Should You Rel=Nofollow to Pages in Your Own Website?

There are two types of link to search engine spiders. One is the “do follow” link that allows spiders to follow the link and go to the site the link is pointing toward.  These are the best kind of links to have, especially if the link is one-way, meaning the link points only in one direction.  Plus, you will get some link credit or “juice” from the link pointing to your page.one way stop sign

The other type link is “no follow,” which means just what it says. When spiders see a link like this:

<a href=”http://website.com” rel=”nofollow”>My amazing page here.</a>

The spider will stop and go no further and then link passes no juice back. So, for example, if you get this amazing link on CNN, and CNN designates it as “no follow,” supposedly you’re getting no benefit. I choose not to believe that entirely. I think all links have some value, though with “do follow” links you’re absolutely sure you’re getting a boost from the page the link points from.

Simply put, link credit works this way:

If there are 10 links on a page, and you’re one of them, you get 1/10th of the juice from the page passed to you. If there are 100 links on a page, you’ll get only 1/100th of the juice from that page passed to you. It’s no big deal to get a link from a page where too many links already exist.

But what about your own website? What should you do there?

It used to be that we advocated “page rank sculpting,” and that meant you’d pass page rank from one of your pages to another, very selectively. For example, links to your contact us page or your other “utility” pages from your home page would be tagged “no follow” so that your less important pages wouldn’t suck up the juice.

However, Google came out a while back and said that they didn’t approve of page sculpting. So, everyone scrambled to remove the tags again.  And according to Google it’s not a good idea. Here’s Matt Cutts with more:

So, don’t waste your time.

However, it is smart to waste time gathering some “no follow” linkage. Why? Because it’s natural. Google wants to see links to your pages with varying anchor text and from both follow and no follow sites. Diversity implies natural behavior.

They know the links exist, of course, and again, I still think you get some credit for them, but with a caveat –  to mean anything, the “nof follow” links must be on sites with higher authority. A Blogger blog that nobody reads, for example, won’t make a good linking partner. But let’s go back to CNN. Having a link there means something, even if it is a “no follow” link. I’m sure of it.

And even if a “no follow” link has no impact on your search portrait, it will still bring traffic.  Do or No do, links on sites with clout still matter.

Anyway, stick to using no follow links for outgoing links from your website, and leave your utility pages be.  It will be less work for you, and you’ll make Google happier. Whoopee.

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