It’s highly likely that many of your blog posts will contain links to other sites in them – some may be paid links, others are to fellow bloggers or general interest sites. Most of us probably add them without thinking too much about it, but should we pay more attention to the type of link we are using? Jac from Tinned Tomatoes explains why perhaps we should…
You may have heard of the “nofollow” debate, if you haven’t, read on.
The words “nofollow” had no meaning to me until a month ago, when Helen over at Fuss Free Flavours brought it to my attention. There is a raging debate about it at the moment.
So what is “nofollow”?
“nofollow” is a little bit of code you add to a link to tell Google’s robots not to follow that link.
You might wonder why this is important? Now, here is the thing, there are good links and bad links.
Linking to other blogs and relevant articles in your blog post is a good thing and Google positively loves this. Google hates a site that is insular and goes nowhere. So continue these friendly links that help us to promote each other. They are also great for your readers, who can follow them to read more about a topic.
Bad links are broken links, links to spam, links whose keywords do not match the website it leads to and sponsored links.
The first three are probably just common sense, so let’s talk about sponsored links.
If not handled correctly, sponsored links can really affect your PageRank. Here is what Google says about it:
Paid links: A site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to it. In order to prevent paid links from influencing search results and negatively impacting users, we urge webmasters use
nofollow on such links.
So, if you are reviewing a product, writing a sponsored post or adding a paid link, remember to add the “nofollow” code and to add a disclosure statement to your post. It is also worth thinking about links that may look like they are sponsored, even though they aren’t. Say you are linking to a big company like Amazon or Tesco. This could look like a sponsored link, even if it is entirely innocent, so do consider adding the “nofollow” to these too.
Adding “nofollow” to a link is easy, but you have to do it manually unless you are on WordPress, where there is a plugin available. Here is how to do it:
<a href=”http://www.bigcompany.com”>Big Company</a>
Link with “nofollow” added
<a href=”http://www.bigcompany.com” rel=”nofollow” > Big Company </a>
This seems simple, so why is there a debate? Well, as you can imagine, some companies will want a robot to follow your link to their site as well as readers. These companies may ask you not to use “nofollow” and tell you that it makes no difference to PageRank, but are you willing to take the risk?
Sarah from Maison Cupcake sums it up rather nicely.
“Many bloggers are happy to hoover up sponsored post cash from SEO companies without being aware of risks they take regarding potential Google penalties when posting links in such posts. Most SEO companies don’t care about bloggers’ sites being de-listed from Google and often won’t want to pay you for “no follow” links when they can move on to the next person willing to sell the type of links they’re after. It’s also shocking when you point out Google’s statement on paid links to SEO company staff attempting to place follow links on your blog, how many will try to convince you that you’re not taking a risk at all when clearly their client is their priority rather than you.”
Are you willing to take the risk? Do you already use nofollow links? Add your views to the debate…