Natural Search Blog

Hey Google: Nofollow is for when I don’t vouch for the link’s quality

I’ve said before that I don’t agree with Google’s tough stance on link buying and use of “nofollow” to mark it as a financially influenced link (here and here). One of my favorite white-hat SEO bloggers, Rand Fishkin, is also on Google’s case for it. A key argument that Rand makes:

Nofollow means “I do not editorially vouch for the quality of this link.” It does NOT mean “financial interest may have influenced my decision to link.” If that were the case, fully a quarter of all links on the web would require nofollow (that’s a rough guess, but probably close to the mark). Certainly any website that earns money via its operation, directly or indirectly is guilty of linking to their own material and that of others in the hopes that it will benefit them financially. It is not only unreasonable but illogical to ask that webmasters around the world change their code to ensure that once the chance of financial benefit reaches a certain level (say, you’re about 90% sure a link will make you some money), you add a “nofollow” onto the link.

You go, Rand! Tell those Googlers a thing or two! 😉

Despite all this, Google is the one who holds the keys to the kingdom. So we have to abide by their rules, no matter how “unreasonable” and “illogical.” That’s why my January column for Practical Ecommerce goes into some detail explaining Google’s stance on link buying and the risks. I’ll post a link once the article comes out in a few days.
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