Your rank on Google is essentially calculated based on which other sites have ‘voted’ for you by providing you with a link.
Techies among you may be aware of the ‘nofollow’ tag which can be appended to links in order to prevent Google from counting it as a ‘vote’ for the site and ignoring the link. This tag is automatically applied to comments by most blogging software in order to prevent spam.
I’m a fairly keen internet user and blog commenter and I will namecheck my site if it’s relevant to the content, if I feel I am adding some value to a page. I feel rewarded to receive a tiny search engine vote as a linkback if the blogger agrees to it. However, I feel I’m being undermined in my efforts by the ‘nofollow’ tag - these tiny votes are often not counting and my genuine interest in a particular subject will perhaps never be recognised by search engines.
Nofollow is ostensibly to prevent spam, but it isn’t really working, and it’s penalising genuine users: all blogs and new/interesting content must be suffering. Nofollow is ok for sites which can be updated without ever being checked again (will these count as a decent vote anyway?), but Wordpress attaches nofollow to any blog comments even after I’ve manually accept them as genuinely relevant. I do want to support genuinely relevant links on my blog and I don’t want to nofollow them. Wikipedia, which already has over-active editors, shouldn’t need to have ‘nofollow’ tags (indeed a democratic vote didn’t want nofollow tags but this was overruled).
Nofollow is a lazy and poor way of dealing with problems that would be better fixed with better internal calculations (which Google is supposed to be the master of), and I believe that Google should quickly look at ignoring it’s own nofollow tags.
I’ll be removing ‘nofollow’ from this blog and would encourage others to do the same.
(Edit: I can recommend the DoFollow plug-in to WordPress users)
January Update: Comments disallowed on this post due to high levels of spam attempts… sigh!