Google Encourages NoFollow

by on June 25th, 2008

nofollow is an HTML attribute value used to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index. It is intended to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, thereby improving the quality of search engine results and preventing spamdexing from occurring. The concept for the specification of the attribute value nofollow was designed by Google’s head of webspam team Matt Cutts and Jason Shellen from Blogger.com in 2005. The nofollow attribute value is not meant for blocking access to content, or for preventing content to be indexed by search engines. The proper methods for blocking search engine spiders to access content on a website or for preventing them to include the content of a page in their index are the Robots Exclusion Standard (robots.txt) for blocking access and on-page Meta Elements that are designed to specify on an individual page level what a search engine spider should or should not do with the content of the crawled page. Google announced in early 2005 that hyperlinks with rel=”nofollow” attribute would not influence the link target’s PageRank. In addition, the Yahoo, and Bing search engines also respect this attribute.

Preventing Comment Spam

If you’re a blogger (or a blog reader), you’re familiar with people who try to raise their own websites search engine rankings by submitting linked blog comments like “Visit my discount pharmaceuticals site.” This is called comment spam, which Google don’t like, and they have been testing a new tag that blocks it.

NoFollow Attribute

From now on, when Google sees the attribute (rel=”nofollow”) on hyperlinks, those links won’t get any credit when we rank websites in our search results. This isn’t a negative vote for the site where the comment was posted; it’s just a way to make sure that spammers get no benefit from abusing public areas like blog comments, trackbacks, and referrer lists.

Google hopes that the web software community will quickly adopt this attribute and they’re pleased that a number of blog software makers have already done it.

NoFollow Example Link

Modified link should look like following:

<a href="http://www.example.com/" rel="nofollow">Some Link</a>

Preventing Comment Spam – Google Blog


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