Google Sites Jumps the rel=nofollow Shark

Google has officially jumped the rel=nofollow shark.

Google Sites is live and every page on the site uses rel=nofollow.

I just created a sample site and linked to my blog only to be presented with the following HTML:

<a href=”http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Ffeedblog.org&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFrqEzc8SrF9mKSuhvVdhS_YMmZ-b6rbdw&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>http://feedblog.org</a&gt;

Is this the future of the web? Every URL is going to have rel=nofollow?

Google Sites isn’t alone. Google Finance uses rel=nofollow as does Google Code.

The rel=nofollow attribute is a cancer that’s destroying the link graph.

Every URL I create is going to be blocked from link based trust metrics like PageRank? That’s just dumb. I’d rather use another wiki system that doesn’t penalize my linking behavior.

I realize that your intention is to fight spam but you should pursue and algorithmic approach. Blacklisting the entire Internet is NOT the solution.

It’s clear by now that Google uses other metrics for page ranking (almost certainly including HTTP traffic monitoring by now) so this isn’t the end of the world.

Linking is the whole point of the Internet! Creating road blocks for EVERY LINK in the system is the antithesis of a free an open web!

Update: I’m not the only blog covering this topic. Techcrunch, Search Engine Land, and Business Week have more.

Update 2: Ross Mayfield agrees:

I’m glad Kevin is saying nofollow is not the web (outside of the blogs and comments it was designed for) and in this world view you can only give Google Juice and it doesn’t give back. Such a view and action only favors those in a dominant network position.

Update 3: Mashable covers this in their Mashable Conversations podcast


  1. Well said and I agree. In fact, I believe sweeping implementation of nofollow will have the exact opposite effect of what is intended. If people begin to perceive a lessened value in linking/commenting to and from blogs (or whatever properties have implemented mass nofollow strategy)–and we know that people in the SEO community are among the most active posters–they’re just going to look elsewhere for ways to build link juice. That’s how black hat SEO began in the first place. The overall quality of content on the web will suffer as legit channels disappear and new black hat channels distract everyone from contributing to the overarching mission. Come on Google…masters of the algorithm…there’s got to be a better way.

  2. Completely agreed. The established web properties and blogs are all using nofollow to protect their pagerank. To me, this is the best reason for smaller blogs to go nofollow free to combat the ‘establishment, man!’

  3. Look !
    You do exactly the same thing on this blog.

  4. relnofollow:

    Because WordPress doesn’t have an option to disable it!!!

    I’m moving to stand alone wordpress to fix this issue.

    Kevin

  5. Very eloquently said. I tried to say something similar here:

    http://seolutions.net/blog/nofollow-monstrosity/

    Good news is that in HTML 5 nofollow will be standard attribute, so most webmasters will probably learn about it, and start applying the same towards the big bad sites.

    R EVOL UTION !

  6. Me

    re: relnofollow

    This is a bit of a late reply, I don’t use nofollow, at least when it’s possible, except towards large sites that use it themselves AND on my blogs, unfortunately having a blog that doesn’t use the nofollow tag in the comments section is just begging for spam bots to come knocking. You end up with 100’s of replies like “good post” and a backlink. But in the blog posts themselves and all the rest of the sites, I wish they would use nofollow.

    But, I can see one reason why they might be doing it, the same reason why the richest in the world hoard their money, they don’t want competition. If they link out and provide a dofollow link then they will be helping those that might one day compete with them. Maybe that’s a reason, it’s crappy and hurts everyone, but it’s a reason none-the-less.

    So, choose who you point nofollow links to if you can, give dofollow to any sites that also share the love and nofollow to all those link scrooges out there.






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