The rules of optimizing websites have changed so much over the last few decades that keeping up with those changes can sometimes seem daunting. One of the biggest changes we have seen of late has to do with links.
The Stone Age Of Linking
There was a time, way back in the beginning of website days, that when people built websites they would ‘trade’ links
with other people. We still run across some of those websites with pages called Links and it is just full of links to the person’s favorite websites.
This old-fashioned link exchange gained people traffic and search engine value – that is until the search engines caught on and realized people were gaming the system with waaaay to many links.
The Bronze Age
Once people realized they were being penalized for link sharing, they decided to purchase links. Whenever somebody wants to purchase anything, you can be sure everybody and their sister, aunt and uncle will come out of the wood work with something to sell. People were buying links to sites all over the world and from websites that were not even in their language, never mind not even in their topic realm.
Again, we still see some of these sites and people with links to Chinese wig stores, or even worse, porn sites.
The Iron Age
Things changed again, it wasn’t the number of links you had but the quality of links. Plus, if those links within your link profile were part of what was called a ‘link farm’,
you were in big trouble. Link Farms were created by taking a number of websites that were all linked together, passing important search engine juice through each of them and charging people for them. People wanting to capture some search engine juice or what is referred to as a Domain Authority or even Citation Flow were carefully picking which links they were paying for.
Also there was another trick people figured out in a hurry, if you comment on other people’s blogs and dropped a link into your comment, you could build links from there as well. Things were getting crazy.
No Follow Link Age
As of today playing the link game is tricky. Here is what’s going down.
- If you have a blog or website that allows comments, you want to keep from losing your link juice and block spammers by inserting what is called nofollow code. This tells search engines you are trying to help them out and play fairly within the system.
- If you have a forum on your website, adding nofollow code is recommended.
- If you have what Google calls “untrusted content”, block that stuff.
- If you have a website that makes lists of anything, with links that leave your site to another person’s website, you may want to put up a nofollow code on almost all of these links so that you aren’t leaking your link juice from your site.
Beyond just showing Google you are playing fair, you are also conserving some of that link juice we spoke of earlier. If you are bringing link juice in from people linking to you but are then giving it away with links to other websites, then you are wasting your site’s energy.
A portfolio of a nice balance of links to your site and from your site that are followed and no followed is valuable. Matter-of-fact, it is expected.
Now to Basics
What is a No Follow Link exactly? While the term sounds weird, it is simply a bit of code that you create within your HTML tag. The link often looks like this:
<a href=”http://www.website.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Link Text</a>
How do you know if the links on your website or even pointing to your website have Follow or No Follow code on them? We use a tool offered by Moz.com but you can also simply right click on the website of choice and choose “View Page Source”. A new window will pop up full of code. Don’t’ worry, you don’t have to use your eyes to scan for the words “Follow” or “no follow”, simply click CTRL F and a Find window will open. Type in “nofollow”. Don’t forget the parenthesis. You will then see highlighted ever incident of links that are ‘nofollow’.
With the MOZ toolbar, one simply goes to the website, drops down the color marker to highlight in pink every link that is a NoFollow.
For Wikipedia, it is often all References.
Want to know more about what Google has to say about NoFollow links, check out this information https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/96569?hl=en
And, let us know if you think this link is followed or unfollowed!!