When you’re familiar with my various rants on the ever morphing
rel-nofollow microformat infectious link disease, don’t read further. This post is not polemic, ironic, insulting, or otherwise meant to entertain you. I’m just raving about a way to delay the downfall of the InterWeb.
If you, dear reader, are a Googler, then please don’t feel too annoyed. You may have thought that you didn’t do evil, but the above said reflects what webmasters outside the ‘Plex got from your actions. Don’t ignore it, please think about it from our point of view. Thanks.
Still here and attentive? Great. Now lets talk about scenarios in WebDev where you still can’t avoid rel-nofollow. If there are any — We’ll see.
Dude, PageRank™ sculpting with rel-nofollow doesn’t work for the average webmaster. It might even fail when applied as high sophisticated SEO tactic. So don’t even think about it. Simply remove the
rel=nofollow from links to your TOS, imprint, and contact page. Cloak away your links to signup pages, login pages, shopping carts and stuff like that.
Link monkey business
I leave this paragraph empty, because when you know what you do, you don’t need advice.
There’s no point in serving A elements to Googlebot at all. If you haven’t cloaked your aff links yet, go see a SEO doctor.
Advanced SEO purposes
So what’s left? User generated content. Lets concentrate our extremely superfluous condomizing efforts on the one and only occasion that might allow to apply rel-nofollow to a hyperlink on request of a major search engine, if there’s any good reason to paint shit brown at all.
If you link out in a blog post, then you vouch for the link’s destination. In case you disagree with the link destination’s content, just put the link as
<strong class="blue_underlined" title="http://myworstenemy.org/" onclick="window.location=this.title;">My Worst Enemy</strong>
or so. The surfer can click the link and lands at the estimated URI, but search engines don’t pass reputation. Also, they don’t evaporate link juice, because they don’t interpret the markup as hyperlink.
My rule of thumb is: Moderate, DoFollow quality, DoDelete crap. Install a conditional do-follow plug-in, set everything on moderation, use captchas or something similar, then let the comment’s link juice flow. You can maintain a white list that allows instant appearance of comments from your buddies.
Forums, guestbooks and unmoderated stuff like that
Separate all Web site areas that handle user generated content. Serve “index,nofollow” meta tags or x-robots-headers for all those pages, and link them from a site map or so. If you gather index-worthy content from users, then feed crawlers the content in a parallel –crawlable– structure, without submit buttons, perhaps with links from trusted users, and redirect human visitors to the interactive pages. Vice versa redirect crawlers requesting live pages to the spider fodder. All those redirects go with a 301 HTTP response code.
If you lack the technical skills to accomplish that, then edit your
/robots.txt file as follows:
# Dear Googlebot, drop me a line when you can handle forum pages
# w/o rel-nofollow crap. Then I'll allow crawling.
# Treat that as conditional disallow:
As soon as Google can handle your user generated content naturally, they might send you a message in their Webmaster console.
Judge yourself. Most probably you’ll find a way to avoid rel-nofollow.
Absolutely nobody needs the rel-nofollow microformat. Not even search engines for the sake of their index. Hence webmasters as well as search engines can stop wasting resources. Farewell
rel="nofollow", rest in peace. We won’t miss you.
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