The link condom

In Link Buildingby Marius Badenhorst

When dodging the slavering jaws of the spambots, it`s best if your site looks like a lousy supper. That means reducing the rewards of getting the spam message onto the site. Even if spammers make the necessary code changes to help their spambots navigate the web, they may simply decide that it`s not worth the extra work and maintenance if the incentives are too low. My assumption is that spammers are in the hunt for a good Google PageRank score; it`s about boosting their results in search engines. The rel=”nofollow” tag when added to links tells Google and other search engines not to index the link. Admittedly the pace of spam has only increased since the rel=”nofollow” tag was introduced by Google and a group of blog software makers a couple of years ago. My optimistic hunch is that new apps that support this tag from the get-go won`t be as big a target. We`ll see.

Does it really work? Is this the method of protection we ought to use online? Introduced by Google in 2005 and initially intended to prevent blog and forum comment spam, the rel=nofolow tag is used to instruct search engines that a link should not influence the link target`s ranking in the search engine`s index. Most blog software like WordPress and some forums use the “nofollow” attribute on links that readers submit

The motivation for this proposal is the problem of blog spammers: automatic programs that post comments and links on blogs in order to manipulate PageRank into assigning a high rank to certain websites. Google proposes that blogging tools convert the links found in comments posted by all users by adding the rel=”nofollow” attribute to the corresponding a tag. The rationale is that links appearing in comments to blog posts are not created by the owner of the blog and therefore should not improve the rank of the linked page by drawing upon the rank or importance of the blogger. The rel=”nofollow” attribute instructs search engines not to consider the link as an expression of the opinion of the author of linking page. Thus, it is similar to rel=”vote-abstain” in Vote Links but has received greater recognition because of Google’s position as the most popular search engine on the web. A drawback is that it does not allow the user to express a negative preference for a link.

My opinion? I don`t like “noFollow” tags and I totally agree with Jeremy Zawodny. I think it amounts to trying to get a free ride by benefiting from links without paying the cost for them. Also the abuse of the “nofollow” tag itself. Often webmasters try to hide reciprocated links, so that search engines think the link popularity is all one-way. Directory owners trying to preserve PageRank by crippling content links and Webmasters hiding links in RSS feeds they publish, thus gaining content without search engines being able to attribute it to source just to mention a few. Who knows? What might work for you will not necessarily work for the next person! Give it a thought.

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Marius Badenhorst

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