Some Bloggers Are Just Silly (Google Linking Issues)

I’ve been reading a lot of posts lately about the issues related to Google’s smackdown on paid links. People don’t know who they shouldn’t be linking to and some blogs have gone as far as saying that they are going to place a nofollow on every link, just in case.

Guys this is just silly. To curb the paranoia, let me explain the only two reasons you would place a nofollow on a link:

  1. Someone paid you for the link.
  2. You can’t vouch for the link. In other words, if a user created the link, you can’t really vouch for it. In this case, you should nofollow it. If you make a link to a real site that you like, or provides some kind of value, there’s no reason to place a nofollow on it.

Placing a nofollow on a link that provides value could hurt you in the long run. I have people link to Court’s Internet Marketing School with a nofollow almost every day. I have a hacked browser that shows me when people do this. I’m not going to name names but I can tell you that if those people ever come back to ask for help promoting something, I’m not sure what I would do. You know who you are!

I have always been very liberal in linking out. On multiple occasions I’ve linked out to 40+ brand new sites at a time. This is fine as long as they are providing something of value.

Being stingy will come back to get you. Karma people. 😉

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  1. Court it is funny because as you say this is way beyond silly and goes toward ignorance. I actually read a post today that just made me think where do people get these ideas, the funny thing is with the authority they write about things.

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      It seems to me that a lot of people have a really hard time formulating opinions on stuff like this. Everyone wants to jump from one extreme to the other.

      Either extreme of this issue is making people look pretty silly right now. 🙂

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  2. Court,

    the problem is that people aren’t sure what to do. The reason they are not sure is because Google have been sending confusing messages – or no messages at all – and that is not helped by the amount of bloggers sending out messages of their own. Most of the time those are crazy rumors.

    Just recently I was asked by a fellow blogger if they needed to remove do follow from the comments section of their blog because they had heard that Google was going to drop people using do follow from the search engines. They sent me a link to an article written by a blogger which contained no actual proof, just rumors and speculation.

    Unfortunately Google have put themselves in this position because there is a lack of clear communication – and people are simply filling the void.

    Perhaps this is what happens when a bully enters the playground but doesn’t tell anyone exactly what will cause them to get bullied.

    It isn’t ignorance – if they are putting no follow on their links they have more than likely read a blog post somewhere that told them they had to do that in order to stay on Google’s good side. Which more than likely means the person who wrote that blog post has misinterpreted the “official” message from Google which was “put no follow on paid links”.

    I think this is happening because there is no clear message that people can understand.

    I don’t think you can blame the bloggers themselves for doing it – they have got bad information from somewhere.

    Who do you blame? I’m not sure, but I’d be looking towards Google for not communicating their message clearly.

    That is a major problem they have as a company – I am sure you’ve seen the recent blogstorm about comments on blogger?

    Cheers,
    Snoskred

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      Hey Snoskred!

      The honest truth is that people should go directly to the source. Google has actually been quite clear on all of this. The problem is that people would rather read speculation than go directly to the source.

      Google was 100% clear when they talked about paid links: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66736 .
      No one can say that it isn’t clear.

      They have also been clear about linking to spam sites: “avoid links to web spammers or “bad neighborhoods” on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.” You can find that here: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769&query=spam+links&topic=&type= .

      Now if because of a dofollow plugin you end up linking to spam sites, it would be bad. If you end up linking to good sites, it isn’t a problem. I turned my dofollow plugin off because I started getting so many comments it became impossible to police. In principal it’s ok though.

      The truth is that Google has released tons of stuff on this, and it really isn’t their fault if people don’t read it. I try to do the best I can to let people know, but also believe that if people don’t read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, it’s their own fault if they get in trouble.

      Here’s another area where Google has specifically released information about links:

      http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66356 .

  3. Its just common sense. I have no idea why people look at Google like they are trying hard to ruin them. Its really simple. Just be normal about it and use basic common sense a kid could even reason with and you will be fine.

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  4. Funny that you mention this. Frank from OpTempo coined a term that I really like: Googlenoia.

    Everyone’s so worried that Google’s going to come crashing down on their heads. They fail to realize that Google’s just trying to come down on spammy sites. They have to be a bit heavy-handed right now because people weren’t getting the hint before. Now people are concerned- as they should be to a certain extent – but they’re a little too, um, googlenoid at this point.:)

    Hi, Snoskred, I see that you’ve got your PR back. Good for you.

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      Googlenoia is a great term for this. They did have to crack down extra hard because people wouldn’t pay attention. Overall they have been pretty fair though. They still haven’t taken rankings away and as Vic and I have talked about this we both agreed that if we were Google we would have taken rankings away to kill paid links. Google really hasn’t done as much damage as they could have.

  5. Hi Lizzie –

    If so, that’s the first I’ve heard about it. Thanks for letting me know. I don’t even bother checking it anymore, I removed the Google toolbar. I didn’t put in a request for reconsideration, but I did find out what caused it and removed that post, so..

    Court – how do people know where to get to the source? I know that you and I know where to get to the source, but your average blogger who just started blogging would not have any idea.

