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Linking To Incidental Pages Like Copyright, About Us, Etc.


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#1 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 01:46 PM

In the discussion Copyright 2006, have you updated your copyright notice? tommr wrote the following message:

Here is a PHP snippet I use to post the copyright date.

<? echo date("Y"); ?>

The copyright symbol is expressed as &copy; and the spaces are expressed as &nbsp;

Then if I am linking it to a seperate page that explaines our copyrithe policy it looks like this

<a href="http://www.mysite.co.../copyright.htm" title="copyright" class="nav" rel="nofollow">Copyright&nbsp;&copy;&nbsp;<? echo date("Y"); ?></a>

This way I do not have to worry about updating all those dates at the bottom of the page.

PHP needs to be turned on for this to work. I had to contact my hosting company and they gave me a bit fo code to put in my .htaccess file to make it work.


To which I replied:

I wouldn't nofollow a copyright page. That's throwing away a LOT of PageRank (assuming all the pages on the site link to the copyright page). It's better to let the PageRank flow through the page and back out to the rest of the site.


And then tommr asked:

I nofollow the page because it does not have content of value.
Is that wrong? Maybe this is sub-topic should be re-stated


Wrong? Right? I think most people will say that is a matter of opinion.

The idea of using "rel='nofollow'" on your internal, incidental content was first proposed years ago but only became popular in 2007 with the outbreak of so-called PageRank Sculpting -- a failed SEO concept that was based on ignorance and hyped up beyond all belief.

You cannot track and measure the flow of PageRank through your site so you cannot really sculpt its flow through your site. At least, trying to squeeze the hose more tightly in a few places to force the flow in a direction you want doesn't work.

It worked so badly that Google changed the way it allocates PageRank for pages that contain nofollowed links either toward the end of 2007 or in early 2008 (according to Matt Cutts, who raised the issue at SMX Advanced 2009).

One of the chief reasons why people wanted to devalue the links pointing to their "About Us", "Contact Us", and "Copyright" pages -- supposedly -- was that these pages were outranking the root URLs for the Website or company names. By denying PageRank to those pages, it was believed, the problem would be fixed.

Instead, choking off the flow of PageRank to incidental pages was followed by choking off PageRank to other pages, and suddenly some pretty big sites were sculpting themselves out of Google's index -- so Matt explained.

The correct approach is to optimize the root URL so that it ranks above incidental pages for a company/Website name. That's not hard to do. But you also should be leveraging those incidental pages to feed their PageRank back to the rest of the site.

In my opinion, if you feel a page is so unimportant that you don't want to link to it, then it shouldn't be on your site.

In my experience (based on analysis of numerous site search query reports), people DO search for that kind of content -- "Terms of Use", "About us", "Contact Us", "Copyright", "Intellectual Property Rights", etc. are all content that many Websites provide which people find occasion to search for.

Some U.S. court jurisdictions have even stipulated that you MUST make this content easily findable and available to your users if you want them to hold the force of contract in a legal dispute. Whether a court would understand the implications of using "rel='nofollow'" on link attributes is another issue altogether -- they often don't get the technical details right. But to suggest to a court that you think these documents are unimportant MIGHT legally imply you don't want to enforce your rights or customer obligations under the law.

U.S. Courts take a really dim view of Websites that try to hide "gotchas" from consumers.

If you feel the content on the page isn't important, then you really don't need the page.

If you feel the content on the page creates a negative user experience, the fix the user experience by enhancing or restructuring the content.

If you feel the page is improperly outranking the root URL, then reoptimize your site so that the root URL is more relevant and the incidental page is less relevant to the primary keywords.

If you feel the page should not be appearing in sitelinks, then tell the search engine NOT to use that page in sitelinks.

I can understand and agree with using "rel='nofollow'" on user-generated content. I have never seen a credible argument for using it on your own content. That just makes no sense at all.

And now, according to Google, when you do use "rel='nofollow'" on internal links, the PageRank that would have flowed through those links to their destinations without the nofollow is instead distributed across the index -- "evaporated" as Matt put it. You're not squeezing the water hose and increasing the pressure on the flow of PageRank to the rest of your site. You're doing the exact opposite: you're cutting holes into the hose and letting the water trickle away, diminishing the flow of the pressure.

There is no way to truly hoard PageRank -- it doesn't stay on your site. It's an aspect of a dynamic state of the Web. But now, with this Google process in place, you CAN really leak PageRank -- something that just wasn't possible before.

So using "rel='nofollow'" link attributes ONLY leaks PageRank -- it doesn't sculpt, preserve, or enhance it in any way.

Edited by Michael_Martinez, 23 February 2011 - 01:51 PM.


#2 tommr

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 02:31 PM

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
I am going to loose the nofollow links.

And I just found this Matt Cutts video as well.
http://www.seroundta...ves/022462.html

I use robots txt file to keep google from crawling parts of my site.
Should I stop doing this?

I keep the cart from being crawled for fear that there may be duplicate content issues.

