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Old 01-18-2005   #1
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The New Nofollow Link Attribute

Outstanding blog and report from Danny Sullivan:

Google To Add "Nofollow" Tagging Of Links To Fight Spam?
Google, Yahoo, MSN Unite On Support For Nofollow Attribute For Links

Has anyone done any testing for this? Any thoughts?

Last edited by Nacho : 01-19-2005 at 02:28 AM. Reason: Added link to follow up story
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Old 01-18-2005   #2
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The rumours so far are extremely poor - some bloke says he might be talking to some unnamed important person. The speculation about new tags all sounds completely awful, and one of the most illogical ways to address a problem.

Despite Javascript 1.4 and the availabiliy of jump scripts to cripple links, the blogging world is looking to a third-party search engine to try and solve an issue - that the software developers could have implemented years ago?

More to the point - it would not prevent the practice of automated commenting - and would almost certainly encourage those who practice it to take more aggressive action. Santy has shown the way.

Also - am I the only one to think that a search engine actively trying to encourage people to hide their content from it, isn't going to flaw their main aims?

Even though comment spam is hardly high quality, and although coding exists to prevent indexing (yoo-hoo - blog software developers - you could have generated comments in a new folder, with a <no index> or robots.txt to block spidering of those pages, and defeated comment spam when it mattered), somehow I can't help but see a reaction against Google's authority growing on the web, leading to use of such hypothesised tags to start hiding the net from Google.

That's presuming there's any substance to the chatter.

So far, the idea of Google support nofollow tags in links is about the dumbest approach I can think of to the problem. I wouldn't be surprised if the speculation is eventually proved unfounded.
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Old 01-18-2005   #3
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It's now confirmed that the tag will be introduced. Posted this to the blog: New Google Nofollow Link Attribute Is Coming. More details are supposed to come today on the Google Blog.
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Old 01-18-2005   #4
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Wow, but I think it wont matter much.
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Old 01-18-2005   #5
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This should be interesting.... I would like to see more details but since the nofollow option was supposedly already in place I guess this is an admission that Google bots will finally follow it... thus what else are they not really taking notice of?
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Old 01-18-2005   #6
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Going back to the Perseus blog survey, the numbers are still in favor of comment spam and linkpop is a numbers game.
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Old 01-18-2005   #7
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Maybe I'm just an uneducated luddite, but I have yet to see a single high-brow tech guy that's reporting on this issue, actually tell me how this "nofollow" tag is actually going to stop blog spam.

In fact, no one has yet made any suggestion of why this attribute is superior to any number of possible alternatives, that could easily have been implemented by blog software developers - but never were by the majority?

And here's a thought - if such a tag were used widespread against comments and trackbacks, then wouldn't this end up kneecaping blogs, by killing their intricate networks of interlinks?

Last edited by I, Brian : 01-18-2005 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 01-18-2005   #8
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>wouldn't this end up kneecaping blogs

SHHHhhhh! The bloggers haven't figured that out yet, hhh!
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Old 01-18-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcjordan
>wouldn't this end up kneecaping blogs

SHHHhhhh! The bloggers haven't figured that out yet, hhh!
I think as a move it will give Google another place to index and have searched... you have Google Search, Google News, Google Directory, Froogle, Google Scholar etc....

COMING SOON - Google Blog a searchable list by blog title and blog content etc.... also creates more places for adwords....
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Old 01-18-2005   #10
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Putting blogs under a tab has been proposed a few times (even reported as a done deal once; The Register : 2003) but there was something of an outcry by the bloggers about being buried. Frankly, with the rise of other specialized blog search engines over the last year I think it's still a viable solution.
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Old 01-18-2005   #11
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Given that Yahoo & MSN have joined Google in supporting this -- and it's now official -- I've renamed the thread and moved it into link building from the Google web search area. Why link building? Well, it's mostly to do with links, so seemed like the right home.

Quote:
Actually tell me how this "nofollow" tag is actually going to stop blog spam.
My story will be up shortly and I go into this, but like many others, I agree that it won't. Doesn't mean it's not useful to have. In fact, we'll likely implement it on the forums here, so as to help perhaps ease link spam. It won't solve the problem here, there or anywhere -- but it might deter it.

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In fact, no one has yet made any suggestion of why this attribute is superior to any number of possible alternatives
That assumes there's one perfect solution. There's not. This is just another tool.

Quote:
And here's a thought - if such a tag were used widespread against comments and trackbacks, then wouldn't this end up kneecaping blogs, by killing their intricate networks of interlinks?
It doesn't quite work like that. You can't link to something and "hurt" it, if that's what you mean. My story looks at this more, when it's up.

If bloggers do this to their trackbacks, sure -- those trackbacks won't count. But you can do this for any links you want. In your main post, where lots of bloggers link to each other, you wouldn't do it there. So it wouldn't prevent the crediting that happens in that way.

