When people leave a comment on your blog (or generate a trackback by linking to a blog post), your blogging software is most likely adding the “nofollow” microformat extension. The result is that search engines like Google don’t follow those links off your site, and therefore the sites linking to you don’t gain any Google Juice from your blog.
The links work – people can click on them – but the links don’t provide any search engine value to the originating site/blog.
The reason blog software like WordPress adds NoFollow is to minimize the benefit you’re giving any spammers who might sneak a comment or trackback in. If spammers’ links added search engine value back to their sites it would be quite beneficial for them – so NoFollow combats that.
Let’s Remove NoFollow Anyway
Recently there’s been a growing disenchantment with the NoFollow concept. If people provide legitimate, quality comments or links back to your blog, what’s the harm in giving them a little value in return? And with spam plugins like Akismet available (which do a very good job of stopping spam comments and trackbacks) it makes sense to open things up a bit and give your community some link love.
Andy Beard has a definitive list of DoFollow plugins available on his site.
Try The Link Love Plugin
I decided to implement one of the plugins called Link Love. It’s a newer plugin so I don’t know how well it works or how stable it is, but the idea is that it only removes NoFollow after a certain number of comments have been left by someone. You can set the determining value to whatever you want. I’ve set it to 3. So after you leave 3 comments, all of your links back to your site will have NoFollow removed.
I like this idea because it benefits my real community; people who frequent Instigator Blog regularly and participate. Those are the people I want to give some added value to.
DoFollow For Your True Community
NoFollow’s intention is worthy. But even with NoFollow being automatically done on blog software like WordPress you’ll still receive tons and tons of spam. So it’s not as if NoFollow by itself has stopped spammers. By removing it you’re telling your community that you care, and you’re willing to give ‘em a little link love.
Incidentally, I also enjoyed Dawud Miracle’s post about branding yourself through blog comments which added fuel to the fire for me to remove NoFollow.