The “No Follow” tag is an optional attribute you can include in the parameters of a link tag. It tells the search engines: Any link with this tag is not necessarily approved by this page and shouldn’t be followed nor contribute weight for ranking.
To combat spamming of comments and trackback in blogs, the creators of blogging software automatically add the “No Follow” tag to links in trackbacks and comments. The “No Follow” tag was supposed to cut down on blog spam. The idea was that if spammers received no benefit from the links that they spammed on your blog, then they would stop spamming. It didn’t work. Spam continues to grow at logarithmic rates.
The end result of the “No Follow” tag is to hurt the innocent: the blogger or website trying to gain some traction and get noticed. The legitimate webmaster or blogger who leaves a comment or trackback on your blog really needs the benefit of those links back to their blog or web site. Those links really help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
So I say let’s all turn off the automatic addition of the “No Follow” tag.
As far as spam goes, see my post on Stopping Spam on Your Blog for information on how to control spam.
How to Turn off “No Follow” tagging.
- If you use Movable Type:
- Go to the System Settings and then to Plugins.
- Disable the “nofollow/nofollow.pl” plugin by clicking on the “disable” link in the right column. After the page refreshes the plugin should be grayed out and no longer have a green checkmark.
- Find the template that generates your comments and change the commenter’s link tag to have these parameters:
- <$MTCommentAuthorLink$ new_window="1" no_redirect="1">,
- remove the spam_protect=”1″ parameter if it’s there,
- Save your template.
- Rebuild your site and the “No Follow” tags are now gone.
- If you use Word Press:
- Go here: http://www.semiologic.com/software/dofollow to get a plugin to do the job.
Before you post comments and/or leave trackback on blogs, check the links (you’ll have to do a “view source”) and see if the links in the comments and/or trackbacks sections have this rel=nofollow or rel=”external nofollow”. If they do, suggest that they turn off the “No Follow” tagging and point them to this post for instructions!
Update: 4/29/2007: I found a great entry about this on Andy Beard’s Blog in his post on: Blogging Productivity & Criticizing Goals,
which lead me to this post on Search Engine Journal titled: How Google, Yahoo & Ask.com Treat the No Follow Link Attribute,
which in turn lead me to this site: www.bumpzee.com/no-nofollow all about removing the no follow tag, and where I picked up the new logos you see in my comment area and below.
Update: 5/1/2007: Added the steps in the Movable Type instructions to change the MTCommentAuthorLink tag so that it’s not redirected and puts the real link in the html.