No Follows are just mean hearted

Mean Hearted SEO's add nofollow tags to their links for no good reason!

Mean Hearted SEO's add nofollow tags to their links for no good reason!

Recently Google admitted that no follows (rel=”nofollow”) on links do not actually stop “link juice” from leaving your site.  They just stop the target site from receiving any juice.

How long has this been going on?  Over a year!!!

Why didn’t they tell anybody?  Well, nobody actually noticed so they didn’t feel the need to announce it.

Is there any point in using no follows at all?  Yes.  There is if you do not want Google indexing a page (eg a dynamic form) because it could lead to you having duplicate content.  When it comes to linking to other sites though, if you were happy to link to them for your visitors, you may as well let Google follow.  You are taking the hit anyway.

What is really interesting is that Google were doing this for a year with nobody noticing.  To me that says that there is little damage done by linking out of your site without nofollow.  In fact, it’s just plain mean hearted.

Blogs in particular are full of outbound links.  They still rank pretty well in my experience!  I actually have a theory that the quality of the outbound links is important to SEO.  That is to say, that linking out to good, related pages can actually help your site, rather than hinder it.

This flies in the face of recognised SEO training but, while I have yet to prove it, I am quite convinced.

About Ian Wortley


Ian is one of Irelands leading SEO consultants with over 8 years experience in the Irish market. Ian discovered his love of all things internet related in 2005 and has been living nearly exclusively online since then, causing much worry to friends and family, but getting great results for clients. Contact Ian: Phone: 01 6854806 Mobile: 086 3817149

3 thoughts on “No Follows are just mean hearted

  1. Pingback: The Tweet Smell of Success.

  2. I didn’t actually know about that, I had read the original Mat Cuts talk about the subject as internal sculpting was a waste of time on your own site.

    I actually put nofollows on anyone who i felt forced to link to (twitter/facebook etc) and I believe I will keep those in just for affect :)

    To your second point and the part I found interesting enough to follow a link from Hobo to here, I was under the opinion that a number of external links were expected if a site was to gain any authority.

    The reasoning being that a real source of information would invariably lead to either other sources of information or link out to proof etc..

    Anyway, here hoping this comment gets me a nice new nofollow :)

  3. On my very first site I had a strict policy of not linking out to anybody. The site still has very few outbound links for it’s size. It is however doing better than any other site in its vertical.

    That would mean that outbound links are not all that important, although I follow your logic. However, I do think that they can make a small change to sites and can be useful to newer sites in particular, since they establish a neighbourhood. It could be, particularly in the case of a blog that outbound links just help to establish a likelihood of the blog being a splog or not. If a site links to several sites that Google already gives credit, then it is less likely to be a automated spam blog who’s sole purpose is to create links to another site.

    I think it would be naive to think that Google does not follow nofollows. They may not pass link juice with them, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be useful in other ways.

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