Google Counts a Nofollow Link!

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This is more of a question than article! A considerable time ago I left a comment on a fellow internet marketer's blog. The comments on that blog were all nofollow (they still are) but I did not leave the comment out of any SEO reasons; it was a genuine question I asked there. Never for once had I imagined, not even in my wildest dreams, that one day Google would count that link!!

Yesterday I was checking the backlinks of this blog at Google Webmaster Tools and found a big shocker: Google has counted the nofollow link I left on that blog!  Of course, I am not mentioning the blog here as I don't want him to get spammed :D

Sidenote: In case you don’t know how to use Google Webmaster Tools to find your website's backlinks, I have already written an article on that here!

What is strange is that Google not only counted that nofollow link but also took such a long time (more than a year) to count it!!

Hmm, so does that mean that Google counts nofollow links just like dofollow links, but takes longer to detect nofollow links than dofollow links? I am not sure if I am getting any "link juice" from that link, but this much I know that Google HAS counted that link, for good or bad reasons!

Was I right when I suggested my readers to leave a few nofollow backlinks along with dofollow backlinks?

I really hope it is a freak on the part of Google™. If Google keeps getting weirder like this, then all SEO gurus stand to lose their "jobs" over time, so to speak. Of course, I have got nothing to worry about because I am not a SEO guru to begin with! ;)

I guess over time I would reach a conclusion similar to this seo guru!

BTW, a history about the change can be found here, though I am not sure if it answers my question at all! It seems that I am not the only one to have this weird shock. Check these posts from other bloggers, for example:

a) Yahoo Counts NoFollow Links

b) Do search engines really not follow the nofollow?

On that blog, mark this paragraph a little lower down:

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I paid attention to the top sites in the SERPs of the Isulong SEOph contest and many of them did not have many links. I believe the 1st and 2nd place winners had less links than others. And many of them also had a large amount of nofollow links."
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c) Why No Follow Links Matter

Carefully note the last paragraph on that blog:

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"Finally, if there is a term that you want to rank for you should perform a search for it. If you find in those results that they all have a backlink in common, it makes sense to try and get the same links as the market leaders. Besides this links are some of the easiest to obtain. Ignoring them could be a big mistake if it’s done without any thought put into the decision."
****************************************************************

My guess is that it is Google's latest tactic to battle link spammers. Perhaps it aims to rank sites based on the ratio of dofollow vs. nofollow backlinks it has. As this blog mentions:

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"Are Nofollow Links Useless?

Absolutely not! And for several reasons. Having too few nofollow links relative to dofollow links on your site MAY set off alarm bells for search engines, especially Google’s, as a sign that you are engaging in buying links. This is increasingly being penalized by Google, which looks for a ‘natural’ ratio of nofollow and dofollow links.

Furthermore, nofollow links are still an important source of web traffic. Remember, your website is there to help visitors first, not search engines. It doesn’t make sense not to value nofollow links. True, they won’t help your Pagerank that much. But they do help web visitors find your site, and can lead to someone adding a dofollow link to your website on theirs.

So in conclusion, I view dofollow links as a direct source of Pagerank, and nofollow links as an indirect source of Pagerank. Don’t ignore nofollow links, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!"
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d) This is something also corroborated by a forum user called aristotle at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/3961721.htm:

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"The nofollow links are part of a site's overall link "profile". A naturally-acquired profile will normally have a significant number of nofollow links. But People who "build' links artificially often focus on getting only dofollow links. Google could use the resulting out of balance profile as an indication that artificial link-building has occurred."
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e) Speculation is also rife in another forum over this: http://www.geekvillage.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34979

f) Finally, Matt Cutts on NoFollow (a mere look at his facial expressions tell me that he is holding back some of Google's "algorithm secrets", which is understandable; it may still be useful for newbies):

The gist of most of these articles and posts lead back to my article on natural building in which I suggested that your site's overall backlink profile should have a "mixture of dofollow and nofollow links". I suppose that until I reach any firm conclusion, I would continue to do what I have been doing and have preached in that article with regards to backlinks! :)

Also, it seems that I did the right thing by posting comments on some of Angela's backlink sites that had become nofollow (anyone who is a member of her or Paul's backlink membership knows fully well that over time, some of the backlink sites make the external links in comments "nofollow" in order to discourage spammers from commenting there; if you are a late bird, you are very likely to be at the receiving end)!

Finally, to put an end to this article, I would say only this much: focus on building sites for users, not Google™! Human visitors come first, Googlebot later. Google may one day drop your site from its index and then even pick it up and give it  a top 10 ranking; such Google dance is common.

But if your site is a quality site, it would be widely talked about across social networking sites and you will get plenty of traffic from there irrespective of how Google treats you! Remember, with social media giving Google strong competition, we really don’t need to regard big G as the God of internet as we used to!

It is well known that more and more people are now flocking to sites based on "user-based recommendations" and "user-generated content", (such as Twitter and Wikipedia respectively) to find their stuff online, instead of Google! :)

Hmm. What do you think. Did you have any such unique experience? Feel free to share below! :D

[NOTE TO SELF:  I am so glad I chose not to take up SEO for a living, otherwise my future would have been as "shaky" as the fickle-minded Google! I better focus on providing plr content and writing boring articles like these since content would always be the king :D ]





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Comments on Google Counts a Nofollow Link!

August 3, 2009

Affiliates Mania @ 7:54 pm

i am a little bit blur at this topic. i have to do some research about this no follow and do follow :p

August 8, 2009

Chandan @ 4:46 pm

Great Article. Thanks Arindam for sharing.

I also see lots of nofollow links counted for my blog. Many are from Mix and few days back Mix made their all links nofollow.

Hope to read such important information in future.

Cheers Arindam!

