Friday, March 17, 2006

Uselessness of Nofollow

I ran across yet another post on the uselessness of rel="nofollow". It is clear spammers are too stupid and lazy to care if your site uses nofollow. And some forms of link spam aren't targeting search engines anyway. But does that mean nofollow is not doing any good? Not at all. I still think in the long run, nofollow will have some effect on comment spam. But I finally realized what nofollow is doing for us now.

Exactly what it was intended to do, tell the search engines which links not to give weight to. So while your blog might not be seeing any direct impact from using nofollow (as in less comment spams), you are seeing the results when you use search engines. Just think of all those spam links that the search engines are able to throw out when ranking search results. There are other webspam methods to increase links to spammers' sites (like splogs), but just think how bad search relevancy would be if engines were still counting splogs and comment spam.

I kind of wonder if nofollow was ever intended to do anything more? The inventors should have known enough about spammers to know they are to stupid and lazy to look for nofollow tags (or any kind of antispam measure). Was it just marketed as a solution to comment spam so it would be quickly adopted? If so, it was a huge mistake since clearly it has not had much impact on preventing comment spam. It is just more ammunition for the anti-nofollow people.

You have to see the bigger picture. An individual site by itself is insignificant compared to the web as a whole. Nofollow may not help your site directly by stopping spam, but by making search engines work better, it helps everyone (except the spammers who try their best to fill search engines with junk). Users are better be able to find what they want (which could include your site) instead of having to dig through piles of spammer garbage.

Nofollow is working!

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