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WordPress Is Nofollow By Default

Filed under: promotion,web design — Tags:

I was tweaking my WordPress theme a bit today. Whenever I look at my blog and see something that I don’t like or think could look better I change the stylesheet for the custom theme that I made.

While I was working on that today I noticed the links from the commenters on my blog are now “nofollow”. If you don’t know what that is, the nofollow tag was invented by the search engines as a way to tell them not to follow or pass along any authority to that link. I believe their goal was to establish a way to keep popular sites from selling their links to “less worthy” sites. “Add this tag or we’ll punish your site if you profit by selling our page rank.”

In this case I think that the folks at WordPress are trying to combat comment spam. Their thinking may be that by not letting spammers get the “link juice” from their comments they will realize that it’s not helping and will stop. I think this is a bad idea because first, it won’t work and second, the site’s legitimate commenters won’t get any benefit either. I do already have comment spam protection and even though I’m not sure when the WP nofollow started, I haven’t seen the comment spam go down any.

When you ask visitors to comment, you are asking them to share their thoughts on your site. They are giving you valuable content, not just for your human visitors, but the search engines as well. One of the ways that I have preached about getting links to your site is go to other blogs and add relevant comments. What you get back in exchange for your content is a link to your site. A way to get visitors who click your link and also to get a “vote” for your site in the eyes of the search engines. With nofollow that vote is no longer there.

I want to give back something to my commenters so I have removed the nofollow from the links of my legitimate commenters and will continue to filter the spammers. Bad move WordPress! You should at least give us a way to turn this “feature” off.

If you would like to remove the nofollow attribute from the commenters on your WordPress blog it’s pretty easy. You need to find the comment-template.php file which is located in the wp-includes folder of your blog.

First make sure that you have a good backup of the comment-template.php (I know you have that already)

Open the comment-template.php file and look for
$return = “<a href=’$url’ rel=’external nofollow’ class=’url’>$author</a>”;
on line 148

Normally I don’t recommend modifying any WordPress PHP files, but this one is pretty straight forward. Just remove
rel=’external nofollow’
from that statement and make sure you use the WordPress editor or a text editor. Not Word or Wordpad as they will add their own code and may ruin the file. The only other problem that I see is that I (you) will have to do it again after any new WP updates.

Update 8-20-2009 – I had listed some WordPress plugins here that remove nofollow, but with the last WP update they no longer work, so I removed them. Let me know if you find one that still works.

Is there a natural order of promotion

Someone in one of my groups on LinkedIn asked “what is the best way to allocate (promotional) resources?”

Asking how best to allocate their limited resources (time and $$)

I answered and thought I’d share it here, you may have heard this before.

Start with the free stuff. There are some good ones
http://www.lillicotch.com/Blog/?s=marketing

When paying, try anything that makes sense to you, but be sure to take the time to track how much/many you get from every single ad/promotion. You need to know if you are spending $1 to make $10 or $10 to make $1

Otherwise you might as well take your money to a casino.

You Can Buy Page Rank

Filed under: Information,promotion — Tags: ,

It looks like the CircuitCity.com name has been sold for $14M. I just read about it on the SEOBook website.

Here’s the thing, if I were to sell recommendations on my blog posts here and provide links to my sponsors products (and not use nofollow) Google wouldn’t like it very much and would probably penalize my site. In fact, that was the whole reason given for the nofollow link attribute in the first place.

I don’t think that I would sell undisclosed advertising or recommendations here on this site, but I’m trying to understand why a giant company can buy and sell their page rank and I can’t. Seems like a double standard on Google’s part to me.

On second thought,…
I probably would sell out for $14 Million.
(sorry, I went away for a second, but I’m back now)

More Details On What Does $14 Million Worth of PageRank Look Like?

Why I Want Comments

Filed under: Information,promotion

It never fails. Yesterday I wrote about removing the nofollow attribute from my WordPress comments and then last night there was an update that put it back. I also found out that the nofollow goes back further than I thought so I was just not paying attention.
The update was broken by the way (it’s a good thing that I can write html) so there is another one coming soon

If you don’t want to do it yourself I did a quick search and found quite a few plugins that will remove the nofollow for you.

I also found a great post on the Web Pro News site by Chris Crum. He gives some very good reasons why you want comments on your blog. They are important and valuable so why would I want to discourage commenters by adding the nofollow attribute to them.

Read Comments Make Content More Valuable

How You Can Still Sell Paid Links

While I don’t sell paid text links on this site, but many people do. If you have a fairly high ranking site it’s a great way to make more money with your site than with Google ads alone.

The best way to improve your ranking with the search engines is to have high ranking sites point their text links to your site. High ranking sites are not in the habit of just giving out links to just any site, especially lower ranking or new ones. One of the best ways to get one of these links is to buy one on the higher ranking site, preferably inside their content.

As you may or may not know Google wants all website owners to disclose all paid links and insert a “nofollow” tag into the link so they know what it is and they will devalue the link. That will in effect remove most of the incentive for someone to buy the ad from you.

What Google is in effect saying is that we own “Page Rank”. Only we are allowed to use it as we please and if you try to profit from it (only Google is allowed to do that) we will punish you by lowering your rankings.

While that is their prerogative I have always believed that prohibition just doesn’t work. It just serves to drive prices up, especially for the small business website owner who won’t know who to turn to in order to buy these stealthly.

What many site owners have done is to take this practice underground. Unfortunately, Google may have turned this into a war and I believe it will always be very difficult for them to detect this practice, although apparently they will try and by doing that they also get “false positives”. I also believe that by devaluing sites that offer good content only to improve their own revenue will ultimately lead to lower quality search results and in the end be bad for Google.

There are already many good instructional posts to help site owners who want to get around this prohibition. One of the best that I have seen so far is by Jeremy Luebke on the Marketing Pilgrim site called “7.5 Rules of Selling Links – How Not to Get Penalized”. I’m also sure that there will also be more new and better ideas almost every day. I think that this is a war that Google cannot win.

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What Good Are Wikipedia Links?

Filed under: web design — Tags: ,

Wikipedia in an effort to combat posting spam changed all of their links to “nofollow”. What that means is that search engines will no longer apply any page rankings from the Wikipedia site to the linked site. Whether the spiders follow those links or not is not known for sure.

Does that mean it’s not worth getting your site mentioned on Wikipedia? Absolutely not! One of my customers (All American Roadside Assistance) has several links from Wikipedia to their site. If you check the logs almost all of the visitors to their site from Wikipedia will either buy or add to their favorites (which means they will probably be back).

Also many other websites will use content from Wikipedia as reference on their sites and there is a good discussion on Small Business SEM about whether those links also carry the “nofollow” tag.

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