Dofollow/Page Rank Discussion

I believe it’s time for my first controversial blog post, because a topic has come up that I see so many people writing about, even here in comments, that it needs some exploration and conversation. There will be another controversial post after this one on a different topic; so much to talk about on a Sunday afternoon.

I wrote my post about blogrolls because I love looking at the blogrolls of other people, as well as having a few of my own. But it got integrated into another conversation about “dofollow”, “page rank”, et al. I don’t necessarily mind that, because it’s what’s on the minds of people, but it just seems like it deserves its own prominent spot on this blog, so here it is.

I love getting comments on my blog; who doesn’t? I’ve also wanted to grow the readership of my blog, for more than one reason. One, I’d like to make some money from my blog; I stated that, in my own way, with my very first post back last December. Two, I like to see that people enjoy my blog, or possibly hate the blog but just can’t stay away. I have always believed that we all should mainly write for ourselves, for the love of writing, but having people acknowledge your writing in some fashion is always pleasing. As a sidebar, I was at a health care conference last week, and at the registration desk I came upon a “fan”, who told me she’s been reading my blog, newsletter, and comments on a listserve that we’re both participants of for years, and once she knew I was coming she wanted to meet me to tell me how much she’s enjoyed my writings. There’s nothing better in the world than having someone not only recognize you in some fashion, but then tell you something nice like that; totally unexpected, and yet, lucky for me, it happens from time to time.

Anyway, I started getting a little bit of comment activity around April, but it was still fairly low. Then I was introduced to more WordPress plugins, and after adding the dofollow plugin and this became a dofollow blog, comments started to rise, especially after I also decided to add CommentLuv and joined Sire’s little F Group blogging community. That, plus expanding my own commenting on other people’s blogs, has really gotten things going for my blog.

However, the most controversial piece of this whole thing has been the dofollow/nofollow controversy. It basically encompasses two things. One, the conversation of page rank. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about this one, and ever since last year it’s been a hot topic, even on Matt Cutts blog, although he seems to always be right on the fringe of deciding how to answer the question everyone wants answered directly. Two, the conversation about paid links and Google penalties, and once again, Matt Cutts comes right to the edge without fully answering the specific question, but on this one he’s more the company man than on the other one. Let’s look at both issues in more depth.

All of us seem to scramble for Google page rank on one hand, then decry it on another. Let’s face this fact; ranks are ranks, and while none of them mean all that much in the long run, some seem more impressive than others, and can help us out in more ways than others. For instance, being a PR 0 or 7 doesn’t help me and this blog all that much because it’s a blog, with a wide range of topics, even if many are concentrated in a couple of areas. I’m much more impressed by page rank as it pertains to my business site because that’s the one I’ve worked on optimizing for specific keywords to generate offline business. I’m number one for quite a few search terms on that site, and yet it just dropped to a PR 3, after being PR 4 for at least 18 months. My traffic hasn’t dwindled, though, and my search terms are still at number one, with many others in the top 5, so what does that say about page rank overall?

Now, it’s possible that I’ve dropped page rank because at the same time I added dofollow to this blog, I added it to that blog, which is attached via subdomain, to my main site. However, I got slightly increased traffic for the site by adding the dofollow and CommentLuv plugins; do I want to give those up and possibly lose participation?

It’s actually the same question to ask for this blog. What’s the better “problem” to deal with; having more visitors and participation and worrying about page rank, or not having to worry about page rank and not having anyone reading my words? I checked my statistics on Google Analytics and the percentage of blog visitors that come here via Google is around 4.6%, which isn’t even half of the traffic I get from search engines, which is 9.6%. So, for this blog, my visitors are coming from other blogs most of the time; why worry about who’s finding me on Google searches at this time? If I can end up going the John Chow route, without directly attacking Google or flaunting any bad practices in their faces, and my traffic grows and I end up with more readers and purchasers, so much the better.

Which leads me to my second point, that being paid links. In reading Matt Cutts post on Selling Links That Pass Page Rank, the premise seems to be that it’s all on us individual bloggers or website owners to make sure that every advertisement that’s on our sites are set up as nofollow, as Google has a right to determine that paid links are there to help page rank only. I have some problems with this, as do others.

For one, having any paid links on one’s site is only for the purpose of making some money; we all know that having one way links doesn’t benefit us in any way except for either making some money or passing along information. Look at all the links in this post already; there’s more coming. Not a single one of these is a paid link, and not all of them link back into my blog; what algorithm is Google going to run to determine whether any of these links are paid or not? And no, I haven’t typed nofollow into any of these links, one because I don’t feel like it, but two, because Google themselves have acknowledged that it’s not that they don’t index nofollow links, just that if it’s there they won’t count them in their algorithms.

