Thursday, January 20, 2005


nofollow tag

Google's definition of a nofollow tag for links has got a lot of coverage, and, as noted by Scoble, even competitors signed up to it, without involving a standards committee.

My take on the tag is that it's unlikely to decrease comment spam - in fact it will probably lead to an increase as spammers blast more sites in an effort to find those that still have an effect on the search engines rankings. What it will do is reduce the percentage of comment spam that gets to influence search results - but at the expense of reducing the influence of legitimate comment based links also.

I hope that the various citation services, that offer ways to find out who is linking to a given page, don't simply drop all nofollow links from their index. What they should do is simply use the flag to separate the links into two groups, so they can report "this page is linked to by 57 pages, and 10 others which specified nofollow".

Many are talking about using this as an editorial decision flag - "I'm linking to this page, but not necessarily for positive purposes". As such, the idea of using CSS to display such links in an alternative form is a good one,

There is a good round up of the reaction to this tag at InsideGoogle.

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