Following my post yesterday, it seems that Threadwatch aren’t too impressed with the Business.com use of No-Follow, which appears to have been placed on directory listings, but not on paid ads.
No-follow is a can of worms. If it is used to its full SEO effect, then a site would nofollow every external link in order to hoard PageRank on internal pages. Perhaps leave a few .edu and .org external links for good measure. But would that do the web any good?
Clearly, that isn’t the intended use. The intended use was to help prevent drive-by blog spamming, but that didn’t work. Then no-follow got a new lease of life when it was “suggested” that all “paid” links have no-follow added.
The problem: define paid? Money changing hands? Favours? Trade? Nepotism? And how do any of those things make a link any less relevant to the end-user? If a webmaster puts a link on their site, then perhaps they do vouch for the target site, even if they’re getting paid? Employees of search engines do the same thing when they link to their own web properties – they’re getting paid to put that link there. Should those links be nofollow also?
Clear as FUD
I can see the search engines point of view. They’re in the business of vote counting, and don’t like to see the vote count rigged. Trouble is, nofollow doesn’t stop this, for the reasons cited above.
It would be nice to pretend that search engines didn’t exist, but these days, that’s impossible. Really, the search engines need to determine advertising the same way a human reader does – by context.