Welcome back to Blogging 101! We’ve covered a lot of information in the last few weeks, right? And we’ve all learned lots! So today we’re going to cover a kind of tricky subject – when to no follow your links. Confused already? Don’t worry! We’re going to take baby steps like always and get you to where you need to go. So dive in and let’s see what we can find out today!
So first we need to determine what a DoFollow link is? Well, this is just about any link that you insert into your blog post. All links are coded as DoFollow unless you specifically tell them otherwise (we’ll get into that more in a little bit). So when you insert a link into your post, you’re automatically making it a DoFollow link. Now, this is not always bad. DoFollow links are fine when used in an “organic” fashion. What does that mean? Well, if I’m writing about a great tutorial that I saw over at such and such a blog and want to link to it, DoFollow is fine. However, I need to understand what I am sharing when I use a DoFollow link. Huh? Yes, you heard me right. If I use DoFollow, I am sharing with you. What am I sharing you ask? I’m sharing my Page Rank juice with you! Because each link that I post that is DoFollow gives the site I am linking to a little bit of my Page Rank juice! How does it do that you ask. The DoFollow link tells search engines to follow your link to the other site and to give them some juice while they are at it. So the site you linked to will end up boosting their page rank using yours!
Confused? I was too at first. Think of it this way. A great new product comes onto the market but nobody knows about it yet. So the company decides to use the awesome blogging community to spread the word. This is great! We love to help right! Well, since they are pretty much unknown, they don’t rank very high when their type of item is searched for. Say they are a soap company. And when you search for “soap” they show up on page 7 of your search. So, they send out samples of their products to bloggers and ask you to post your opinion. IF YOU USE DOFOLLOW LINKS, your Page Rank juice will be shared with them. So the next time you search for “soap” they may show up on page 2 or even page 1 because of the sharing of blogger’s page rank juice!
Now, I’m a generous person most of the time, but there are times when I don’t want to share my juice! What times are those? I’m so glad you asked. Let’s discuss them!
When a Link is Paid
It’s a big NO NO to share your juice for money! I like to think of it this way. If I’ve got a super yummy slushie and one of my friends comes up and asks for a sip, I’m most likely going to give it them. However, if someone I do not know comes up and offers me a dollar for a sip, I’m probably not going to! After all, you don’t know where those lips have been! Same goes with your links! If someone offers to pay you to DoFollow a link back to their site, run the other direction. Now, why you ask? After all, as a blogger you are running a business and you want to make money right? WRONG! It is against Google’s Terms of Service to post DoFollow links for money. And Google doesn’t mess around. BUYING AND SELLING PAGE RANK IS BAD WITH A CAPITAL B! If they catch you doing this do you know what they will do? They will take your juice away! As in that hard earned Page Rank that you have been working on for months or ever years! Gone! Vamos! See ya later! And that my friends, is a very very sad day for your blog!
When you Have Received a Free Product
Yes, products are kind of like payment. Really? YES! So if you received a product to facilitate a review, that can be deemed payment for a link if you use DoFollow. Yikes! I did not know this when I started my blog and could not for the life of me figure out why I was stuck on a PR of 0. Then a very wise blogger shared with me that these were still considered purchased links and the light bulb went off in my head! So be careful!
So What Do You Do?
So, how do you keep Google happy, your PR high and avoid sharing your juice? You NoFollow your links! Again, I’m not telling you to go through and NoFollow every link on your blog. But make sure that you NoFollow all paid and sponsored links! This is essential to your blog. And here’s how you do it! The HTML for a regular link looks sometime like this:
<a href="http://SUCHANDSUCHCOMPANY.com">SUCH AND SUCH COMPANY</a>
In order to NoFollow the link, you must alter the HTML Coding so that it tells Google not to follow the link from your blog and not to share your Page Rank Juice. You do this by adding the following tag:
So where to you add it? I always find the correct placement by adding the tag right before the >ANCHOR TEXT</a>. Now your anchor text is going to be whatever the link showing up in your post is. And you have to really pay attention to make sure you get that anchor text in the right place! So now your link is going to look like this:
<a href="http://SUCHANDSUCHCOMPANY.com" rel="nofollow">SUCH AND SUCH COMPANY</a>
So why go through all this trouble? After all, how is Google really going to know? Well, they may and they may not. But as a blogger, you want to protect what you have worked hard for and one of the hardest earned statistic on your blog is your Page Rank. Do you really want to risk it?
Yes, you will miss out on paid opportunities because of this. Some companies will try to tell you that they pay for DoFollow links all the time and have never had a problem. Some will refuse to work with you if you do not use DoFollow. When you are tempted to take the opportunities, keep in mind that Google even penalized their own browser for taking part in the use of DoFollow links. And if you do lose your Page Rank, your paid and sponsored post opportunities may disappear. So do you want to miss one opportunity or lots? The choice is yours!
So the next time a company approaches you asking for a DoFollow link, think it through. And then confidently say:
NO DoFollow FOR YOU!
Have a question you’re like to see addressed? Want to see a certain subject covered in Blogging 101? Email your suggestions to email@example.com!