Google Counts a Nofollow Link!

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.

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!

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 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:

Yahoo Counts NoFollow Links

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

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.”

c) Why No Follow Links Matter

Carefully note the last paragraph on that blog:

“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:

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!”

d) This is something also corroborated by a forum user called aristotle at:

“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.”

e) Speculation is also rife in another forum over this:

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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