Therefore, Google’s expecting me to do their job for them; and that benefits me how? Oh yeah, that page rank thing again; well, I already talked about that. Now, am I selling space? I ask this question; is my having Text Links Ads any different than some blogs that have banner ads saying that people can pay to advertise there, or already have advertisers there? Matt Cutts said in one of his blog posts that Google doesn’t care about affiliate ads or whether they’re dofollow or nofollow; once again, how would they really know? Relevance is a red herring in this discussion.

For two (I’m never sure if one says “for two” or just “two”; does it matter?), just what is Adsense anyway? It’s paid text link ads that come from Google, and if you’ve ever checked (just right-click on a link, then go to Properties), you’ll see that every Adsense ad is a dofollow link; interesting. So, if Google is doing it for their advertisers, why are they so gung-ho to deny it to anyone else’s advertisers? Why? Because they can; just like the government, they’re the big dog, and big dogs don’t play by their own rules.

I wrote a comment a few days ago on someone else’s blog, I believe, that I also find it interesting that Google’s present ad partner, Yahoo, is allowing sidebar ads to run for this Text Link Ads company, and that company comes up number on if you use Yahoo search; seems these two big dog partners haven’t quite connected on a common philosophy as it regards paid links. And yes, Yahoo is also running Google’s Adsense these days, and of course it’s dofollow there also; what a dichotomy. Also, isn’t it troubling that Google can just erase a company from its search engines, which is supposed to be impartial? Try typing in Text Link Ads on Google; you’ll notice that the site itself doesn’t come up for even its name, but it’ll be listed as a topic of discussion on many other people’s sites. Hey, at one time in America, blacks weren’t considered as people either, but property; that’s a different conversation, though.

So, let’s ask some serious questions, and relate it to comments I’ve seen on this blog, other blogs, and many other articles I’ve read over the past couple of days. One, is Google really going to come after someone like me, who still has fewer than 2,000 physical visitors a month stopping by, just because: my blogroll, which is dofollow by default, shows up on every page, no matter how many links I put up; because I have a dofollow blog, which means every commenter who writes here gets some love from me; because I have two Text Link Ads that just started on my blog a couple of weeks ago, that’s going to net me less than $10 and is also “only” on my main page, but is also more than I’m going to earn from this blog from Adsense for the month?

Two, is my page rank going to overly suffer because of the same reasons I listed above? And, if it does, is that the end of my blog in the blogosphere?

Three, is fear really so rampant that people are afraid to try to do a few things here and there to improve their blogs, their monetary status, and their minds? Will fear suddenly make people scared to post here, or fearful of what they write and where they write? And, fear of Google, of all things? Does Google have a gun to your head? Sure, they’re the number one search engine, and I like Adsense just as much as many other people, but would that end my life on earth as I know it?

Four, have I done anything sneaky and below reproach? Have I done a single black hat SEO thing? Have a link farmed this site?

Five, and what about Naomi? Okay, just threw that in to lighten the mood a little bit and to see how many people actually remember it.

I know where many of you are going to stand on this issue, so I’ll ask the question this way, though you can still comment as you will. Realistically, just what is your main fear, and if it came to fruition, would it be the end of how you run your blog, or would you find another way? That’s all; I’m out!

State Line Tack

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53 thoughts on “Dofollow/Page Rank Discussion”

  1. I just have one thing to say to this post. Amen! I get so sick of Google bullying webmasters around. That’s the precise reason why I don’t even bother with adsense on my own site anymore. I use the dofollow plugin on my blog. I don’t have high page rank, but I am on the first page in search engine for the terms that I have chosen to target. So I really don’t worry that much about PageRank. They change the rules for PageRank just about everyday anyway. I just focus on creating quality content and driving traffic to my blog. The rest will take care of itself.

    1. Hi Deanna; thanks for writing and commenting. Obviously I’m with you on this one, except for wanting to keep Adsense with me. If you notice, I’d just added the Widget Bucks ads to my site, which, hopefully, will have an opportunity to bring in some money along with all the other stuff I have. But content, I hope, will really be the key to it all.

  2. Well, I do not keep a very long blog roll – I do have 5 or 6 there. Having a huge list of outbound links is definitely an issue unless you have more inbound links from quality/similar niche blogs

    So in my opinion, not just blogroll links but post links also should be very much carefully edited.


    Ajith Edassery´s last blog post..Describe your blog in ONE word here!

