Is your blog's PR bleeding to death? rel="nofollow" Lifeline…

by Robb Sutton

Is your Google pagerank bleeding out giving your blog zero support to keep up the weight for the future? Google page rank is continuing to lose its stranglehold on the internet world. As Google continues to mold and shape its algorithm to bring you, the internet searcher, more targeted search engine leads, defined metrics like PR rank are going to continue to lose power as their piece of the pie continues to deteriorate. Does this mean we need to completely lose sight of PR and throw it on the back shelf? Absolutely not. Just like any SEO metric, everything adds together to determine where your blog stands in the world and how you are going to engage with the general web searching public.

As we go through blogging, there are many things in the beginning stages that we do different than we would now. Recently, I started going through my blogs looking at beginning articles to research ways to make them perform better in search engine rankings. Many of them were rewritten, changed and edited, but…by far…the biggest change I made in all of my early writings was adding the rel=”nofollow” tag to all links that I did not want bleeding out PR to other sites.

What is rel=”nofollow”?

Rel=”nofollow” is a tag, attached to a link, that tells search engine spiders not to follow that link within your content. As many of you already know, Google pagerank is determined by how many inbound links you have to a certain page of your blog and what those inbound links PR are at that point in time. The more high PR sites you have linking to your blog, the higher your PR will be…pretty simple concept really. As more higher pageranked sites link to you, Google see’s your site as more of an authority in providing relevant, quality content that equals higher rankings for organic search engine results.

The rel=”nofollow” tag will prevent you from leaking some of that PR out to other sites where you see fit. Do you want to attach the rel=”nofollow” tag to every link on your site? Not in all cases. Sometimes you are going to want to reward other sites or even just grab their attention by providing a higher PR link from your site, but to keep this positive link baiting alive, you need to make sure that you are tieing up loose ends by not letting your PR bleed out to sites that you do not see the positive feedback.

What are some examples of links that you do not want to follow?

  • Affiliate advertising links
  • Images found on Flickr and other photo sharing sites
  • Large corporations and company websites – Do you really think Wachovia Bank needs some of your PR? That is a waste of your resources!
  • Direct advertising – Be careful here. Some direct advertisers might pay more for a follow link if they need some positive PR.

Where do I put the rel=”nofollow” tag?

The rel=”nofollow” tag goes in as follows…

Original HTML link:

<a title=”Hoss Technical Gear” href=”” target=”_blank”></a>

With rel=”nofollow”:

<a title=”Hoss Technical Gear” rel=”nofollow” href=”” target=”_blank”></a>

Basically, the rel=”nofollow” tag sits inside the <a> tag of your link.

Controversy Around nofollow

A simple search engine query for nofollow will bring up a lot of conflicting arguments about the nofollow tag as it relates to SEO, paid links and sculpting PR via internal links in your site. A great rule of thumb that will always be true is to not go overboard with anything and try to stick to the rules. Using the nofollow tag for external links that provide zero benefit to you or the site external to yours is not going to raise any flags. What will raise flags is manipulating the rules to get a desired result.

Finding follow and nofollow Links on your Site

Install Firefox and install the SEO for Firefox add-on. All of your nofollow links will show up highlighted in red and follow links will not.


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Mike May 18, 2009 - 8:36 pm

I’ve actually been debating using no follow on my blog, particularly for the affiliate links. I wasn’t sure if it wasn’t going to make a big difference, but if I’m working so hard to get inbound links thru things like article marketing, I should probably try to keep as much PR juice as I can get.

Robb Sutton May 19, 2009 - 6:40 am

There is no gain for either party when you leave affiliate links as follow links. Might as well nofollow them and keep everything clean. How is the coffee blog going?

Mike May 19, 2009 - 4:27 pm

The coffee blog is still growing. It leveled out as far as traffic/sales last week and it depressed me some, but this week it’s back on growth mode again. I need to stop looking at my stats daily and start looking more at the long term trends.


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