User-agent: *
Disallow: /store/
Disallow: /cgi-bin/
Disallow: /add-us.htm
Disallow: /email-confirm.htm
Disallow: /contest-confirm.htm
Disallow: /contact.htm
Disallow: /statement.htm
Disallow: /privacy-notice.htm
Disallow: /favor-giveaway-rules.htm

In your opinion should I just keep the cgi-bin private?

Edited by tommr, 23 February 2011 - 02:32 PM.


#3 jonbey

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 03:16 PM

what I still do not understand is stuff like this: http://www.dailymail...port/index.html

the sport menu is followed, but all other nav is nofollow. They do that for each section. I can understand the idea, i.e. fewer but more relevant links, but just seems silly.

#4 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 05:20 PM

I block my cgi-bin and discontinued directories from being crawled. However, I have seen JohnMu on more than one occasion advise people to use a robots "noindex,follow" page-level directive so that the search engines can crawl the content, see what needs to be indexed, and determine what is important according to the site's link structure.

#5 tommr

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 05:31 PM

this just in...
matt cutts on index, nofollow
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=ZjRGkc__FwQ

My head aches

#6 bwelford

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 12:42 PM

Michael, I just wanted to say how much I go along with what you have said here on NoFollow.

:applause:

NoFollow is of no use to any website owner in its own right. It is just a way of causing the authority (as determined by Google) of some of your web pages to evaporate without trace.

The only entity that benefits from NoFollow is Google. As is mentioned in another thread, they are trying to make a distinction between "paid" links and non-paid links. In most cases, this is impossible to determine. However Google is trying to create a world view shared by us all that there really are 'sheep and goats' here. They pretend that this is a precise concept and will take action with penalties, etc. based on that.

Any website owner has the choice, if they so wish, of trying to keep Google 'onside' by adding the NoFollow tag to links. If you do this on all links that are clearly paid links, then you should have no conflict with Google.

If on the other hand, you decide not to use NoFollow, then you may run a risk of being penalized by Google if they deem that you are involved with paid links.

Google is so big and successful that there is no arguing with this state of affairs. You must decide for yourself how you wish to behave in this somewhat artificial world.

#7 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 01:18 PM

It's not just the paid links that can be a problem, Barry. Allowing followable links in blog comments is an invitation to spam flooding. And don't forget that SEOmoz was told a few years ago that they might incur a penalty because of followable profile links that pointed to some naughty Web pages.

I agree that Google uses NoFollow as a stick but I'd rather use it to protect myself against penalties than not. That's my rational choice, not a decision made for me by a dependence upon Google. I have very few Websites that derive a majority of their traffic from Google.

I don't believe in being fully dependent upon any one source of traffic.

Edited by Michael_Martinez, 24 February 2011 - 01:18 PM.


#8 jonbey

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 02:45 PM

my approach, which I think is what Google expects, is to follow links I publish or edit, and nofollow the ones the community add or are paid.

There are so many people advertising online on such a large scale that if they did not use nofollow, lots of companies would be buying their way to the top of the SERPs. Isn't the search index about what the people want to see, not what marketing pros (and amateurs...) want to be shown?

#9 EGOL

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 03:56 PM

I agree with Michael.

Matt Cutts says that when you nofollow a page that the PR that would have flowed into that page evaporates.

So, it is best to let the PR flow in and some of it will exit through links on that page into other pages of your website.

#10 bwelford

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 02:10 AM

Allowing followable links in blog comments is an invitation to spam flooding. And don't forget that SEOmoz was told a few years ago that they might incur a penalty because of followable profile links that pointed to some naughty Web pages.

... and yet it's unfortunate if you are not able to give rightful recognition to commenters or profiles that add significant value to the content.

That's what I prefer to do. I have Akismet on my blogs that trashes a good proportion of the spam comments. I then am pretty ruthless in deleting other comments that give zero value to other readers. I rarely have an overload problem in trashing value-less comments that Akismet did not correctly identify.

#11 jonbey

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 04:35 AM

I still keep nofollow on for comments, but that is because of dilution. If a page gets popular it can get 500 or so comments, of 50 of those have a FB profile or website that they want to link to, then surely that dilutes the flow of pagerank to my own pages?

#12 bwelford

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 09:55 AM

I can't imagine anyone at all would read 500 comments on a blog post. I believe it's important to close comments if there are too many comments. Also be ruthless in trashing those of zero value to future readers.

#13 jonbey

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 11:21 AM

some people do, or at least say that they do. I have closed comments on one page, probably time to close on a couple of others, but people like to engage and it is good for business.

#14 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 11:34 AM

Barry, I would generally agree that 500 comments on a post is probably not adding value, but there are a few stressful times where the news media cover a story that generates that many (or more) comments in the space of a few days.

I doubt many blogs outside the news industry get that kind of commentary but on such occasions I would think the moderators will prefer to stay busy rather than close off comments.

#15 jonbey

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 01:41 PM

my content is generally timeless, and most comments are in the form of a question really, rather than a point of view. So keeping them open makes sense. Not had any negative feedback from "too many comments" and only improvements in visitor numbers.



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