To Follow or Nofollow – Tagging Your Hyperlinks
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When building a web-site, apart from the content of the pages, how your pages link together is crucial – not so much for your customers, but moreso for the all-knowing and all-seeing Google Search engine.
As most people know, the use of “nofollow” tags, whilst it doesn’t stop the search engine spidering a page, it does prevent the page from being allocated any PageRank.
Therefore, if you have an E-Commerce site, by using the “nofollow” tag in the hyperlink, this ensures the target page will get a PageRank of zero, meaning the page is not “important”, and subsequently, the PageRank will be allocated elsewhere on your web-site. A typical example of using a nofollow would be when linking to a Terms and Conditions page. Why distribute PageRank to that page when you can have it going towards a Product Page – as we know, a higher PageRank means a higher positioning in Google. I think you’d rather come higher in the search engines for the products you sell rather than your Returns Policy!!
Nofollows though also have been revealed to be useful for making sure that internal links to particular pages within your site don’t become diluted with erroneous or unspecific keywords.
For example, say you have a web-site which sells stationery, and one of the pages on this site sells “White Board Markers”. Undoubtedly, there will be links to this page from numerous areas of your site – from the home page, the category pages, the sub-category pages, your articles, the blog, the sitemap etc…
Well, the first thing you’ve got to make sure is that all hyperlinks on your site that link to this page say the same thing – “White Board Markers”. Even though the article content on the page itself confirms (in your mind) that the web page is about White Board markers, to Google, these facts are only clarified by the wording of the hyperlinks that point to the web page in question.
If the links to these pages all said different things like “Felt Tips” or “Fibre Tipped Pens”, Google would have less clarification that the page in question is indeed about “White Board Markers”, as all your hyperlinks say different things! It will subsequently rank you lower for “White Board Markers”, because your own links can’t confirm the authenticity of the subject of the page.
This not only happens within a single web-site, but is also part of the algorithm that Google uses on the World Wide Web. If the content of a given page matches the keyword or phrase that is used for a multitude of hyperlinks, a web page will rank higher for that keyword.
It is the equivalent of hearing a story from someone you don’t really know, and you don’t know whether to believe them. But when you see that someone else has confirmed that it is true, you believe the original storyteller, and as a result they’ll go up in your estimation! Similarly, if you heard it again from someone else, you give the originator a bit of prominence.
So, think about your PageRank, don’t dilute the pages you’re wanting to rank highly for, and use rel=”nofollow” after the href tag to make this happen!!
This article was written by Sam Davis on October 6, 2008.
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