    1. Ajith, you didn’t answer the question “why”, as in how it would hurt you if you did have more. And I mean personally, not what other people have said. Everyone else is saying what you’re saying, but there are no definitives.

  3. I found your site via The Lazy Slacker…funny how that works, eh? This is going to be my new favorite blog now, Mitch. Excuse me, while I take care of your OptIn box…

    1. Thanks for coming by, Connie, and I’m also tracking Lazy Slacker; maybe when he starts posting comments more people will discover him. Also, thanks for the nice words about my blog; come back often.

  4. Great post Mitch! Nofollow is highly overrated, however it can be used for PR sculpting and controlling the juice of your pages. Google Adsense links are actually javascript links which don’t pass value and can’t be followed.

    GroundFloor SEO´s last blog post..How to Cross Link Internet Properties to Increase Search Engine Ranking for Your Website

    1. Hi Groundfloor. After I wrote the post, I came across something that said it was javascript, but it comes across looking like it’s dofollow, which is sneaky in its own way, and then prompts the question once again about paid links, that being just how do “we” know that paid links are all dofollow and not javascript just by looking at them? Pretty confusing stuff. I’ve also read about PR sculpting; way too much work for me. Thanks for the great information.

  5. No need to do nofollows on blogrolls since Google pretty much ignores long lists of links like side bar links or blogroll links.

    Nofollows are most effect on links in your content as those are the links that will pass pagerank from your site if you don’t nofollow them.

    1. True John, they may be most effective, but truthfully, just how effective? I mean, unless you can get your site to at least a 7 or 8, just how valuable is page rank anyway? Even then, it’s not indicative of traffic, which is what all of us really want.

  6. My friend, [] have been beated by Google since install dofollow plugin… His pagerank decreased from 4 to 2… I don’t know why?
    *Give me an advice!!! Thanks…

    Andy MSE´s last blog post..Orkes Irama Senja

    1. Hi Andy. The question to consider is whether your friend’s blog is drawing less traffic or more traffic since adding the plugin. If he’s drawing more, then don’t worry about it; if he’s drawing less, remove it. After all, when all is said and done, it’s all about traffic; that is, after content.

  7. I agree with all of the above Mitch. The thing that would support your argument is that Google uses a whole lot of dumb spiderbots to gather the data that it uses for it’s algorithms but just how accurate is the data that is collected.

    Heck, if I was going to worry about how every little thing that I did was going to affect my rank I wouldn’t have any fun blogging at all.

    Sire´s last blog post..A Good Argument For Tough Love vs Spanking

  8. Good article on a conversation many of us have time and time again….

    Google is not God, and cannot ask us- the public to help them out with a problem they have with their algorithm. Links are a major deciding factor in their PageRank calculation as stated in the release of their patent for PageRank.

    Making money from paid links on a site is not a crime, however it is an interesting spin that Matt Cutts plays on placing links on your website, for a term of profit or not.

    Using the DoFollow attribute is a “must” under the laws of Mr. Cutts, when it is Google that needs to fix what is broken. How is one to tell that you want to have Paid links on your site and no “NoFollow” because the advertiser wants it that way, and not really to drive PR?

    That is why me and my partner created – we supply an automated system that allows advertisers to purchase links in websites and blogs – only in the content – and provide NO footprint (JavaScript or other) for search engines to see. It is a safe way to sell or buy links without fearing a Google slap.

    With a WordPress plugin available publishers can sell links in their content on every page of their blog, set their own pricing and never have to do anything ever again. Commissions are 50% and set-up is 1-2-3.

    Let me also ask- go look at the new link off of the Google homepage to the G-1 Tmobile phone – is that a paid link?

    1. Dwight, seems like you found a great niche way for advertisers, and, once again, that would bring into question this thing about paid links and dofollow/no follow and javascript. I mean, Google can supposedly now index images and flash; javascript has to be on the docket at some point, right?

  9. i have to admit i have no idea what dofollow / nofollow is.

    when i had my blog on blogspot my page rank was 4, i’ve had it on my own url for a few months now and i seem to be stuck at 3.

    i used to really obsess over my stats and such, honestly i don’t even look at them anymore. i’d like my blog to be profitable, but mainly i’m happy just enjoying the social aspects of blogging.

    Memarie Lane´s last blog post..It’s THAT time again!

    1. Dofollow and nofollow pertain to links on a site or blog. If it’s nofollow, it means Google doesn’t count it on a site, though it checks it out. If it’s dofollow, Google counts it and checks it for relevance against whatever your site is all about. In general, getting your link on a site that’s dofollow is a good thing for you, but sometimes may not be as good for the person who has it. Works much better for regular websites if your topics are similar than it does for blogs, it seems.