Mark @ 9:17 pm

Google, themselves admit their bots do not always directions ;)

Arindam @ 9:30 pm

Yes Mixx has become nofollow, but I am still posting links there, lol. I have a feeling that even with the nofollow, Google would count the links ;)

Mark @ 9:35 pm

One other thing, People who make their links nofollow (afraid of leaks, I suppose) in my opinion, are just plain rude. I can understand a comment like: 'that was a nice post.' showing up on several blogs all by the same person as blatant back-linking, but that being the case, delete his/her post; Do not nofollow someone that follows you enough to read what you write and thinks about it long enough to give an intelligent reply! Do that and I wouldn't read your blog.

Arindam @ 9:51 pm

Hi Mark,

You maybe right but the nofollow is something I would leave to the webmaster. How each webmaster uses it is upto him. Some webmasters always have only dofollow links, then there are others who always have nofollow links, and yet there are others who are hybrid-types. :)

Like me for example, on my blog I dofollow a link after a person has posted three comments, all using the same link. I hope that is fair enough; it boosts discussion and cuts down on spam. Am I perfect? Not by a long shot, but that is the way I wish to do it for now.

Like Angela's backlink sites: many of the sites are originally dofollow, but due to the huge number of spammers who invade them, the webmasters are forced to make the links nofollow. It is not possible to select and delete just one spammer because they are many more in number (mind u, these are high PR and high traffic sites). On my little blog I used to get enough spammers to keep myself busy, until I implemented some anti-spam tools! So I can well imagine the fate of these webmasters! ;)

I still think that it won't affect legit commenters in any way; only the "SEO-junkies" would stay away from commenting on such sites, which is perhaps what the webmasters want. Like I said in this article, I do leave comments even on sites where links have become nofollow!

In all cases, as Matt Cutts says in the video, the overall number of nofollow links in World Wide Web is not too many to get worried about!

Arindam

August 9, 2009

Cornelius @ 8:05 pm

I liked it. So much useful material. I read with great interest.

August 10, 2009

David Hurley @ 12:14 am

Thanks for this article.

I had stopped worrying about the whole issue a while back. I never worry about the status of my links in a blog comment. If the blog has something interesting to say, I post a comment in response. Even if Google ignores it, the comment has value in several other respects - and your blog article has confirmed to me the value of this activity!

Thanks,

David Hurley

August 11, 2009

Ventego @ 3:04 pm

I read a few topics. I respect your work and added blog to favorites.

August 12, 2009

Emma @ 10:51 am

Arindam,
Do you use a plugin to make links dofollow after three posts have been made? Could you share it with us?
Many thanks,
Emma

Arindam @ 10:11 pm

Hi Emma,

It is Lucia's Linky Love plugin. You can get it from here:

http://money.bigbucksblogger.com/lucias-linky-love-a-dofollow-plugin-to-foil-human-comment-spammers/

August 20, 2009

Thom Lancaster @ 9:13 pm

My way of thinking about 'do-follow' and 'no-follow' is that they are just 'suggestions' to the search engines, which can be over-ruled for absolutely no reason.

After all, the search engines (Google especially) hold the power to use whatever ranking criteria they want. They also do not have to declare this criteria and can change it at will.

For instance, if Google judged that the posts from a single source were spammy (but do-follow) they would want to discredit that source. Similarly, if the links from a no-follow source were established to be valuable, they would want to credit that source when calculating results.

So, the idea that a no-follow source can provide link juice (if only a tiny bit) as not as big a surprise as you might otherwise think.

Arindam @ 10:52 pm

Wow Tom,

You have laid it out so beautifully! Sometimes I feel we should go ahead and build quality sites and backlinks instead of thinking "what Google loves" or "what Google hates" at every step, lol!

August 26, 2009

Steve1943 @ 6:34 pm

@Arindam - that's exactly what Google wants you to do - stop gaming the engines and help your readers to the best experience you can.

And to that end, they duck, dive, dance and propagandize relentlessly. That's Matt Cutt's job...

Propaganda aside, much of G's vaunted anti-gaming technology is just bluff - apart from the smart human eyeballs they employ. Fortunately for Google, a MFA splog is easily recognisable to the human eye.

Lots of links (preferably from folks who get lots themselves) will get you SEO traffic - and not much else matters a whole lot.

So concentrate on good honest content and then link spam your heart out to get a nucleus of folks to look at it. If the content is any good, the buzz will do the rest - all the way to the bank.

Steve

PS
Q Would you invest in a company whose technology is so dumb that it treats the following as 4 different domains?

http://mydomain.com
http://mydomain.com/
http://www.mydomain.com
http://www.mydomain.com/

A Yeah - and I believe in Santa too!

Happily for Google,
a) Gamers are a miniscule proportion of all web authors.
b) Adsense technology throws off so much cash they can afford plenty of smart human eys to police the golden goose.

Steve1943 @ 6:38 pm

Good post or what?

One more get that damn red off my handle..

(SEO for Firefox rules!)

August 28, 2009

Robert @ 11:00 am

Yes google also showing nofollow link in my site webmaster account and it has not taken any long for this. but I am also not so sure that it will give any link juice to my site.

Robert @ 11:02 am

Mixx is not no follow it is follow site. I have got linkback from mix. showing in google webmaster tools.

September 1, 2009

Hainan @ 5:08 am

I have been thinking about this for long time. It is getting harder to obtain do follow links, and its very time consuming. Majority of my back links are no follow, which has made me worried but after reading your article I realized that it will do some help eventually. Now vast majority people are using no follow I hope after some time no follow may became near do follow status.
I am glad to find some fresh ideas here such as nofollow link's help for reputation building.
This is best article in my opinion for this topic.
Thanks a lot.