Algorithm Rolled Out: January 1, 2005

Algorithm Overview: Overall Gist

Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have all introduced the “nofollow” feature to fight spam and govern outbound link quality. Nofollow aids in the removal of untrusted links, such as spamming blog comments. While this is not a standard algorithm update, it has a considerable influence on the link graph over time.

Highlights Of The Update:

The main search engines have announced a new indexing command for online writers that they all recognise, one that they believe will help decrease the link and comment spam that plagues many web sites, particularly those operated by bloggers, in the first joint action in over 10 years.

The new “nofollow” feature that may be connected with links was proposed by Google many weeks ago and was supported by MSN, Yahoo, and major blogging companies.

The Attributes Of Nofollow

The new attribute is named “nofollow,” and the format used within an anchor tag is rel=”nofollow.” When added to any link, it indicates that the connection has not been explicitly approved by the site owner.

For example, consider the following HTML markup for a simple link:

<a href=”http://www.site.com/page.html”>Visit My Page</a>

This is how the link would appear after adding the nofollow property, with the attribute component highlighted in bold:

<a href=”http://www.site.com/page.html” rel=”nofollow”>Visit My Page</a>

This is likewise permissible because the order of the items within the anchor tag makes no difference:

<a rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.site.com/page.html”>Visit My Page</a>

When the attribute is applied, the search engines that support it will recognise that the link has not been approved in any manner by the site owner. Consider it a signal to them that “I did not submit this link — someone else did.”

The Roots Of Link Spam

What is the purpose of using the attribute? When individuals utilised these systems to spam them with links, blog publishers, forum operators, sites with guest books. And others that enable everyone to contribute in some form to their websites suffered.

A link to your site from someone else’s site might serve as a “vote” that your site is regarded favourably by search engines. In Googlespeak, gaining a link raises the PageRank value of your page – sometimes little, sometimes significantly.

Furthermore, obtaining a link may aid in ensuring that your page is indexed by the main search engines. Finally, having a link with terms you want to be discovered for integrated in the anchor text may help you not only appear popular, but also score higher for certain words.

Google, on the other hand, is frequently blamed — which is why it was under the most pressure to come up with a solution to the problem. The objective is that by allowing site writers to mark links in this way. Blogs, forums, guest books, and other venues collecting contributions will become less appealing to spammers.

What Does Nofollow Mean?

We’ll go through what Google claims it does if it comes across a link with the nofollow attribute attached to it. Yahoo and MSN are expected to react similarly. But we haven’t yet spoken with them to acquire specifics because news of their backing has just recently emerged.

If Google detects nofollow in a link, it will:

  1. DO not go to that page.
  2. It is recommended not to include the link in the calculation of PageRank link popularity ratings.
  3. DO not include the anchor text in determining what terms the linked-to page is appropriate for.

That is the current scenario. Google will examine how the attribute works and may opt to make more modifications in the future, according to the company.

Now consider the consequences of each action:

  1. Failure to follow the link to the page it links to implies that Google may not index the page at all.

As previously said, the more links pointing to a specific page, the more probable Google will include that page in its index.

However, the nofollow feature DOES NOT imply that someone would prohibit a page that they do not genuinely own from being indexed. If Google discovers even one ordinary link linking to a page, the page may be indexed.

People can also submit their pages directly to Google. So it’s critical to note that just adding nofollow to a link leading to your site will NOT prevent your page from being indexed.

  • When it comes to PageRank calculations, keep in mind that PageRank is just a popularity score.

A link with the nofollow property will not be considered as a “vote” in this popularity contest. This can have an effect on ranking in circumstances where other variables other than sheer popularity come into play.

Huh? Assume there are two pages, one with a PR of 6 and the other with a PR of 7. Even though the PR7 page has more links. It might be outranked by the PR6 page of other variables. Such as the words on the page or the anchor text pointing to the PR6 page. Making it more relevant for a certain search.

It’s also worth noting that nofollow DOES NOT imply that you’re marking a link as harmful in some way. “Aha — nofollow is on this link — that’s a poor link,” Google isn’t going to comment. As Matt Cutts, a Google software engineer who helped build the property, put it. “It doesn’t indicate it’s a terrible link, or that you detest it, it just means this link doesn’t belong to me.”

Instead, nofollow tells Google to ignore the link and pretend it doesn’t exist. This also implies you shouldn’t be concerned about individuals linking to you. And using nofollow to harm you – Google promises that won’t happen.

  • This results in anchor text.

In general, getting the terms you want to rank highly for put into a link that leads to you is considerably more crucial in ranking well for a certain phrase. When nofollow is applied to a link, Google does not identify the anchor text in the link with the page to which the link points. This, more than anything else, will aggravate link spammers.

Why Do We Care?

We strongly advise that you begin using the new link attribute format right away. You can use Google’s tutorial to assist you.

The attribute actions

You’re unlikely to notice any instant changes to your website. However, if you want Google to comprehend your content (and the material that links to your content), we recommend that you update your rel tags.

After all, the more Google knows about your website, the greater your chances of ranking are – as long as you obey the guidelines and provide excellent content.

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