[theforum] nofollow in articles (was Re: New article)

Drs Marcel Feenstra, MALD, MBA marcel at wintasy.com
Wed Oct 17 04:10:31 CDT 2007

William Anderson wrote:


> *please* stop using asterisks so liberally in your mails, it gives me a

> headache trying to read them :P


I apologize if I have caused you a headache. I was using the asterisks to
emphasize points I thought were important (not being a native speaker of
English, I'm already at a slight disadvantage in getting my point across
properly). I will try to use them less often.


William Anderson wrote:


> Ah, the meat of the matter.  You're pissed off because we're setting

> nofollow on links to your own sites?  That's not denying credit, that's

> just a side effect of a blanket policy to defend against the ridiculous

> entity that is SEO and related spam.


I disagree, for several reasons.


I have no problems with the use of "nofollow" in comments or similar
material that has not been the object of editorial review; but I think it is
a little rude, and inappropriate, to add the attribute, against the author's
wish, to articles that *have* (sorry!) been reviewed and accepted.


(Of course, if an author chooses to add "nofollow" to one or more links that
he or she does not want to vouch for, that's a different story altogether.)


It's funny that you should say "to your own sites". I actually have a habit
of linking very liberally to sites I refer to, since I believe it is
important to give proper credit, e.g.:






and I could give you dozens of other examples. (If you should think that I
added these external links only moments ago, to make my point, simply check
the Google cache.)


In the article, I had intended to link the first occurence of "Linux"
(http://www.linux.org/) and "Apache" (http://www.apache.org/) as well, but
somehow forgot to do so. If you had "nofolowed" these links, I would have
objected, too. It's not a matter of "links to my own sites" versus "links to
other sites"; it is the principle of adding "nofollow" to editorially
reviewed and accepted material that I object to.


In my opinion, using "nofollow" in articles will do little or nothing to
deter spammers. They may be a little less tempted to submit articles that
are nothing but "thinly-veiled self-promotion" --but you would (or should)
have rejected these, anyway!


Technically, all the "nofollow" attribute does is remove any search engine
benefits that a "regular" link might have, and that is just fine if we are
talking about unreviewed comments (actually, that's exactly what it was
designed for!); but it seems almost spiteful --if that is the right word--
to use it for articles... 


Now, what about (all) SEO being a ridiculous, spam-related activity? It is
true that there are "black-hat" SEOs who will use any trick and shortcut,
legal or not, to get their
get-credit-so-you-can-buy-viagra-and-play-poker-while-watching-porn sites to
rank higher. But there are other, legitimate ("ethical", if you will) forms
of SEO, for example: telling a mom-and-pop store that their site should use
title tags, so that search engines will "understand" what the main topic of
each page is; or telling them *not* to use Flash or JavaScript for
navigation, because it will keep the SE from finding the "underlying" pages.


On Dean Mah's blog:




I noticed a sentence that looks quite relevant here:


"And I don't think that we even have all of the search engine friendly URLs
mapped over from the previous CMS."


Yeah, using search engine friendly URLs --another form of search engine
optimization that looks perfectly legitimate and "non-devious" to me!




Well, this is getting somewhat longish (to me, that's OK, because it is an
issue I *care* about, but I realize not everyone does...), so I'll stop here
for now.


--Oh, alright, one final "jokelet":


Dean Mah wrote:


> Like I said, I throw the baby out with the bath water.  


IMO, that is rarely a good idea: it tends to kill the baby, and you end up
empty-handed... :-)



More information about the theforum mailing list