GoogleBot Understands Comments
Blog comments have long been a link building tool for many SEOs (unfortunately). Before the nofollow tag, comment abuse ran rampant, and now with the nofollow tag in place, many people search high and low for blogs that have it removed.
I am personally against the nofollow tag. It’s one of the most absurd ideas to come out of the search engines in a long time. It has done nothing to stop the daily influx of automated comment spam it sought to stop.
That being said, I am also not one to remove the nofollow attribute from blog comments. All that accomplishes is attracting more attention from spammers. Next thing you know you’re on a few public yesfollow spam lists and probably hundreds of private ones. I can think of a few ways to turn a yesfollow blog into a good link building scheme that in the end, only benefits you. Luckily there are easier and safer ways to build link equity.
NoFollow Isn’t Needed. Google Understands Comments
So all of this leads me to a point. Google doesn’t actually need nofollow to weed out blog comments. They know good and well exactly what part of a blog post is content and what part is a comment.
Case in point. A few weeks ago I received a Google alert on my name. It was a blog alert and had 2 links in it.
Jeremy Luebke commenting on How SEOmoz Built One Million Links in …
By Jeremy Luebke
Congrats. That carpel tunnel syndrome you will soon have from blogging so much all seems worth it now
Comment on Top10 in Google by Jeremy Luebke
As someone who sells links I have been thinking this for a long time. I know of no commercial serp that isn’t littered with sites buying links. For most companies you either buy them or you don’t rank. If all those sites got nailed? …
Notice how Google links directly to the comment anchor tag and not just the page itself. Naylor runs an out of the box blog package, or so it seems (even though this link is dead now). But SEOmoz is running a custom blog program which I doubt Google went out of their way to profile. This means that Google is pretty smart when it comes to detecting what is a comment and what isn’t.
So then why did Google push for the nofollow? I don’t have the definitive answers but it does help support Michael Gray’s theories on Google wanting the nofollow for more than just comments before it was actually released because they obviously don’t need it to identify blog comment links.
With this evidence, I also have to wonder if people targeting yesfollow blogs are also wasting their breath. I would actually hope so, but even if that is the truth, it unfortunately won’t stop the spammers from doing what they do.