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Do Follow Those Links!

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Written by Basil on 05/28/2005 2:16 AM. Filed under:

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Dofollow plugin for WordPress | Semiologic

Yes, I am a vain egotist. I was ego-googling tonight for “basil” and realized I was no longer even in the top forty pages! Even a search for “kevin basil” revealed problems: My main webserver —, which has only static information on it — was the first link, whereas my blog has always been the top site in the past. The blog was demoted two or three spots in PageRank. I was surprised and started pondering why this might be. The answer irritates me to the point of breathing fire.

Later in the evening, as I was tweaking various bits on the blog, I stumbled upon a plugins page that reminded me about rel="nofollow". The “nofollow” relationship is a new extension to HTML; Google uses it by ignoring links with rel="nofollow" in determining PageRank. The argument is that this will stop comment spam.

I rebut by saying that it also negatively affects Google PageRank on genuinely useful links. Thankfully, I’m not the only one to think so. Denis de Bernardy does, too. In “Prepare for more comment spam, not less,” he says:

Last but not least, the very reason that led search engine firms to introduce the rel=nofollow attribute will ultimately play against them and against internet as a whole. Indeed, the massive adoption of technologies such as pingbacks will ultimately lead to more links, and many will be relevant. As such, assuming no major breakthrough occurs in the next few years, the same search engine firms that pushed rel=nofollow will ultimately be choosing between ignoring entire chunks of relevant information, and letting comment-spammers farm links.

Unfortunately, the WordPress developers did a very strange thing. They implemented rel="nofollow" — that is, they automatically give all hyperlinks in comments rel="nofollow" — but they did not provide a way to opt-out. Outrageous! This initially aggravated me when I upgraded to 1.5, but other priorities prevailed upon me, and I forgot about it. I suppose I didn’t realize how badly that action would hurt my PageRank. Until tonight.

Thankfully, Mr. de Bernardy has put strength behind his opinion and hacked up a plugin to disable rel="nofollow" called “Dofollow”. The above link to the WordPress wiki also links to another plugin that does a similiar thing.

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2 Responses to “Do Follow Those Links!”

  1. Jon Says:

    I agree a link is a link. They should stop fooling themselves and consentrate on the content of the webpage instead. But will the dofollow make any sense unless it get’s supported by search engines or software that use links?

  2. Basil Says:

    Jon, the plugin simply prevents WordPress from inserting rel="nofollow" into links posted by commenters. Thus, Google treats them as it would any other link.