Is the ‘DoFollow’ movement dangerous?

Posted by FrankP

If you join the dofollow movement do you run the risk of poorer search engine positioning and will Google respond to nullify dofollow comment links?

nofollow - it keeps you in control. In my previous post on nofollow/dofollow I outlined some reasons why I believe using nofollow in comments is perfectly valid, and quite possibly best practice.

In brief, I said:

If you remove nofollow you lose control over how many outbound links are on your page. You have to moderate very closely, and check all links if you want to avoid losing control over where you link to. And you may find yourself in a quandary with some posts as to whether they qualify as a type of spam or not.

In the ensuing conversation I went into the reasons why you may want to carefully consider giving up the control over your outbound links, and I think they’re worth repeating here, for clarity.

It is my belief that a careful link strategy helps with search engine positioning. For blogging, this means that in any one post you should only link out to a couple of good quality relevant sites.

You should also try to ensure that you have plenty of internal links on every page, if your outbound links outweigh your internal links consistently I’d advise looking at how to improve internal linking.

I believe that Google takes outbound links into consideration when determining relevance, and that a small number of good quality relevant outbound links helps boost your positioning somewhat. It may not be a huge factor, but every little helps.

If you decide to remove nofollow from your comment links, you are resigning full control over how many outbound links you have on any blog post, and where those links go.

Particularly for business blogging, if you have a niche for which you are trying to get high search engine rankings this could have a knock on effect for you whole domain… as each blog post could be losing a little bit of Google juice from large numbers of comment links, the cumulative effect could be considerable – resulting in a poorer search positioning overall for your domain.

Finally, I believe that Google may not be too happy if the ‘dofollow’ movement becomes widespread. Google interprets the internet primarily based on links. Google sees a link from your site to someone else’s as a favourable vote from you. If you hand over the power to give a link from your pages to anyone who fancies, it diminishes the validity of that ‘vote’.

If Google feels that blogs are ‘bigging themselves up’ through interlinking via the comments, there is a danger that Google will move to nullify the effect – for example by moving blog results out of the main search, and promote their separate blog search. This has been rumoured to be on the cards several times, and I imagine the dofollow movement might just be the thing to tip the scales.

If you’re not convinced by my arguments, or would like to know more about the DoFollow movement, visit some of the ‘DoFollowers’ who have been good enough to join in discussion with me about the pros and cons. All of them have reasons for DoFollowing – and they believe that the pros outweigh the cons. But I’m not convinced.

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17 Responses to “Is the ‘DoFollow’ movement dangerous?”

  1. David Airey :: Creative Design :: Says:

    Hi Frank,

    As I mentioned, it’s has a certain dependence on what your purpose for blogging is.

    The short of it for me personally is, I don’t know what Google make of it. I’ve read that if you balance the outbound with quality in-site deep-linking it helps with the Google juice.

    For me, conversational comments have increased since removing NoFollow, I’ve been put in contact with other bloggers I wouldn’t have otherwise, and those commenting on my blog receive a back-link as token appreciation for visiting and contributing.

  2. FrankP Says:

    Yes, there’s a lot of crossover in what you and I believe I think, just that you come down finally on the side of dofollow, and I on the side of nofollow… :)

    That’s why it’s good to thrash these things out though… this one just caught my attention for some reason, I’ll be following developments with interest!

  3. ryan444123 Says:

    Frank,

    Frankly, I do not see any reason to not use DoFollow on my site, I get very few comments, less than 20 per week and have askmiet along with several other spam fighting systems installed. I don’t mind giving a linkback to people who give me some content. Google, pfff who needs them, we are the New Media Revolution!

  4. Nietzsche Says:

    I do think that it is not dangerous for Google.. since well Blog Search is already there and most likely, they will remove the blogs from the main search. LOL

    Just messing. Actually, it is not dangerous because the link backs or inbound links to your blog should be relevant to your content. If most of the links are not relevant, they do not count.

  5. FrankP Says:

    Hi Nietzshe, sorry, but I’m not following your argument…

  6. Lucia Says:

    I joined do follow with my blog primarily to publicize it. I also try to visit the blogs with do follow, but primarily focusing on blogs titles that seem to describe articles in my niche.

    I figure that way, I read articles that interest me and I have a hope of leaving relevant comments. Plus I’m not filling other blogs with links to non-niche blog urls!

  7. HOBO SEO Says:

    I certainly hope not! ;)

  8. XmasB Says:

    Interesting read. I’m going to reconsider using dofollow on my site. Not quite sure though.

  9. Beetlejuice Says:

    I agree. If someone is good enough to leave a relevant comment on my blog, they deserve a link back. The whole point of the dofollow movement is to allow relevant comments and weed out spammers.

  10. XmasB Says:

    I have installed called LinkLove to have better control on my comments. Currently I have it set up to use nofollow for anyone with less than 10 comments on my site. Those who have commented more, gets “real” link in return. I have not told my readers about this, as this most likely would create some comments on false premises.

  11. Bape Says:

    Its ironic that many bloggers talk about this but then they actually use no follow.

  12. Terry Says:

    I think dofollow blogs are a better deal. Why?

    A dofollow blogger usually sets all comments and trackbacks to moderation before they go live, therefore they’re using the best spam filter you can buy – a human. This takes more work but the pay off is a better blog.

    Dofollow blogs can attract more bloggers who want to link to your posts, and increasing your relevance and quality.

    I don’t believe the dofollow community will sway Google one way or another. They likely realize that dofollow bloggers (like myself) will have to be vigilant in moderating their blogs or they’ll pay the price for laziness. [becoming a spam pump

    Terry

  13. Dan O'Neil Says:

    It’s nice to have a different perspective on dofollow as everything else I have read says how great it is. On balance, I realise that I’m really looking for a way to increase comments on my blog and dofollow seems a good way to do this. However, it is important to moderate carefully and ensure the links and comments are appropriate to create a blog community that is appropriate and relevant to my content.

    Thanks for the post and all the comments on here, they have really helped.

  14. Johnny Says:

    So long as you monitor your comments closely and take care of your problem readers, DoFollow is a good idea.

  15. Leon Quinn Says:

    Sorry, silly question maybe but is ‘dofollow’ an actual valid tag or is it just the terminology used on this post!!?

  16. FrankP Says:

    Just terminology… the people who don’t like nofollow coined the phrase ‘DoFollow’!

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