Natural Search Blog


LinkedIn, But NoFollow Link Love

We all knew it was only a matter of time, but still secretly hoped that the honeymoon would last forever. It does appear that LinkedIn has started nofollowing public profile links…but with a strange twist.

I’ve been so heads down in client audits that I didn’t discover this until, ironically, doing another audit for another client. However, I also don’t recall seeing many blog headlines in my Netvibes, so perhaps this one has rather floated under the radar a bit. Even a quick scan in Google doesn’t turn up much beyond this post, ‘Linkedin adds rel=”Nofollow” to profile links‘ over at Kingpin SEO, which dates this change around early-mid November. Based on my recent audit schedule, would make this about right.

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Technorati Authority Number Now Decides Blog Rankings

On Friday, I noticed that Technorati instituted a new change in how they report info about blogs they track. Previously, they displayed the total number of inlinks from the total number of blogs linking to a blog. For example, they’d state “__ blogs link here” and “X links from Y blogs”. They now only state the total number of blogs that link to a blog, and they’re calling that measure the “Technorati Authority” number.

Technorati

Technorati only counts the total number of blogs which link to another blog for the Authority number, not the total number of links – which is good, since various blog features like categorization pages, preview snippets, and other pagination and navigation schemes common to blogs can cause a link from a single posting to reappear multiple times from a blog’s site.

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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.

http://anaboltobuy.ehohost.com/
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Robots Meta Tag Not Well Documented by Search Engines

Those of us who do SEO have been increasingly pleased with the various search engines for providing or allowing tools and protocols to allow us to help direct, control, and manage how our sites are indexed. However, the search engines still have a significant need to keep much of their workings a secret out of fear of being exploited by ruthless black-hats who will seek to improve page rankings for keywords regardless of appropriateness. This often leaves the rest of us with tools that can be used in some limited cases, but there’s little or no documentation to tell us how those tools operate functionally in the complex real world. The Robots META tag is a case in point.

The idea behind the protocol was simple, and convenient. It’s sometimes hard to use a robots.txt file to manage all the types of pages delivered up by large, dynamic sites. So, what could be better than using a tag directly on a page to tell the SE whether to spider and index the page or not?  Here’s how the tag should look, if you wanted a page to NOT be indexed, and for links found on it to NOT be crawled:

<meta content=”noindex,nofollow” name=”ROBOTS”>

Alternatively, here’s the tag if you wanted to expressly tell the bot to index the page and crawl the links on it:

<meta content=”index,follow” name=”ROBOTS”>

But, what if you wanted the page to not be indexed, while you still wanted the links to be spidered? Or, what if you needed the page indexed, but the links not followed? The major search engines don’t clearly describe how they treat these combinations, and the effects may not be what you’d otherwise expect. Read on and I’ll explain how using this simple protocol with the odd combos had some undesirable effects.

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