Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Power to the Diggers: How Nofollow Hurts Social Bookmarkers

In an effort to fight comment spam -- a tactic used by Search Engine Optimizers to build link popularity for their websites -- Google established the "nofollow" tag. It eliminates the "juice" that a link gives to its website. Spammers can post hundreds of comments on dozens of websites and receive no benefit for its search rankings.

Over the last several months, several social bookmarking sites such as del.icio.us and reddit have adopted this same technique in an effort to keep spammers from populating their website with a ton of junk. The thought is that SEOs will stop using the service and that only those who really want to post interesting things that they "found" will be able to have an impact.

It doesn't work and here's why:

1) The social media optimization boom has made spamming even more useful than it ever was for straight SEO. The services normally offer easy to install and use buttons, so there is no wasting time.

2) Many SEOs don't even check for nofollow, either because they believe what many of the forums are saying about how nofollow is a myth, or out of sheer ignorance.

3) SEO spammers need multiple sites from which to link, not multiple links on a site. Once they have placed their link, they move on to the next website. Eliminating the occasional 1 tag is nowhere near the epidemic of social media optimization, where build a friends network and creating multiple accounts has SMOs systematically tagging each page of their sites over a long period of time and voting for their friends in hopes of a recipricol vote on their own.

Now, this all seems fine, but why would a standard non-SEO, non-SMO care about any of this? They do not care about placement, though most like to see their stories make it to the front page of their favorite bookmarking site.

The dilemma lies in credit. Many people find something interesting and want to share it. If they share something that others like, it goes popular.

Everyone has heard of the tremendous instant boost in website traffic when it makes it to the front page. Wouldn't it be nice to also bestow some of this "glory" for future people to see through the search engines? Once a website leaves the front page, things go back to normal for its traffic. If the link juice were also applied, as it is with Digg, Furl, and Listible, then people's vote would be more than just on that website. It would count across the net through its effects on search engines.

I am a fan of nofollow. True SEOs don't need to spam forums and blog comments to get their websites ranked. Still, I do believe that all social bookmarking sites should remove nofollow and keep up with the times.

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isha said...

You are right. I am agree with you. Thank you!

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