One of the most controversial subjects in the world of blogging recently has been the growth of the use of something called “nofollow“. However, there are ways to remove it from most parts of your blog.
The short story on nofollow is that it was created a couple of years ago by some of the folks at Google in an effort to prevent spam sites from getting legitimate value from a link left on another site. The primary example of this comes from comments left on blogs, a known target for spammers.
What makes nofollow so controversial is that, while it does prevent the spammers from reaping any benefit from their comment in the way of increased pagerank, it has the unintended consequence of not allowing other bloggers who leave legitimate comments on blogs the right of having the link made when they post the comment recognized by the search engine spiders as existing.
Therefore, a movement has come forth to stop the use of nofollow on blogs, through a variety of ways - most commonly for Bloger users is by removing the code from your template.
An important distinction should be made between the nofollow tag and other forms of instructions to robots. The nofollow tag only tells a robot to ignore the fact that the link exists - it can still go to the site, but the link will not count.
For almost all bloggers, it is relatively simple to remove nofollow from your blog. About the only system (that I know of) where you cannot remove nofollow from your blog at all is if you’re on wordpress.com. The reason is that you need to use a plugin to remove nofollow and if you’re on wordpress.com, you are not allowed to install plugins beyond what you are given by Wordpress itself.
On other platforms and sites, check below.
In Blogger, it is relatively simple to remove nofollow from most of your blog. It is important to note that when you do remove nofollow, it is not removed from all aspects of your blog. The areas where nofollow will still exist are blogger comment pages (the page where you actually leave a comment), and any links within comments.
There is no way that I know of to remove nofollow from those two areas (for the first, I don’t expect there ever to be a way devised since it is a page created and served by Google). If you do know how to remove nofollow from posted links in comments, leave me a comment
To remove nofollow, you will need to go into the Edit HTML screen of your blog’s dashboard, by going into Template -> Edit HTML
Then, the first thing that you need to do is save your template. It is unlikely that you will make a catastrophic error, but it is always advisable to back it up, just in case.
The next step you need to do is to click Expand Widget Templates.
After that, if you have Firefox 2.0+, this is really easy; other browsers, you will have to dig through the template to find it. I’ll give you a pointer to where they are located though (the two occurrences are not that far apart actually).
Search in your template for nofollow - the first appearance should be in the comments section, in a tag that starts <a expr:href=’data:comment.authorUrl; …. After that, you will find the first “rel=’nofollow’”. delete that, and then you can move on.
The next part of your template that will have nofollow is in the backlinks section. The text to look for this time is “<a expr:href=’data:backlink.url’…. As with the comment section, simply delete “rel=’nofollow’” from the tag.
Now, you can go ahead and save your template. Now, your commentators will be able to leave a link with their name and have it recognized by the spiders.
There are a number of plugins that are available which remove nofollow from your independently-hosted WordPress blog (again, if you’re on wordpress.com, you cannot remove nofollow since you cannot install plugins). I have only tried out one - Lucia’s Linky Love, and it is a very comprehensive plugin.
You are able to control how many comments a person has before their name has nofollow removed, how many comments they must make for links left in the comments to be made dofollow, and lots more. However, it is slightly more complex than the other solutions.
See below for some alternative plugins to remove nofollow from your blog.
I’ve never used TypePad (mostly because they require you to pay at least $4.95 per month for basic services), but there is a way to remove nofollow from your blog. You can read up on how to remove Nofollow in TypePad Comments, but if you’re not hooked up with at least a Pro ($14.95 per month) account, you won’t be able to do anything.
Again, I’ve not used MT, but it is a very common system to use for blogging. You can remove nofollow from your blog by reading about Disabling “nofollow” on Movable Type 3.3.
Making links Nofollow manually
There are some circumstances when you will want to set links as nofollow on their own. For example, when I was talking about paid comments on my blog, I linked to the sites in question, but made them nofollow. You will have your own sites and reasons for making them nofollow, but here is how to do it:
When you’re making a link, instead of just leaving the link code as this -
<a href=”linky”>link text</a>
add “rel=”nofollow”" after the “href” segment of the code, for example -
<a href=”linky” rel=”nofollow”>link text</a>
What can I expect after I remove nofollow?
For the most part, you will not notice any difference between your blog before taking nofollow off, and after. However, if you do make it known that you have removed nofollow, you do open yourself up to receiving spam from paid commentators.
A paid commentator will go around a list of blogs which have taken nofollow off and leave comments which are quite generic, but on-topic enough to not raise a lot of suspicision. In the name field, where you would leave your blog’s address, they leave the address of the blog (or website) they are advertising for.
Having said that, there are a lot of cool things that you can do with your blog after removing nofollow. If you’re a member of Bumpzee, you can join the No Nofollow | I Follow | DoFollow Community. You can also put up one of the neat badges that are available, in order to signify that you do follow links now. Most importantly, you can let your readers know that you’ve made the decision by posting about it.
As always, there are tons of great resources on this matter out there to read. These are only a few of the better ones.
- Ultimate List of DoFollow & Nofollow Plugins - Banish Nofollow From Comments and Trackbacks - this is a list of almost all the plugins that you can use to remove Nofollow from your blog, along with instructions for other platforms
- Removing Nofollow from Blogger Styled Layouts - the “original” when it comes to directions on removing nofollow from a Blogger blog.
- Official Google Blog: Preventing comment Spam - this was where nofollow was first announced. Google all say that it has had a positive reaction, but take a look at the links below the article…
- 11 Reasons against nofollow - nonofollow.net gives 11 great reasons why we should not be using nofollow.
- Spam, Spiders And Do Follow, Oh My! - in the companion post to this, Snoskred discusses the ramifications of nofollow on you, as a reader, and as a blogger who interacts with your readers.
What do you think? Is it right that some bloggers are stuck with nofollow and no way to change it? Should it be easier to remove the function from blogs by making it a simple option in a blog’s control panel?
If you’ve liked what you’ve read, feel free to stumble the post, or to make a note of it on your own blog.