    There needs to be one central fountain of official information from Google.

    The trouble is, there’s a shedload of “official” blogs. For example blogger has at least two different ones – the one you get to from within the dashboard, and a new one I only just found out about recently called blogger in draft. Information on those is not cross posted.

    That is part of what caused the major blogstorm – the info about the new openID system was on blogger in draft. There was nothing within the blogger dashboard that linked to it – and the silly part about it is Google has a captive audience there. They have a way to communicate with their bloggers, but they decided not to use it to let them know of a change which would affect their blog, and could mean people had trouble leaving comments. How insane is that?

    Nowhere within the blogger dashboard is there a link to google webmaster central or that blog. I personally knew nothing about google webmaster and/or the tools they offer until I read about it on a blog about blogging.

    I suppose Google thinks people can work out these things exist all on their own, but unless there is some kind of telepathy or group think going on, I don’t believe they can.

    I’m saying they could be communicating better, if they wanted to. The majority of people using blogger and quite a lot of webmasters would not even know that the webmaster guidelines exist – and nowhere within blogger does it tell them about it.

    Cheers!
    Snoskred

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      I agree 100% that Google could communicate better. Of course, I can also see Google’s perspective. If a webmaster wants to do well in Google, they should probably read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

      Google didn’t communicate directly before the slappage this time because they needed people to get mad. They needed all the buzz they got so that people wouldn’t sell links.

      This doesn’t mean that Google hadn’t already addressed the issue – everyone already knew that they shouldn’t sell links because Google had already come out against this. They chose a more aggressive communication channel because people weren’t listening.

      I personally knew that I was taking a risk when I sold links and it bit me. I can’t be that mad because I knew I shouldn’t be doing it.

      I agree Snoskred that a lot of the blame lies with make money bloggers that don’t care about people. They won’t come out and tell the truth because they make money if people use TLA and other services. I came out before anyone else and condemned paid links when all these supposed A-listers were still trying to say that people could get away with it. Most of these guys don’t care about people – unfortunately new bloggers don’t know who to trust.

      I hope that anyone who reads our conversation will go and read the Google Webmaster Guidelines (at least the 3 links I gave in my previous comment on this post) because they will probably learn quite a bit.

      1. This post and the detailed comments along with your responses have cleared a lot of doubts and misgivings in my mind. Thank you. This post and the comments pertaining to googles links are all worth saving for posterity and regular checking. I am doing so.

    2. Snoskred if I buy an electronic device I read the instructions and then use it. I can not get pisst when I use it and get an electrical shock because I did not follow such instructions.

      You bitch and whine and it is just crazy.

      Example Go to google dot com at the footer you will see an About Google link. Now let’s see if I wanted to know about Google where would I go mmmmm oh yeah Google and click on About Google. Now this link takes you to a page with options the first on the right is ohhhh For Site Owners and right below there is an option for Webmaster Central wow.

      No doubt Snoskred Google just makes it impossible for new bloggers to find the information they need.

  6. I agree with you, Court – it all is a bit ridiculous. People like starting rumors on how Google operates and you know how rumors spread!

    Personally, I removed dofollow from my comments section a short while back (but not for Google reasons), and the only time I link using nofollow is when I am linking to a site I don’t endorse, for example, WidgetBucks.

    Great post. 🙂

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      I had to do it too Tay. I couldn’t keep up with the approval process. It works until you get a certain level of comments and then you just can’t check all the sites out anymore!

  7. i agree with you Court! i have known google policy way back then. only one time read i already understand them. but most people are trying to find the negative side of it instead of the positive site of it.

    Google has a good reason not to clarify all thing. do blogger clarify to any comment when they feel it is a spam comment? maybe there is reader make a honest short comment but they found out it never pass the spam check. so why should google go all the trouble to clarify everything they do. we force other to do certain thing but we don’t force it on our self.

    IMO the more people know the more bad thing will happen. human always trying to break the rule to show how good they are. and they like to speculate things that never yet happen just to show how bad something is. some do good things in one part but at other issues just condemn others. IMO hatred in our soul is not going to do any good for us. are we haven’t have enough hatred in this world. why not make internet community a better place so the offline world could learn something from all of us.

    If we just don’t like google just don’t use them but why should we say bad thing about them. i haven’t heard google say bad things about other people maybe except to spammer and scammer.

    IMO people are misunderstood by a lot of things because they got to many version of explanation where most of them are not based on fact but speculation.

    So Court i think it is a good idea for you to make people understand especially to newbies. hope a lot of people will get your message.

  8. I’ve been documenting cases of Googlenoia on a series I’ve been running on OpTempo (thanks for the mention Lizzie). I can’t take credit for coining the term though. I’ve found references to it going back to around 2002-2003 when Google first really started applying penalties.

    As for Google’s transparency, I don’t think that they were as clear as they could have been about what they considered paid links when it came to things like TLA and PPP. People sort of assumed it meant things like paid directories or link farms until the crackdown hit.

