A Nofollow Experiment

October 29th, 2009 | Posted in SEO | Comments Off on A Nofollow Experiment

Tonight I was in the middle of searching something on Google that had to do with links and ran into a post on Jim’s marketing Blog from last June with the title: My dofollow experiment – The results

Given that I am, like most bloggers and website owners, always interested in ways to increase the number of one way inbound “do follow” links I interrupted my search to have a look at it. After reading through not only the post but the comments on that post I abandoned the search I was doing and read the whole thing again and again. Every time I kept sticking on one part of his post:

After just 3 weeks with the dofollow attribute turned off, search traffic to this blog from Google has increased by over 25% (and it’s still increasing.) My Google Pagerank has also increased from 3 to 5. I have discussed this considerable increase in search engine traffic with several SEO professionals. It seems the general belief is that I was being penalised by Google, NOT because I offered dofollow links; but because too many of those links pointed to what SEO professionals refer to as ‘bad neighbourhoods.’

In other words, people were linking to dubious sites from here and I was being penalised by search engines for allowing it.

Now while it’s true that this blog has never had very much in the way of comment activity, the idea that a site could end up penalized because some of those dofollow links could be pointing to “bad neighborhood” sites makes a whole lot of sense.

Once upon a time several months ago this blog used to have a PageRank of 2, then all of a sudden that ranking dropped to 1 and then to zero in the space of two months. It’s been PR zero ever since then. Therefore I’ve decided to try a reverse angle on his dofollow experiment.

To that end, I have turned off “dofollow” in comments and will leave it turned off at least until January. At that time I’ll have a look at the record of comments, both the number of spam comments that I delete and comments that get published as well as the PageRank of the blog and the amount of traffic coming from search engines. Then I’ll decide what to do from there based on the results.

I’ve been a believer in “dofollow” comments for a long time and all of my blogs have “dofollow” enabled for the comments. I also end up having to delete or manually remove the urls from quite a number of links, something I’d really rather not have to do because the time needed to do it adds up after a while.

I would also like to hear from other bloggers about what your stance is on “dofollow” in your comments. Do you or don’t you? Did you once offer “dofollow” and end up changing back to nofollow? If so, did you see a change in page rank and search engine traffic in the months after the change back to nofollow comments?

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