May 8th, 2007
Search Engine Optimization
What is the "NoFollow" concept that we’ve heard so much about and what does it mean for your website/business? Nofollow is a special HTML tag attribute that you can place inside of your hyper-links which will tell search engines spiders, once they come across your link, to not follow the link in question and subsequently to not give linking credit (PageRank) from the current page to the hyper-linked page.
So what? What does this mean? It means that if you have a website that contains what you would consider "non-landing" pages then those pages may be sucking PageRank from your "main-landing" pages. In this case, non-landing pages are pages that you wouldn’t normally want to show up in search engine listings, maybe something along the lings of a "terms and conditions page" or a "payment" page on your checkout process (that you link to via your main landing pages). Main landing pages are pages that you want to have show up in search engine listings, such as your home page or an FAQ page maybe. If you haven’t been using the Nofollow tag in the linking structure of your website (from your main landing pages to your non-landing pages), then those non-landing pages may have PageRank built up on them. Check your FireFox Google Toolbar and see your PageRank for your non-important or non-landing pages. If you were using Nofollow, you could prevent your main landing pages, i.e. your index page, from injecting PageRank to your less important pages (while still linking to them at the same time) – because when you inject PageRank from page A to page B, page A loses a bit of PageRank in the process – and so it would be beneficial to keep as much PageRank as possible on the pages that matter the most.
In an interview, as posted by Stone Temple Consulting, Google’s Adam Lasnik said:
"We realize we cannot turn the web back to when it was completely noncommercial and we don’t want to do that. Because, obviously as Google, we firmly believe that commerce has an important role on the Internet. But, we want to bring a bit of authenticity back to the linking structure of the web. And, Nofollow is one way in which that can be properly accomplished."
Straight from the horses mouth, Nofollow is endorsed by Google.
To sum up, using Nofollow can be a great way to redistribute PageRank on your web site’s pages to help your main landing pages become stronger landing points (high PageRank) by blocking the PageRank "leak" to your less important pages on your website. Again, higher PageRank is thought to be one variable that increases a web page’s ability to show up in search results for a given set of keywords, and higher search rankings can mean more traffic = more business 🙂
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