To follow or not to follow nofollow?

rel=nofollowMany people haven’t even heard of the rel=nofollow attribute, and yet it is a heavily contested and debated topic. So I guess an important first question would be ‘What is the nofollow attribute?’ The nofollow attribute is a value used in HTML scripting to instruct (most) search engines that the page rank of the link’s target should not be influenced. In other words, if you added the nofollow attribute, you were basically saying you could not/would not vouch for the credibility of the target link. This was established in 2005 as a response to an increase in comment spam on the popular blogging platform Blogger.

When Google introduced this attribute, it was only a matter of time before SEOs and SEMs would find a way to exploit it. Individuals looking for that extra tweek to improve their site ranking and indexing started using the nofollow attribute for PageRank sculpting or PR sculpting. This is a topic best left for another post, but the gist of it is that people were able to actively influence the way Google was ranking pages, and Google doesn’t like that!Basically, the attribute was no longer being used as it was originally intended and was being exploited, so changes were made, and these changes were officially announced.

Being in a competitive market and vying for ranking with terms like dedicated servers and managed hosting, I’m always looking for that edge as well. Apparently, using the nofollow tag isn’t that edge. Matt Cutts, an unofficial guru of SEO and Google search, recently posted an article discussing PR sculpting and the changes to the rel=nofollow attribute. It is an interesting, albeit complicated, read that you can check out here.