No Follow vs Follow LinksWritten by: Anyonita Green on
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Personal feelings about Google's Big Brother cum watch dog mentality aside, it's important to follow some of the guidelines they give in Webmaster Tools. After all, people use search engines to find blogs (most people use Google) and adhering to Webmaster Tools guidelines means you're in good stead to have your blog searched, indexed and eventually accessed.
One of the trickiest technical bits about blogging is those pesky follow and no follow links. What are they? When do you use them? Do they matter? Don't you want everyone to follow all the links you share? Isn't that the point of a link?
I'm glad you've asked (and many of you have asked! Those questions are pulled straight from my emails with you!). Let's find out the answers.
Disclaimer: I'm not a techy person. I do not work for Google. I am not an SEO wizard. I'm simply a blogger who loves blogging and doesn't want to see her hard work wasted and not shared. My explanation is my understanding after much research and consultation with techy people, Google people and SEOs (wizards or not). I'm not writing the book on links, I'm just showing you how I roll in the link department and what works best for my blog.
From eons of writing research papers starting at the age of 10 and all the way through a BA and an MA, I've pretty much got it sussed. I know that before you start any type of technical whatsit, you need to first define your main themes so that everyone's on the same page.
That said, a no follow link is a link with an attribute of "no follow" attached to it. That attribute tells search engines not to follow either all of the links on a specific page or a specific link.
That means a follow link does the opposite. It invites search engine robots to check out the links, to see where they go and to include the integrity of them in the formula that makes up a page's rank.
As with everything, Google has some pretty clear rules regarding when to use follow links. From Google's perspective, when it comes to links, they're obliged to take the moral high road. They want to be sure that the companies with trillions of funds in their marketing budgeting aren't offering a million bucks to bloggers to bombard their posts with follow links, which, as we know, would play favorably into pretend company's page rank.
So, Google wants to level the playing field in terms of link building while promoting positive link building and SEO practices. Hence the importance of using follow and no follow links properly. As I stated, whether you blog for money or not, whether you give two tosses what Google thinks or not, as a blogger, your work is going to be indexed by some search engine robot eventually. And that's what you want in the first place, so you might as well play nicely.
Did you read my disclaimer at the beginning of this section? Since you know my limitations, you'll understand that I cannot tell you when you should and shouldn't use no follow and follow links. Instead, I'm going to tell you how I do it. You can decide for yourself if it makes sense and whether you'll do something similar.
How Anyonita Nibbles treats no follow links
- I always, always, always use a no follow link when using an image as a link. At the bottom of this post, you'll see some suggestions to other posts about Google policy. The links attached to those images have been coded to be no follow because search engines can't read images the same way we do. There's nothing to properly anchor to. Had I used a keyword, that would have been different.
- Statements like this: "For a tutorial on how to watermark your photos click here" (where here is a link) are always linked with no follow links. When I can be bothered to use them. That type of statement is poor SEO and should be avoided, at best.
- Never link to the same page multiple times in an entry without using a no follow link. If it's pertinent, I'll use a follow link once, but after that? It's no follow city.
- When linking to someone's blog name in a feature. Let's use an example from +Jess Harp :
Check out these amazing cheesy beef rolls from Hungry Harps:
How Anyonita Nibbles treats follow links
- With my keywords. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's vitally important.
- When referring back to previous posts, with the relevant keyword. Instead of saying, "For a tutorial on how to watermark your photos, click here" I'd say something along the lines of "If you're unsure, check out this watermarking photos tutorial". The orange text would be linked with a follow link.
- When mentioning a specific product (Sometimes. This depends on whether I've been paid to write the review.)
- When linking to important pages within my own website, including my About Me page
- When linking to specific recipes on other blogs for features. Let's take another look at the example from Jess. If I were featuring her recipe on my blog it would like this:
Shameless plug: do you want your recipes featured on Anyonita Nibbles? Link up to Tasty Tuesdays!
How to set a no follow attribute in Blogger
I must apologize in advance, I've not used Wordpress for years and I do not remember how to do this on that platform. If someone wants to take a few screenshots, I'd be happy to include them in this post for Wordpress users.
If you're on Blogger, though, here's how you do it:
Identify the word or words that you will link to. In our case, let's use those amazing cheesy beef rolls from Hungry Harps as an example.
Highlight the text and click the link button from your toolbar to insert the link.
When the dialog box pops open, paste in the link and be sure to tick the box to add a no follow attribute.
With an image
Do the exact same thing as above, but click the image instead of any text.
Interested in other posts on Google policies? Consider these: