What exactly does the rel="nofollow" meta tag do.. or more accurately what does the rel="nofollow" meta tag not do… or even what is the rel="nofollow" meta tag supposed to do and why it is absolutely worthless!
In the "old days" we were taught to use a tag within our hyperlinks that would tell Google not to follow a certain hyperlink within our websites that we would link to. The html code looks similar to this:
<a href="https://blog.example.com" rel="nofollow">Your Link You
Want to Hide from Google</a>
When to Use a rel="nofollow" Link
Google says to use this rel="nofollow" tag in the following situations- Source: Google Webmaster Support;
- If you are linking to untrusted content
- Paid Links
- Crawl Prioritization
"No matter what Matt Cutts says… it's a trap!!"
Let's take a look at each of these reasons Google suggests to use the rel="nofollow" from a different perspective:
- Linking to Untrusted Content: Why would you want to link to untrusted content in the first place?
- Paid Links: Umm, you're kidding us right Google? Is this just a test?
- Crawl prioritization: Ok, this may make sense…wait a second, it doesn't make any sense at all!! Is this not why Google tells us to create a site map?
The rel="nofollow" Tag is Almost Like Asking Google to Follow it!
I have used… (or used to use) the rel="nofollow" on links and I discovered that Google really does follow them!
It is a useless tag! Even in comments on your blog when you suggest that they are nofollow…research it, they are indexed, thus followable. You really cannot control it. By giving it a nofollow attribute, in a sense you are almost asking Google to crawl it.
Google looks at every one of your links and where they are going regardless of the nofollow tag. Yahoo and different Search Engines even ignore the nofollow tag.
What Are You Tryng to Hide with a "nofollow" Link?
Google wants your site to have outgoing links to show relativeness and authority. Why would you want to use a rel="nofollow" link… unless of course you are not linking to trustworthy, relative sites.
The bottom line, as far as I am concerned. If you are linking to untrusted and/or paid links you are doing something wrong in the first place.
Whenever I look at what I am doing (especially in regards to my relationship with Google), I always think about what my mother used to tell me, "If you have to ask yourself if it is the right or wrong thing to do, it is most likely the wrong thing".
Just Do It… Right
Link to trusted, relative sources and you will never have to wonder if the rel="nofollow" link is something you need to use in the first place.