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.