To Follow or not to Follow. That is the question.

February 15, 2016

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These days, more and more publishers are  applying rel=”nofollow” on their outbound , meaning that they do not pass on value to the sites that they are linking to. So should you follow or not?

rel=”nofollow” was introduced  ten years ago as a measure  to counteract link spam. It is mostly used in places where people can easily add links themselves, such as via blog comments, forum threads, social media sites  e.t.c.

’s own dedicated page on the subject gives three main examples for the use of nofollow:

  1. Untrusted content – giving blog comment spam as an example
  2. Paid links – such as on adverts
  3. Crawl prioritisation – giving ‘register here’ or ‘sign in’ type links as examples

So why are webmasters applying it today to the outbound links on their respective sites that don’t fit that criteria?

Beyond  Googles examples of nofollow use – which coincide with what Google themselves believe to be the ‘true’ and intended use of nofollow – it’s difficult to give a real reason why you should nofollow other types of outbound links.

But here are some good reasons why you should allow follow links:

Webmasters are having content produced for them by other people for free, which they in turn profit from through advertising as well as through their training courses, events, etc. The least that they could do is to fairly credit their contributors with a bit of an SEO boost.

People may not want to help you again. If someone has responded to your content or even created some content for you they are very unlikely to help you again if you keep non-following them.

If everyone does it search engines will find it difficult to know what is good content and what is not, making the web less enjoyable for everyone.

So don’t be a no-follow Junkie, give people who deserve it the SEO boost they deserve, after all they probably earned it.


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