Nofollow may not have succeeded in stopping the spam comments, but does that mean it’s useless? Nofollow may still have it’s place…

If a link on your site includes the nofollow attribute, you are telling the search engines not to count the link as a favourable vote from you.

Nofollow was introduced in an attempt to reduce link spam and to reduce spam sites rankings in Search Engines. Spammers send endless automated comments to blogs with links to their spam sites, thus increasing their rankings in Search Engines by having huge amounts of pages linking back to their site. It was hoped nofollow would discourage this behaviour. it didn’t.

Ok, it didn’t stop the spammers, but does that mean it’s useless?

WordPress by default nofollows all links in comments. Many bloggers are using ‘dofollow’ plugins and modifications to remove the nofollow – and this may make sense for some blogs.

Some bloggers who tightly moderate their comments feel that their commenters should be ‘rewarded’ in a way by having a link from the page back to their own site. Or perhaps some feel it will encourage more comments.

Which brings me to my reservations about removing nofollow.

If having a link on your blog post encourages people to comment, doesn’t that mean you need to question your commenters motives? I want to know that commenters are taking part in the discussion, not blowing hot air to qualify for a link in the comments.

Linking is an integral part of most blogs. Linking makes the blogging world go round. But I like to be in control of my linking. I want to decide who I link to and how often.

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.

For example, someone who leaves a comment on your site saying ‘Great post.’ with a link to their site included. Are they sincere? Are they just grabbing every link they can? With nofollow, you don’t have to worry that they are just trying to grab every available link.

Whether you should nofollow your comments or not is an individual choice, and one that has to take into consideration the nature of your blog, but before you remove nofollow consider the advantages it brings.

Just because it didn’t do what it set out to, doesn’t mean it’s useless.