What’s the buzz with all this following stuff, anyway?
Today, a brief dissertation on Link Juice and Link Traffic, what counts, what doesn’t, and why you should care (or not) . . . and what NoFollow has to do with any of it.
A quick distinction:
Link Juice = credit for having good links TO your site from other credible sites in your industry.
Link Traffic = visitors who get to your site by actually clicking on those links from other sites.
If you’re new to blogging (or websites in general, as this applies to “links” not types of internet properties) you have probably run into the term “noFollow” already. It’s a meta instruction for search engine spiders that indicates whether they should go down a particular road or not.
“No follow links were first developed in 2005 by Google as a way to control spam links on blogs and other sites. ” – Vertical Measures, April 2008
Way back then (3 years is an eternity in this biz), a blogger had to be wary of spammers dumping links onto their comment feeds. We all know that having “valuable” or “credible” backlinks is super-important but when your comment feed is full of links to viagra, cialis and mail-order brides from middle-Morostok, Google starts to frown.
This crackdown did the trick, at first.
The downside, however, became NOBODY was getting any backlinks. So commenting was virtually pointless (for your search engine ranking) unless you just like to read your own writing.
Consider the scenario – “commenting is all the rage” “get more traffic by commenting on relevant blogs” “boost your visibility by commenting on blogs by bigs in your niche”… blah blah blah. So off you go on your 5x5x5 plan, fastidiously leaving relevant and pique comments with your links on other blogs (Link Juice… good!) in the hopes that you might rise above the chaff and get noticed by Google for your prolific entanglements with other authoritative blogs.
That’s all fine and well… and surely if you’re THAT good, someone would eventually read your comment and click thru your link (Link Traffic… good!). (Notice where we’re going, here?)
But, Google isn’t coming anywhere near you. And you’re wondering what is taking so long for your search engine results to improve… you have SO MANY LINKS OUT THERE!
Why? Because dear blogger, by virtue of leaving a comment with your url, you’ve just joined the ranks of spammers. (Link Juice… bad!)
Fast forward to 2011 —-> A revolution of DoFollowers! And the blessed Panda upgrade.
As with many things, the fear of being spammed became overshadowed by the fear of not being linked! AND blog developers listened, and created plugins to do the job of NoFollow for bad-guys only, thus allowing good guys to be rewarded with a followed link!
“As a DoFollow Blog, you will attract many more commenters, and many more repeat commenters; thereby creating a highly engaged blog community. After all, you starting a blog for the interaction of your unique blogposts, right?” – Ponn Sabra, AmericanMuslimMom, April 2011
On top of the DoFollow revolution, Google – I think – got tired of being played by spammers and cracked down a whole new way with their “Panda” algorithm upgrade. This new approach by Google essentially banished spam-filled sites to the nether-reaches of their index. This is good for bloggers, especially when combined with tools like Akismet or Captchas (those annoying little graphics you have to type out). Remember, tho, if you were already a “DoFollow” blog before that, you may want to go weed out those old spam links right this very minute.
So now we have a whole new trend of “DoFollow” blogs (which, by the way, isn’t a new meta instruction, it’s simply the absence of “NoFollow” tags). You can even join a club! You’ll get a badge and everything! (Semiologic has an opinion on DoFollow benefits and a wordpress plugin that gives you some granular control). If you’re not a “joiner” you can use one of the many SEO plugins that gives control over NoFollow, here at SocialBuzzClub we use WordPress SEO by Yoast.
Some would argue that DoFollow and NoFollow are really irrelevant… that you want links, period, so people can click on them and easily get to your website. (Link Traffic… good!) I would tend to agree in the grand scheme of things. No link is doing you any good if you’re not getting visitors to your website.
But why not support the idea by allowing other folks to freely put their quality links on your site, and thus, putting your quality links on other folks’ sites? With the latest improvements in the quality of search results, if you’re on the up-and-up, it can’t hurt.
Pay it forward… be a DoFollower!