I’ve heard a bunch of people talking, when they are leaving some of the marketing shows I’ve been to, and saying things they learned like they should be adding no follow to all of their links. A few Bloggers have even actually told me they were told to do it and started to. Although adding no follow to certain links can be a good thing, changing your entire site, especially if it doesn’t have a ton of authority (higher than a PR5 or PR6), can actually cause damage to your site and it’s rankings in the search engines. Here are 5 reasons why using all no follow links can potentially hurt your site.
No follow was created to tell Google that the site you are linking to is not trustworthy and you cannot verify that the content will stay relevant.
1. You are saying nothing you link to is relevant
By saying nothing is relevant, you are telling Google that you are just randomly linking out to other sites. Not only does this show the search engines (SEs) that your quality is poor because the sites you are sourcing are not quality driven, but you can’t find anything of quality out there. Another issue with using no follow tags on all of your outbound links is a bad thing is that you are contradicting tons of other sites out there that say these high authority and some low authority but content relevant sites are not trustworthy and neither is their content. Who is right? Hundreds of other sites that link to it with do follow links or you who links to them with no follow? You are basically telling the search engines to penalize you because if your site only links to non relevant things because your links are no follow, why would your copy be relevant. As long as the link from the copy is relevant to the page you are linking to, I don’t see much of an issue and you shouldn’t be afraid to give a do follow link.
2. If you sell ad space and have a ton of no follow links
This shows that your site is mainly paid content and sponsored reviews which may cause the search engines to assume your pages aren’t able to answer questions or help people searching for a specific query. This may also mean that because nothing is relevant for people leaving your page, the content is paid for and not trustworthy. The actual page may not be trustworthy either and the search engines probably shouldn’t rank it because you don’t link to anything that can be trusted. You have now designed a site that is for your readers or just for advertisers and not an actual new visitor or one that the SEs should not in their results since you don’t provide quality resources, links and information. This could also stop people from buying ad space on your site as do follow links on sites with authority can increase the amount you can charge for ad space and is something that some people look for…even though that is against what Google would call a best practice.
3. No Follow on internal links
You are saying that your pages are not relevant and that they are not trustworthy. Do you really want to do this? If you built an internal linking structure on your site or blog and turn everything no follow, you are now telling the SEs that all of the pages you link to within your site are not trustworthy. Did the “SEO Guru” let you know about this risk? Why would you do this to your own site and when Google goes through and re-indexes all of your links, you could end up getting a huge Google Slap for saying your own content is irrelevant or not trustworthy. Some of the Bloggers who listened to the crap advice from those conferences actually changed their setting to turn everything no follow and actually no followed all of their own internal links to.
4. This can stop commenting and participation
Some of the reasons people comment and participate on your site is because of the backlinks they get. Look at some of the highest authority sites out there that use services like CommentLuv to allow people who comment to have a do follow backlink. These sites have a ton of shares, build readership and generate a ton of real comments. They also have loyal followers and have active participation with value adding comments because of the backlinks. If you are following Google’s algorithm updates and you know about Google’s Zebra update, you should really think about increasing sharing and comments or on site activity and having do follow links can be one way to do this.
5. You can drive away potentially good guest bloggers and content
We all get a ton of crappy pitches for guest blogging every day. Unfortunately, if you no follow everything you will also chase away really strong guest bloggers who would add value. The crappy ones will still come to you, but the quality ones will leave and go somewhere else. You don’t want to chase away good sources of free, quality content just because you would have to give a link or two. Some of these people tweet, share and pin their posts as well which should help you with Google’s Zebra Update if it is about social media and it will help to get your site even more exposure.
Making all of your links no follow is one of the dumbest things you can do. People are being told by “Gurus” that it will increase or save their PR (which they shouldn’t care about anyways), will get them banned from the SEs if they don’t add all no follow links to everything or they just heard other people are doing it so they should do it too. Making all of your links No Follow will hurt you, can hurt your PR and is bad for your site’s health. Do not do it, ignore the people that told you to do it and find a source of better advice. If after reading this and you ad no follow tags to your entire site, even just on all outbound links, don’t come looking for help for free when you get penalized in the SERPs. If you have an argument for turning all of your links to no follow or have an argument for not turning everything no follow, please feel free to leave a comment below.