The no follow do follow debate is an everlasting one that has gotten some strong arguments from both sides. So should you incorporate nofollow or dofollow tags on your website or blog is the ultimate question?
The right answer is that it depends on your objectives. For me, I have decided that STARTING TODAY, I AM ACTIVATING THE DOFOLLOW TAG ON ALL COMMENT LINKS ON MY BLOG.
The no follow do follow tags, also written as “nofollow” and “dofollow” are snippets of HTML code that one can incorporate in internal or external links on one’s website or blog. These tags determine whether a website’s page rank is passed on to the site that it is linking to.
Without incorporating these tags, all links are dofollow links by default. In other words, when you link to another website from your own, you are passing on some of your “page rank juice” or credibility to the website you are linking to.
Why is this important? Because search engines consider a website’s page rank a sign of its credibility / reputation and thus deems it a critical component of its determination of where the website should rank amongst its competitors.
Let me explain in simpler English. Have a look at my post on the best domain name for your website. In this post, notice that I have linked to several external websites. Here is an image:
Since these websites are all external websites (not any of my own either), I have decided to incorporate a nofollow tag in my link so that my page rank doesn’t leak out to it. If my page rank leaks out, my website becomes that much weaker and the site I link to becomes that much stronger. Here is how the link looks like with the nofollow tag in it:
<p>For example, if you own the domain name <a rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.cleancookinghabits.com/” target=”_blank”>www.cleancookinghabits.com</a>, you might also want to get <a rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.cleancookinghabbits.com/” target=”_blank”>www.cleancookinghabbits.com</a>. Notice the extra “b” in the latter, which is a common misspelling of the word habit. Similarly, if you own <a rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.shoesforless.com/” target=”_blank”>www.shoesforless.com</a>, you might want to consider getting <a rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.shoes4less.com/” target=”_blank”>www.shoes4less.com</a>.</p>
In order to do this, go to the HTML code of your website and manually add the nofollow tag (rel=”nofollow”) in the link code as shown in the example above. To make the link a dofollow link, do nothing as links by default are dofollow in nature. In WordPress, simply click over to the HTML tag in the post creation section. Here is how it looks like:
You might be thinking why would anyone allow their hard earned page rank to flow out of their website into another one that they don’t own? This is a valid concern, and for the most part savvy internet marketers and bloggers are good about protecting their website’s page rank.
By allowing page rank to leak out, the subject website’s own page rank is deteriorated, which could impact its advertising revenues (advertisers love high page rank websites and pay good money to advertise on them) amongst other things.
Leaving links as dofollow also encourages spam if you are operating a blog. Because “commenters” know that they can benefit from your blog’s page rank, they leave keyword rich comments that they think can benefit the website they link to. So instead of commenting to add value to the discussion, many simply comment to spread their digital footprint and benefit from the “page rank juice flow”. I will show you how I do this below.
So why then would I deliberately convert from nofollow to dofollow on my blog? Not long ago Andrew left a comment on my blog. Here is what he said:
He called me out and told me what I am doing is totally not cool. Well, whether or not cool is irrelevant, one should do what they need to do to meet their objectives. In my case, WordPress had the nofollow tag option enabled by default.
When I think about it, while the default option intends to do well by protecting my page rank, it doesn’t provide out of ordinary incentive for readers who are also website owners to leave a comment and interact. I am not saying it discourages them, but enabling the dofollow tag will certainly give them more reason to leave a comment on my blog.
So after putting in some thought into this, I am enabling the dofollow tag on all my blog’s comments here on out TO ENCOURAGE MORE READER PARTICIPATION AND INTERACTION. I am curious to observe how this impacts my page rank in the long term and will continue to observe it.
If you read online you will find many articles on how to change your blog from a nofollow to a dofollow by including a snippet of code or a small script in some of your WordPress files. I try to avoid the technical stuff and go for the easier route. Instead of messing around with the code files, a quick way to enable dofollow tags on comments is to use the CommentLuv plugin and change the settings within.
Once you have the CommentLuv plugin installed, scroll down to the bottom of your settings and simply select the option you’d like and update the settings.
Here is a screen shot of what this looks like:
Save your changes and now your comment links are dofollow links. Cheers!
Here is how YOU can win from the simple change I made to my blog. To make most of your time spent on my blog, leave a comment after reading any given post and gain a dofollow link back to your website or blog.
Please don’t spam me or I will block you forever and hunt you down with my baseball bat. Instead, add value to the community and in turn take value back to your website as fair and mutual exchange.
Here is a commenting tip: To make most of your commenting activity on dofollow blogs like mine is now, incorporate your website’s keyword in your comment title. This is how I do it on other blogs for example:
These are comments I made in response to a guest post I had written on ProBlogger. Notice I have included some keywords in my name. I call these Search Engine Optimized Comments.
This method utilizes your keyword as part of the anchor text that links back to your website or blog and thus helps your search engine ranking for that keyword. In my case, my keyword is “Extra Money Blog”.
Proceed with some level of caution however because spammy keywords often end up in the spam or trash folder. This happens to me quite a bit because my keyword involves the word “money”, which is often used by spammers. Other keywords that are highly suspect are “free” “sex” “viagra” “get laid” . . . you know the drill.
If you get caught in the trash and care enough about the comment you had made, email the blog’s author separately and asked to be fished out of the spam folder. I have done this a ton of times, and others have emailed me just as many times asking to be rescued from my blog’s spam box.
If your business is based on an online model, or if you are using a website or blog to support your business, utilizing no follow do follow tags are relevant to your website’s success, which is predicated on the traffic it generates based on its rank on the internet.
By incorporating nofollow tags in external links, you are maximizing your website’s opportunity to rank high for keywords it is optimized for. With a higher rank comes more traffic and thus potentially more revenues for your business.
That said, there are some instances where incorporating the dofollow tag makes sense, such as in my blog’s example where my objective is to encourage more reader participation and interaction.
Now that you know what no follow and do follow tags are and the pros and cons involved in using each, you can make the decision that best supports YOUR overall objectives.
Readers: Will my enabling of the dofollow tag make you comment more often on my blog? I want your opinion on whether to No follow or do follow? Why? Does it even matter? Do you have questions?
You can read Google’s thoughts on the no follow do follow tags here.