  10. Traditionally JavaScript is in internal function that tells a website to “do”something when something is done. Most link placement programs use JavaScript to do this – LinkXL does not.

  11. Mitch,
    It’s still OK to sell links excluding 3rd party. Without a 3rd party your website doesn’t carry an html code that would be trackable by the engines as linking software hosted at a 3rd party. So if you sold text links like blogroll, this is perfectly OK and no way can the engines trace any selling taking place.

    I sell TLA links too so you may say I’m facing a little risk here. But I recently purchased OIO Publisher which allows me to set to no follow or do follow for all my ads I sell as I pleased. Hey Mitch, if you ever consider buying OIO, please use my referral link….so much for my shameless promotion here.

    Oh BTW speaking about blogroll, I just added your blog in my blogroll. Sorry it’s late but I kept forgetting to do it.

    Peter Lee

    Work At Home Ideas´s last blog post..How Blog Commenting Got Me 1200 Backlinks in 5 Days

    1. Great stuff, Peter. You know, I’m not sure whether I’ll continue with the Text Link Ads beyond this month or not. It won’t necessarily be because I’m worried about page rank as much as I’m not sure those types of ads represent what the blog is about all that well. I mean, they’re only on the main blog page and don’t flow through the site at all, which means I’ve got that wasted space on every other page of my blog, and when someone looks at an individual post, if they do happen to look at what’s on the right they see a heading for Other Advertisers and there’s nothing there. Frankly, I could pop a couple of 125×125 ads into that space. So, I’ll be making a decision on it over the weekend.

  12. Mitch, I don’t quite understand you.
    “…they’re only on the main blog page and don’t flow through the site at all”

    TLA can be shown on your main page as well as all your individual posts. I’ve got 3 on my main page and 1 on one of my posts.(just depends on your setting)

    “…I’ve got that wasted space on every other page of my blog…”
    – don’t understand this. What wasted space? You are not even showing any TLA banner ads right? TLA has stopped new joiners as affiliates so you can’t get any such banners. Potential buyers go the TLA Market Place to look for your site.

    Peter Lee

    Work At Home Ideas´s last blog post..Boost Traffic With Technorati Favorites Exchange

    1. Peter, let me explain.

      On the TLA page, when you’re setting it up, you do have the choice to select either every page or just the main page, and underneath it says most of its advertisers only want to be on one page. That’s because they’d have to pay for multiple pages if they chose the alternative. So, on my blog, it only shows on the main page.

      So, on every other page, you only see “Other Advertisers”, but there’s nothing under there, and that looks bad. Sure, I could decide to change up to every page, but I might not get any advertisers, plus I’m betting it’s that type of selection which gets more people in trouble. That’s what I meant; I could put 125×125 ads there, from other affiliate sources, instead of having blank space, and it would be consistent throughout my site.

  13. You could also join the LinkXL affiliate program, and install the WordPRess plugin on your site as well to sell links safely.

  14. Mitch,
    Now I’m getting the picture. My setting is somewhat similar to yours. The Text ads are shown on my main page and not the pages. However there is one distinct difference. I don’t see ‘other advertisers’ being displayed on all my pages. Perhaps you can check with TLA to find out why yours is so. I have set mine to also allow ads to appear on any individual posts advertisers prefer to advertise. Here take a look at one:

    Link Building Strategy-Deep Links

    Peter Lee

    Work At Home Ideas´s last blog post..Link Love-Links Round Up No. 10

    1. Are they the ads you’re calling the Money Makers? See, I named mine Other Advertisers, and I have them in a widget, which is why it comes up. If I didn’t name the widget, then it would look funny on the main page, although the other pages would just show a bit of blank space.

  15. Mitch,

    My 3 Text Link Ads are shown under the widget “Business Sponsors”. Yea on closer look, ‘Business Sponsor’ also appears on my other pages but I really don’t see any harm. You can rename it if the word advertisers bothers you. The one called “The Money Makers” are not paid ads. I created a widget to advertise some advertising sites, mostly referrals.


    Work At Home Ideas´s last blog post..The Easiest Way To Get Backlinks Starts Here

    1. On the page you sent me, no ads are showing, only the heading. And it’s not the name bothering me as much as it looks like empty space on all the other pages.

      Thanks for the explanation of the other stuff.

  16. Hey Mitch,

    I could see it why can’t you. You’re scaring me buddy. Just below ‘Tweet My Blog’ look for ‘Property Investment Show’


    Work At Home Ideas´s last blog post..Boost Traffic With Technorati Favorites Exchange

    1. Oh, that! You said “business sponsor”, so I thought you were saying your ad was there. See, that’s how miscommunications start on the internet.

