One of the most hotly debated topics in SEO is:
“Do nofollow links count?”.
If you spend time on any SEO-focused forum or blog you’ll see people spill their guts on what they think about nofollow links.
I’m here to put an end to the debate…once and for all
This site was set up for one purpose: to see what effect the nofollow tag has on SEO (if any).
I’m going to build 100% nofollow links to this page, using a combination of blog comments and…other stuff.
In particular, I’m going to test:
- If nofollow tags pass PageRank
- Or if anchor text on nofollow tags pass relevancy signals to Google
How will you know what I find out?
When the next Google toolbar PageRank update rolls out (should be around May 5th 2013), check the PR of this page. If it’s higher than PR0, then you know nofollow links make a difference.
If it’s not, well, you learned something there too.
A little bit of history about the nofollow tag
Back in the day people started making these cool things called “weblogs”.
Instead of creating HTML pages by hand, you could use a CMS like WordPress to publish content with ease.
And one of these weblog’s most popular features were known as blog comments.
Instead of having to yell obscenities at your computer screen when you didn’t like an article…you could yell obscenities using a blog comment.
Technology is amazing, isn’t it?
There was only one problem…
Because comments were sometimes accompanied by a link, spammers used blog comments as a way of generating backlinks to their site. This made the good people at Google very nervous.
To fight the problem they put their heads together and came up with a solution: the nofollow tag!
When this tag was applied to links — they still functioned like a normal link– but the links didn’t have any influence on a site’s search engine presence or pass PageRank.
…or do they?
Almost the day nofollow was announced, the SEO doubters came together and proclaimed something along the lines of:
“Nofollow links still have value…just not as much as regular links”.
However, Google disagrees:
Which, ironically, makes people MORE likely to think nofollow links have an influence on SEO.
I hope this experiment puts the debate to rest…or at least gives us a better idea of what this mysterious tag means to our lives.