Every time Google plays the update game and hands out more penalties either algorithmically or manually I see more and more sites adding the nofollow tag to various links. Sometimes it’s in contend links. Other times it’s advertisements, affiliate links, etc. in a sidebar column. Even comment/CommentLuv related links.
I know of a number of websites that literally pushed everyone towards using dofollow comments or CommentLuv links for years. Then, one day out of the blue they switch to nofollow. Usually after their site suddenly lost search rankings, and ultimately a noticeable chunk of traffic disappeared. Some have even removed CommentLuv completely after being such strong supporters of it.
I don’t have a study or numbers to back it up, but I can’t help wondering if Google has pushed a lot of people towards using nofollow links more often. More people are probably at least thinking about it now.
To me it almost seems like Google is pushing the use of nofollow these days. They could be trying to educate people, and remind site owners to use it where applicable though.
One of the problems I see with the nofollow tag is that there are many site owners out there that have never heard of it. If they don’t know what it is, then they have obviously never intentionally added a link with it on their website. Are some of these folks losing rankings or being penalized? Possibly, and even worse probably without even knowing it.
The strange thing is that I see sites getting slapped (like a sudden pagerank drop) for having one dofollow affiliate link that they happened to miss, and others have dofollow affiliate links all over and they seem to do alright. It’s like certain sites in particular are singled out for some reason. I don’t know if someone might have reported them or why that is. I just see it from time to time. Although this could happen more often than I realize because it’s not like I visit the same sites every day and check the pagerank for fluctuations. If it does happen I don’t think you will find too many sites that are eager to point that out to their visitors.
Another thing I have been thinking about lately is I keep wondering if a site might have lost rankings and/or traffic because they had some decent dofollow links pointing to their site that either disappeared, or that are nofollow now. I mean if you have a very powerful dofollow link pointing to your homepage or an article and the site owner switches it to nofollow what kind of an impact will that have on your site. I suspect at some point depending on the number involved and the quality it will have some form of an impact.
All I can say is even if you are not that interested in SEO you really should read up on the basics in your spare time. Follow a few popular sites that report on SEO topics. Research and read up on the Google webmaster guidelines. If you ever want to rank well it’s best to abide by the rules. You’re not obligated to do so, but if you want your site to rank well at least in Google you will want to familiarize yourself with them.
In the meantime I will be waiting about 24 hours to see what Google decides to change to next.