Whether you should remove the NoFollow attribute on your blog is one of those questions that doesn’t really have a yes or no answer. It kind of falls into the category of “It Depends.” It depends on what type of blog you have, what you’re trying to accomplish, and what type of visitors you’re attracting. Let’s take a look at what the NoFollow attribute means in general and how it affects your blog.
What is the NoFollow attribute?
The NoFollow attribute is a bit of code embedded somewhere in your blogging platform that tells the search engines they shouldn’t follow any of the links on your blog. The links are still live, and when someone visits your blog they can still click on those links and end up at the other end. It merely tells the search engines not to follow those links.
Why would you use the NoFollow attribute?
Most bloggers talk about the NoFollow attribute in relationship to blog comments, especially if they’re allowing commentors to leave html links in their comments. Making those comment links NoFollow tells the search engines that you’re not endorsing those links.
You’re allowing them, and your readers can follow them if they want to, but unless you have time to check every single link left by commentors, you really don’t know where they’re leading. And where those links lead is important. If the search engines see you linking out to porn or spam or even grossly irrelevant sites, it could effect your own rankings.
Once spammers start seeing comments appear on a blog they start zeroing in. If you have your comments set for automatic approval then you’ll have links to all kinds of things like Viagra and loan scams showing up in your comments – whether your links are DoFollow or not.
Why would you remove the NoFollow attribute?
One of the best ways to increase your blog’s rankings is to visit other blogs who offer DoFollow links and leave a comment with a link back to your own blog. But you only get this link juice if the blog has removed the NoFollow attribute and is offering DoFollow links to commentors. Therefore, it follows that you’ll get more comments on your blog if you remove the NoFollow attribute. However, once spammers realize you have DoFollow links your blog becomes an even bigger target.
How do you offer DoFollow links and avoid the spam?
If you’re using WordPress, the CommentLuv plugin actually encourages people to leave comments and the links are DoFollow. They can also use keyword anchor text with their user name and link to their Twitter account as well. Plus, it automatically inserts a link to the commentors most recent blog post. To avoid spam, install the companion plugin, GASP, which required commentors to click a checkbox to prove their not a bot.
If you’re not using WordPress you can still offer DoFollow links. It’s best if you have all comments set for approval though and check each link before you approve it.