And the story's now up with many more details: Google, Yahoo, MSN Unite On Support For Nofollow Attribute For Links

Last edited by dannysullivan : 01-18-2005 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 01-18-2005   #12
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More info

Our post is up now:
http://www.google.com/googleblog/

This is really starting to gather momentum. Three search engines plus 10+ blogging companies mean this is getting traction. I'm surprised how many people are signing on to cooperate on this. We just heard from MSN Spaces, for example; they're on board too.
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Old 01-19-2005   #13
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It is interesting to see the banding together of the major engines on this.
It gives one hope that BlackKnight's suggestion to elimate the headaches over tracking codes and other dynamic codes may be attainable.
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Old 01-19-2005   #14
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Frankly, anything that gives me more control over how my website interacts with the rest of the web is a good thing.

I don't see how something that is designed to give webmasters and bloggers MORE control over what they do or how they do it as being a bad thing.

If I want to cheat someone over a link, I can robots.txt it, I can database redirect it, I can hide it in java/javascript, I can use a "lucky" google search, and I can nofollow it.

As a method for cheating people out of their links, this is hardly a news flash or the end of the world.

But as a method that allows a webmaster to easily control what happens and how it's a nice tool to have.

What is the problem with more control? Look at what the lack of control has accomlished so far. How many people are designing their websites around how a search engine spiders than around what they want to do?

Can you spam, cheat, misdirect and so forth with this? Sure. I suppose the difference is that it's the owner, not the visitor, that's doing it. This is a bad thing why?

The more control I have over what I do, the better. I don't see a reason to use it on my site, but if I ever do, I'd like to have the option available. I'm really suspicious of anyone arguing that how my site acts and links should be up to someone else. That goes for search engines, programmers, and yes, spammers.

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Old 01-19-2005   #15
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Appears to be a good move over-all.

However, I'm seeing this from a different angle. I believe it is primarily for the benefits of the SE so it doesn't cost them as much to spider the Web and have their spiders go off on constant tagents.

Also, it could mean that, in the past, forums that were linked to bad neighbouhoods within posts, were exempt from any wrong doing. Perhaps they are now going to stop that?

Or, perhaps they are going to start to pass any/all/more benefits of a link that does not use the new attribute?

On a simliar note, I wonder if forums, that have bought links only for the SE (Jupiter etc) and not their site vistors, be using these in the outbound links?

My opinions only and only supposed to provoke thought
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Old 01-19-2005   #16
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this is actually a great idea for SE.
Now watch people use this on their "links" page and ask for a normal link back
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Old 01-19-2005   #17
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If this is truly to stop "spam" I would hope to see this used on the multitude of link "advertising" sites. If they don't use it, it would seem to me they can longer claim they don't sell PR and link popularity.
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Old 01-19-2005   #18
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The more control I have over what I do, the better. I don't see a reason to use it on my site, but if I ever do, I'd like to have the option available.
I agree, Ian. Another tool in the webmasters toolbox, although I'm not sure it's going to have much impact on blog spamming bots. Just reduce their utility. Very slightly.

Will get a lot of press mileage, tho' The blogsphere will light up.
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Old 01-19-2005   #19
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Will get a lot of press mileage, tho' The blogsphere will light up.
Yep, and one big reason for getting this pushed forward is how the bloggers have been the squeeky wheel. As many know, there were and are other things they could do to combat comment spam. The search engines didn't have to get involved -- but I am very, very glad to have a new tool the control indexing. Which leads me to...

Quote:
It is interesting to see the banding together of the major engines on this.
It gives one hope that BlackKnight's suggestion to elimate the headaches over tracking codes and other dynamic codes may be attainable.
Agree entirely! And now it's time for web authors in general to be squeeky about these types of things to push forward for other changes. If it can happen primarily for bloggers, other pressing needs can be done for those beyond blogging. That was the purpose of this thread: Time For An Indexing Summit?

So get in there and squeek, roar, whatever -- because we're going to go through some of those ideas at the SES NY show.
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Old 01-19-2005   #20
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From Danny's log: This also means you shouldn't worry that people will link to you and use nofollow as a way to hurt you -- Google says that won't happe
I believe Google said something similar to this when they launched the NoCache tag. Remember what happend? I do! (not that it hit me, but I saw THOUSANDS of my colleagues sites vanish!)

Sorry, but as long as there are no binding agreement between me, as a publisher, and the search engines I am not going to risk my sites by adding this sort of code to any site and the blog software that force it on you I will just drop. I want to see, over some time, what the engines will ACTUALLY do with this.


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I Brian: And here's a thought - if such a tag were used widespread against comments and trackbacks, then wouldn't this end up kneecaping blogs, by killing their intricate networks of interlinks?

Danny: It doesn't quite work like that. You can't link to something and "hurt" it, if that's what you mean. My story looks at this more, when it's up.
It looks like you are talking about two different things.

To me the question is how will this kind of "no value linking" influence comminities where users, posters and members has been used to being "paid" for their postings with the link back they get. What are those communities now going to pay such posters now? Will we suddenly see "value link" communities compete with "no value links" communites on this metric? Will posters accept that they won't get paid anymore - or will they just move on to something else?

Comminities are like a living organism. If it is in perfect ballance it works great but if you start messing around with it too much it might get "infected", sick or die.
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