  17. Mitch,
    I’ve been meaning to ask you. How did you do to set up your Top Commentators List to show on all pages. Mine’s showing only on the homepage. I’m lazy to read up the instructions again. If it’s easy enough to tell me here, otherwise I’ll do the long way.Thanks in advance.


    Work At Home Ideas´s last blog post..The Night My Blog Got Hacked

  18. I’ve never understood the whole nofollow thing. People want you to comment on their blog, giving them free content, but are unwilling to give you something in return. Smacks of selfishness to me!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Stuart, and I wholeheartedly agree with you. For me, it’s not all about me, even though it’s my blog. I write and hope to inform, and I want feedback. And if giving link love to people who comment is a bad thing, then I’m a bad man. Then again, I want to be a bad man! lol

  19. Great article, i believe nofollow links are needed. They can keep a lot of unwanted and non-organic links out.

    1. I believe if a person isn’t going to try to keep up with the maintenance of their blog that nofollow links may be needed. Otherwise, I feel it’s not such a big deal. I have noticed on my site that the only true nofollow links are under the Spread The Word plugin.

  20. “One, is Google really going to come after someone like me, who still has fewer than 2,000 physical visitors a month…”
    Well they might now; your traffic seems to have grown to ~10,000 visitors/month.

    1. Not really, David. My unique visits are high, but my actual “physical” visitors, per Analytics, still hasn’t reached 2,000 a month yet. But I’m still hoping to change that.

  21. I’d still find a way. I started my blog not having a damn clue what SEO or pagerank or any of that stuff meant. I started my blog just because it was something I became interested in and truly wanted to share.

    I don’t make as much money from my blog as I make with the sites I talk about on my blog, so I’d still keep blogging.

    As for PR, I just raised from a 0 to a 2 and even though I’ve read everywhere that PR doesn’t matter, I have to say it still feels good.


    I don’t know. It just does.

    But I do agree that SERP is more important than PR.

    Great post! I learned alot 😉

    1. Thanks Trini; glad you enjoyed the post. I think any time one sees progress related to something they have, or something they’re doing, it’s always a good thing. Of course, you didn’t take advantage of the commentluv you could have gotten with a blog post. 🙂

  22. I like your post. I just still don’t understand a lot : Does Pagerank really affected SERP. For most people pagerang is important if they want to monetize their blog…
    Really a nice post…..

    1. Jose, the quick answer is “no”. Page rank just basically tells what other websites think of your site; that’s pretty much it. SERPS are affected more by how you’ve optimized your site.

  23. Great article, i believe nofollow links are needed. They can keep a lot of unwanted and non-organic links out

    1. I don’t worry about any of those things, Kristine, since I check every link and comment that comes in, and Askimet catches the rest of it. Matt Cutts has even said that trying to sculpt a site for PR doesn’t work anyway.

  24. Hi Mitch,
    Great article,
    Thanks for sharing information about this controversial topic DoFollow blogs and allowing comments here.

  25. Mitch you’re right sculpting isn’t work because the pagerank points that are meant to go to that nofollow links are lost instead.
    So if you have 10 pagerank points and 10 outbound links,5 dofollow and 5 nofollow,only 5 points will be passed to that dofollow links and the rest of 5 will be lost.
    However people are worrying too much about pagerank,since it doesn’t help in ranks why bothering? Pagerank will grow over time because its impossible to don’t have a high pagerank when you provide useful content,others will link to you.
    .-= Nice Blogger´s last blog ..Digg Added NoFollow on All External Links =-.

    1. Hi NB,

      First, just so you know, unless I know a name for people I go in and change their names to initials until I do.

      Second, you’re right about PR. Too many people really are trying to kill themselves for that next bit of ranking, when really it all comes down to their content and trying to attract visitors. I’d rather have no pagerank (which I do now because of advertising) but tons of visitors. PR isn’t indicative of visitors, only how well one might have optimized their site.

      Thanks for sharing.

    2. NB is right! There is small relation between your PR and results in SERPS. If you would like rank high in serps then you must have backlinks with a related anchor text and you will outrank all competitors even with page rank 2 or lower. Good luck with further blogging.
      .-= Zenmed´s last blog ..Hello world! =-.

      1. Thanks for stopping by, Zemmed. Even Google is wondering about how their page rank has changed how people have been trying to do what they do with their SEO efforts. I’d much better working on organic traffic than worrying about PR, although it is a great thing to pitch to potential advertisers.

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