    Google didn’t handle the situation well from a PR, that’s Public Relations, standpoint and it made them look evil, even if that wasn’t their intent. Now they need to do a little damage control by coming out and quelling some of the wild rumors that have been flying around.

    1. Frank thinking that Google needs to do damage control is a bit pretentious don’t you think? You are assuming that they are really worried about the 100 bloggers that are bitching and whining. The fact is the “Blogging Community” is a minuscule percentage of websites on the net. Yes there are millions of blogs but what real number of those actually rank for traffic? I was talking to a friend a few days ago looking at some over all search stats and we found that Joomla sites out rank 50 to 1 on Google based overall search rankings in other words Google would be more worried about the Joomla community than the Blogging Community. Of course the Joomla community are not the whining community Bloggers are.

      1. Like I’ve said all along, they’ve got to watch appearances now because of their size and degree of market control in search and online advertising. Good public relations is relatively cheap but it can pay huge dividends. I don’t want to see them make the same arrogant mistakes Microsoft did.

    2. LMAO Frank you see this?

      Googlenoia dot com

      Googlenoia

      noun: a psychosis characterized by delusions of persecution or grandeur at the hands of Google.

      Acute Googlenoia is a common condition in the SEO industry.

        1. LMAO I did the search for the same thing I am like mmm I can cash out on this domain lol ohh well maybe we can coin another term and cash out on the domain

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  10. Hi Court,

    I can partially understand why there is so much confusion going on about linking. I personally got rid of my do follow comments when I read an article by a fellow marketer and good friend of mine. (Grizzly) (I believe you know him)

    It made perfect sense to me what he was saying and to take the do follow Plugin off was my decision alone based on what I have learned over the last couple of month.

    I simply don’t want to risk loosing my PR after all the hard work I have put into my blog. Some say that is silly, I say it is how I feel and what I belief to be true.

    Whether it will be penalized or not it is still an open book, but I chose not to take my chances.

    Do I panic? No, I don’t, I simply made a business decision which I feel is right for me. So you can’t blame other bloggers for making theirs.

    I happen to value my PR and therefore I need to do everything I can to retain it.

    Others simply do the same. As for linking in blog posts, the only sites I place nofollow links are those who are heavy trafficked and affiliate programs. (I also learnt this lately)

    I had to learn the hard way as I’m also a victim of PPP reviews. I didn’t know about the existing rule prior to all going public and I have been cruising the net for 4 years now. It’s like knowing that the car tires you drive are dangerous for your car without anybody telling you.

    I never understood this dofollow and nofollow business until the carpet got pulled from under me . How do you expect those bloggers feel who just came online?

    We all fuel each others beliefs by what we say. Some say the sky is blue and others say it is pink. They are both correct even though it doesn’t seem this way first.

    Since I don’t work for Google and I don’t read their rules I learn by mistakes and listening to others whom I respect. You are one of those I respect, but it doesn’t mean that I do agree with your statement.

  11. Good points Courtney. However, I think there are a couple other times in which using the rel=”nofollow” attribute is valuable:

    1. restricting PR (authority) from flowing to useless links ie. affiliate links, bookmarketing links etc.

    2. To control your own internal link juice. For instance, I use Andy Beard’s “nofollow those dupes” plugin to nofollow all links on the homepage in order to drive the juice into my money pages. This does take from the temporary front-page link that people would be getting, but it puts more juice into the pages that really matter in the long run.

  12. It seems to me the whole blogosphere is governed by confusion, a bit like walking into a library without knowing how to read – so you ask someone what you need to do to write a book, which is why people who claim to know what they’re doing attract so many confused readers. Plus the rules keep changing every few months ! Quite a circus really.

  13. i can’t believe you actually did this:

    I have always been very liberal in linking out. On multiple occasions I’ve linked out to 40+ brand new sites at a time. This is fine as long as they are providing something of value.

  14. All this fuss over what Google thinks about how the Internet should work. Seriously, am I the only one who see something wrong here. They index the web content, and sell ads to their visitors… that’s it. They don’t own the Internet, it’s not theirs. They are coming to monopolize the greatest thing ever. SOmething that doesn’t and shouldn’t belong to anybody and that nobody should control.

  15. Court first of all thank you sooo sooo sooo much for all of your information! I have a site (which you can see by removing the @yahoo from my email address) and I am trying to figure out a way to get the girls to link to me. Is it ok for me to have a linking contest? Like, can I say “Place this link on your blog or whatever and whoever sends the most people will get a gift certificate?” As you can see my site is not about internet marketing so I don’t know if Google will get on me for that. Please let me know if you have any advice for me! Thanks so much again!

  16. Pingback: Have You Reclaimed Your PageRank Yet? | Pajama Professional

  17. I think link building is more powerful task for any seo experts link building
    are simply two types nofollow and follow links

    nofollow links are not provide link juice for your page
    follow links provide link juice for your web sites
    i think some dofollow social bookmarking sites can be useful to create dofollow
    backlinks you can see best free social bookmarking sites here

    http://www.socialcliff.com/sites/free-high-pr-dofollow-social-bookmarking-sites-list.php

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