I’ve asked Adam Lasnik, Google’s search evangelist:
Adam, what is Google’s take on extending the nofollow functionality by working out a microformat that covers the existing mechanism w/o being that unclear and confusing, and which takes care of similar needs like section targeting on element level and qualified votes as well?
and he answered
Sebastian, nothing’s set in stone. Stuff is likely to evolve
That’s an elating signal, thank you Adam. And it leads to a bunch of questions.
Will Google continue to cook nofollow in its secret sauce, revealing morphed semantics (affiliate links), unpopular areas of application (paid links) and changed functionality (no longer fetching the linked resource) every now and then? From my interpretation of Google’s ongoing move to candidness I guess not.
Will Google gather a couple search companies to work out a new standard? I hope not, it would be a mistake not to involve content providers, webmasters, publishers, CMS vendors, even SEOs and opinion makers again.
Will Google ask for input? Will the process of defining a standard for micro crawler directives be an open and public discussion? Are we talking about an extended microformat, limited to the A element’s rel and rev attributes, or does Google think of a broader approach covering for example section targeting and other crawler directives in class attributes on block level too? Will a new or more powerful standard interfere other norms like tag, vote links, XFN, or drafts like the not yet that comprehensive robots-exclusion microformat (also badly named because it covers inclusion too)? By the way, the links above lead you to interesting thoughts on reach, functionality and implementation of an extended norm replacing nofollow, and I, like many of you, have a couple more ideas and concepts in mind.
I take Adam’s tidbit as call for participation. Dear no-to-nofollow-sayers and nofollow-supporters out there, join the crowd at the white board! Throw in your thoughts, concepts, wishes and ideas.
In the meantime make use of this catalogue of do-follow plugins.
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