To follow or not to follow

by Sally Kavanagh

The way in which the no follow tag is being used seems to be getting silly.

When it was first introduced it was intended to prevent abuse caused by spamming blog comments with links, a very good idea although my blog is still bombarded with spam comments if I don’t take action to prevent them.

Then it was used to prevent paid links, links from adverts etc, being used to pass link juice. Again quite sensible and reasonable but it is just beginning to get difficult. Surely a link from a reputable directory that vets all its listings should pass page rank. No low rank, spam site is going to either pay if it’s a paid directory nor pass editorial review so surely it is a legitimate SEO signal that the search engines could use.

Today I read a very scary headline in a emailshot from econsultancy’s Daily Pulse

“Has Google really just killed the PR industry”

The article references a recent update to Google’s webmaster tools guidelines 

The relevant section reads

Additionally, creating links that weren’t editorially placed or vouched for by the site’s owner on a page, otherwise known as unnatural links, can be considered a violation of our guidelines. Here are a few common examples of unnatural links that violate our guidelines:

•   Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites. For example:
There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress.

Now does that mean that if I write a press release I should not use keyword anchor text? Surely if I am creating a link to a page on my client’s site, then it makes sense to use anchor text to tell my reader and the search engines what the page is about. And Google has said that links in press releases do not benefit rankings –  https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/webmasters/O178PwARnZw/discussion

We are in danger of getting to the point where what would have been considered ‘good practice’ until recently is now branded as unnatural link building!

So perhaps we should all start optimising for click here and contact us, then Google will realise that no one is bothering with the meta keyword tag, start ranking sites on that and keyword density and everything will have come full circle.


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