How to use nofollows correctly

Ok so today I read an article by Aaron Wall about nofollows being largely a waste of time, I didn’t quite understand what he was talking about until I scrolled down on my RSS reader to find Matt Cutts had already blogged about this.

Basically, in a nutshell – no follows don’t pass page rank, but they do reduce the amount of page rank passed on by other links.

So for example, if you have a PR 10 site and 10 outgoing links, 9 of which are nofollowed, only 1 will actually pass any link juice. In this situation you might expect it to pass all 10 (minus a dampening factor), but it doesn’t it only passes 1.

So here is my advice on how to use nofollows correctly and what action you should take:

  1. Ensure you are “dofollowing” all internal links – otherwise you are just shooting yourself in the foot – don’t page rank sculpt, you are just reducing the amount of juice that stays on your site.
  2. Reduce the overall amount of outgoing links you have on your site, these might include social tagging links
  3. Dofollow all your external links, unless you see them as a direct competitor or you deem it a “bad neighbourhood”
  4. Dofollow Nofollow links from commenters – you may get a little spam, but if you keep on top of the moderation it should be fine you will be spammed!.

So far I’ve dofollowed all my internal links (that I have noticed) and removed any nofollow external links completely. I’ve also removed my social networking links on each post which were detracting the link juice through my site significantly.

On a final note, I’ve dofollowed nofollowed my blog comments – I want to encourage people to use my blog – perhaps it’ll but I don’t want to get it covered in spam (I hope not) – so feel free to comment on this post!

The plugin for WordPress I used to use to dofollow my comments is called NoFollow Free in case anyone is interested (by the way the link is dofollowed).

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