. The problem at the moment is that I’ve just about got time to get the posts out, but not much for the marketing. I seem to have about 10 projects on the go at the moment, as well as all the little inhouse ventures I’m keen on working on. Think I could be overstretching myself, but better that than a quiet life.

    BTW, have you noticed the improvements to the sitemap algo over the past few days – a couple of my sites just appeared showing a decent chunk of the sitemap in the SERPs for the first time. I haven’t worked on one of these in months so I’m assuming its something at Google’s end.

  41. robwatts Post author

    Sitemaps: Chris, can’t say I have no; I assume you are referring to the xml feed types?

    Are you saying that you’ve seen an increase in indexing frequency of traditional types/both?

    I am of the view that indexing frequency very much depends on the accepted traditional s of site authority, number of links in, age etc. Or maybe Ive got the wrong end of the stick!

    Busy sure beats being idle thats for sure! I’m snowed under right now and really could do with a time contraction device to fit a few more things into my working day 😀


  42. SEO Guy leeds

    Hi Rob,

    the sitemap algo is what decides whether you get a basic listing in the organic results or one with a small site map e.g. it appears underneath ‘cached similar page note this’ and gives a list of other pages from the web site like

    links – gallery – services – products
    more results from

    This is the first time I’ve seen anything of mine pick this up.

    All Google have to say about it is that the website must be spiderable and authoritative to get in there and that they are improving the algo, but there looks to be more to it than this and it certainly looks like quite a few more sites are starting to get the benefit over the past few days or so. Just also noticed it happening for BlueClaw for ‘SEO in leeds’ which they’ve never had before.

  43. Geek Mother

    As someone who is new to blogging and having purchased Geek Mother recently I have found it quite fascinating researching the link love situation. For example those who sponsor templates seem to do quite well as there will always be a small number of people who keep using the sponsored template as as they grow their sites then they will get a good long term benefit from the footer links. As reagrds the spammers then as I have been touring various blogs then I think that it is relatively easy to spot those who are out for simply the link in the post – BTW I have not posted a link in a post yet anywhere! As regards the anchor text then I am fairly relaxed about this – I use Geek Mother because I think it is quite catchy and already rank no 1 for the phrase so if I was really out for the link benefit then I might use something like Gadget reviews or about 1000 possible alternatives and rotate them on blogs where I post. I think that if matters do get out of hand then there are always ways of controlling matters. So, I am already a converted blogger so to speak and I have to say that I really enjoy reading other peoples stuff and commenting upon it – for me it is all part of a learning curve for me to learn how to build my owm blog site that people may be interested in. So in a couple of weeks time then Geek Mother will rise from the ashes and begin her new life!

  44. robwatts Post author

    Hi GM, it certainly is a massive topic with all sorts of angles and counter angles from the various competing constituencies!

    Im with you on the blogger front too, theres definitely a community type feel to it all and it’s great to interact with people with similar aims and objectives or completely different and opposing stances even!

  45. SEO Guy leeds

    Just a quick one to say well done Geek Mother – I just had a look at your blog – 5500 inbound links on such a new domain and 3 .edu links as well! That’s impressive. Quite a lot of the inbounds are using the dreaded nofollow, but if you’ve got something to say on a blog its worth saying irrespective of nofollow.

    As an aside if you get the Search Status plugin for Firefox you’ll be able to tell which blogs are using nofollow and which aren’t.

  46. Geek Mother

    Just did a nice long reply and forgot the spam numbers, clicked back and lost all my comment, etc!!! At least I am learning.

    Thanks for the tip! A I said earlier I purchased Geek Mother ( I have dangly bits in the wrong places to be a mother but it is easy to get into character mode! As I run several other successful websites using different business models then I thought venturing into a new world would be fun. It struck me that with Google telling the world to nofollow everything and with social networks, in the main, tyrning into Google lapdogs it struck me that links on blogs would have real value from an SEO standpoint. I soon found the stuff Google movement aka ‘U comment, I follow@ and what Randa Clay started appealed to my sense of values so I thought that I would dig a little deeper. Then I found that on nearly all wordpress blogs the theme attribution is nearly always a dofollow and so my search began to buy a blog with a theme that it owned and had distributed. I then met Geek Mother , we fell in love with each other and four days later she was mine ( and all for less than £200 ( I know she won’t mind me telling you that! ) and we are now very happily married to each other! I can seeing us having some children once I have worked out that elusive strategy to slap Google in the face – early days yet but I am getting there slowly and I really appreciate good blog info like Rob provides. So somebody teaches me something new about blogging and possibly I can share something on SEO – that’s how the internet ought to work and not being used as basically one big advert shop!

  47. MSN hacken

    I hate nofollow so I figured out how to use the DoFollow plugin and installed it on my weblog. So now every commentor I follow and give him some link juice

  48. robwatts Post author

    Good for you msn hacken, unfortunatley I couldn’t allow your link as I can’t read what you were saying there. Hacken is very close to Hack and if your page is discussing how to hack MSN then I’m afraid I want no part in promoting it.

  49. Motorcycle Parts

    nofollow sucks. if someone is leaving you a commment they should have a thank you in return.

  50. SEO Guy Leeds

    Well said Motorcycle parts. There’s always an obvious difference between someone desiring a link in return for their contribution, and a lazy spammer, who drops by to say ‘nice blog thanks and here’s some keywords’

    This post in itself goes to show what a two way street blogging is, and no follow just skews the relationship between blogger and commenter in my opinion. lazy spammers often don’t even take the trouble to work out whether a blog is no follow or not, since it only takes a second to drop by and paste in a generic comment.

  51. BloggerOfTheWeb

    I turn off NoFollow some time back and so far other than getting more spam everyday, I don’t see any side effect about it. However, to fight spam, one way is to install answer bots in your post before your reader can leave a comment. This is rather effective way.

    Keep your DoFollow on! Support the DoFollow community!

  52. BloggerOfTheWeb

    Hello friend,

    I would like to invite you to add your DoFollow blog to my DoFollow & CommentLuv Directory to increase your blog exposure. I will be marketing my directory alot hence you should rest assured that many bloggers will see and visit your blog soon. This is a very cost effective way of driving more visitors to your blog and making them to leave comment or subscribe to your RSS if your content is good.

    All I need is just a reciprocal link from you.


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