The Logic Behind No Follow Links
Websites sometimes partake in black-hat SEO techniques, be it through keyword stuffing, cloaking or any number of unacceptable SEO practices. Paying for links is contrary to Google’s SEO terms, as it is deemed to give the website undeserved SEO juice, when they’re really not offering any valuable or worthwhile information to anyone. However, suppose your article had rich, informative material but with a lot of links pointing to other websites which only back up your information? This may seem to Google as though you are selling links and putting them in your article. Surely there must be a way of ensuring that this mistake isn’t made? Yes, there is.
Enter The No Follow Link
No Follow links were introduced by Google to allow websites and blogs to display links, but pass no SEO juice to the websites that those links are pointing to. No Follow links were born due to high amount of link spamming in comment sections of blogs. As blogging grew in popularity, people decided a quick and easy way of directing traffic to their website was to spam links to their website on these blogs.
Google then decided that the best way to combat this would be to take away the SEO juice passed from these links, therefore making the link spamming pointless. Unfortunately it didn’t completely eliminate link spamming in comments, but it certainly stopped the effect of passing on undeserved SEO juice.
How To Use A No Follow Link
Many content management systems will put No Follow links in automatically where required, but you can also delve into the code yourself and insert it. Using an example, you simply add rel=”nofollow” to the HTML code after the link’s URL, like so: <a href=”http://www.samplewebsite.com/” rel=””nofollow””> link text goes here</a>
Search Engine Land describes a NoFollow link as “a tag or attribute that signals that the page linking out is claiming no endorsement of the page it links to, nor that the link is being done because of any commercial relationship between the pages”.
Buying Links Is Always Bad, Right?
For the most part, yes. Buying links for the purpose of increasing your page rank is a straight forward No (notice the capital ‘N’). However, although Google really does frown upon buying links, there seems to be a grey area when it comes to buying links for purpose of supporting another site or to build buzz. If you are going to do this, make absolute sure that you use the NoFollow attribute to prevent Google from penalising your website for buying links.
In the old days, Google’s former head of web spam, Matt Cutts, provided this still relevant advice:
“What if a site wants to buy links purely for visitor click traffic, to build buzz, or to support another site? In that situation, I would use the rel=”nofollow” attribute. The nofollow tag allows a site to add a link that abstains from being an editorial vote. Using no follow is a safe way to buy links, because it’s a machine-readbale way to specify that a link doesn’t have to be counted as a vote by a search engine.”
Finally, avoid using keywords much in your outbound links, whether do follow or not follow, as it can look spammy.