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View Poll Results: What scenario seems most likely regarding Google's treatment of nofollow?
Google changed its algorithm some time last year, and no one noticed. 5 38.46%
Google changed its algorithm, and the SEOs who noticed were too smart to tell anyone. 5 38.46%
Google never changed the way it handles nofollow, but is trying to get SEOs to stop using it. 1 7.69%
PageRank sculpting with nofollow never worked, and Google is finally letting everyone know. 2 15.38%
Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-17-2009   #1
Kevin Newcomb
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Following the Nofollow Kerfuffle

In my column today, "Following the Nofollow Kerfuffle," I go through a few scenarios regarding Matt Cutts' recent disclosures of the changing algorithm Google uses for the nofollow attribute.

Go read the article, then come back here and vote on what you think is going on here.
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Old 06-19-2009   #2
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Re: Following the Nofollow Kerfuffle

Quote:
Google changed its algorithm, and the SEOs who noticed were too smart to tell anyone.
That's the one I voted for.

There are all kinds of algo changes all the time, with very little posted publicly about them. But there are SEOs who do notice many of the changes, and my honest opinion is that they'll never share most of what they discover with the "general public."

Quote:
Google never changed the way it handles nofollow, but is trying to get SEOs to stop using it.
I won't address whether they ever did or not - but I do trust what Matt Cutts says.

I think it's wise that they discourage, and don't reward, the excessive use of no-follow because historically many webmasters have tried any way they could figure out to hoard PageRank.

That's in no one's best interests - especially from the perspective of providing editorially accurate and authoritative search results to the public, and when people start avoiding linking to sites of value to hoard their PR, it can upset the normalcy of hub and authority scores and decrease value for users.

There are legitimate ways to direct the flow of PageRank within a site, create an honest and useful site architecture, and still link out to sites of value to users - instead of being stingy with quality, useful links.
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Old 06-20-2009   #3
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Re: Following the Nofollow Kerfuffle

Hey Marcia. Here's Matt's comment on this, and I tend to believe him. (Though I often find him pretty vague.)

"So what happens when you have a page with “ten PageRank points” and ten outgoing links, and five of those links are nofollowed? Let’s leave aside the decay factor to focus on the core part of the question. Originally, the five links without nofollow would have flowed two points of PageRank each (in essence, the nofollowed links didn’t count toward the denominator when dividing PageRank by the outdegree of the page). More than a year ago, Google changed how the PageRank flows so that the five links without nofollow would flow one point of PageRank each."

http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/pagerank-sculpting/

I'll also say this bears out with our own testing. About 8 weeks ago we used a silo approach and sculpted our site using no follows. Would expect some things to improve, and some things to lose a bit. Well some things lost a bit as we expected. But the things that should have benefited didn't at all. We were already contemplating rolling back these changes when this news broke a couple weeks ago.
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Old 06-20-2009   #4
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Re: Following the Nofollow Kerfuffle

BTW - By stating that they changed their algorithm, it's obvious that pagerank sculpting using no follows USED to work. Otherwise you wouldn't have to change the algorithm to make it NOT work.
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Old 06-24-2009   #5
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Re: Following the Nofollow Kerfuffle

The whole annoyance is why the heck do you give webmasters a tool, say more or less ..."and if you want, you can also use it for this to save the juice for more relevant parts of your site - even it that's not whey we're really intending the use....."
But then turn around and take that tool away (without saying anything about it at that point). I think this has something more to do with policing links and they're not really explaining it all to us yet.

Last edited by j0nyDzine : 06-24-2009 at 04:34 PM. Reason: added the parenthesis =)
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Old 06-24-2009   #6
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Re: Following the Nofollow Kerfuffle

I think there are a couple of potential answers to your question. I've been thinking about this too. And I think it's important to understand that Google still promotes the idea of pagerank sculpting. They just want you to do it with your site architecture. Not with their no follow tags.

1 - They thought it was OK to allow pagerank sculpting using No Follow, but then didn't like how it was manipulating the results. And they changed their minds.

2 - They never intended for it to be used in this manner in the first place. And people have gone overboard in how they've manipulated it.
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