Here’s a pretty good argument over at the Search Engine Journal about why the “nofollow” tag might not be all that.
The original idea for this tag was to reduce comment spam. Here’s the take from Google, and the objective viewpoint at Wikipedia.
On a related note, we have Marketing Pilgrim that’s a bit miffed about Wikipedia’s recent move towards using “nofollow” on all its external links to reduce spam. He’s thinking that people should use “nofollow” on all links to Wikipedia in protest. But the ultimate hope is that Wikipedia returns to not using “nofollow”.
In the case of this blog, I know for sure they’re being used in the page urls left by commenters. Meanwhile, 99.99% of the spammy comments are being caught by Akismet. All the comments that do get through, they’ve been legitimate and from nice people with actual sites and blogs that deserve a friendly link.
I’m a bit wary of disabling “nofollow” on trackback links however, as those are kind of random and I can’t really control who links to this blog.
But I’m thinking I’m going to do a test today, and remove “nofollow” site-wide. Here’s a WordPress plug in that I just activated, that essentially makes this experiment a one-step process. And if I see a noticeable increase in lame spam, I’ll end the experiment.
Note: Peter Davis has a good post summarizing my thinking in a different way: by removing “nofollow” it’s a statement that I vouch for the quality of the links on this blog. I feel comfortable with that because I definitely look at all the comments and remove the spammy ones that get through Akismet. I don’t have that so many comments that it’s impractical for me to be an editor in that regard – one thankful aspect of having low traffic!Â
Additional Reading: WebProNews, Scobleizer, 901am