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Google’s Matt Cutts on Nofollow: It’s OK to “Stick With What You’ve Got”




We tend to stay away from covering SEO advice, but Google’s recent change in recommendations for the use of “nofollow” have everyone buzzing…still!

So, when SEOmoz posted this brief video interview with Google’s Matt Cutts, we thought you’d like to see it:

SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday – Matt Cutts on NoFollow from Scott Willoughby on Vimeo.

Interestingly, Matt appears to be OK with simply leaving things “as is” on your site.

“It’s kind of your call. If you are happy with where you are ranking and don’t want to do a lot of work on your site, you can always just stick with what you’ve got,” said Matt.

I like the advice that Rand Fishkin offered up:

My personal advice right now is – if you’re just starting a new site or re-designing, choose your links intelligently so you don’t need to use nofollow. However, if you’re thinking about pulling all those nofollows off what you’ve already got, that could be a bit dangerous and you should monitor it carefully.

Ditto from me.

  • http://www.ninebyblue.com Vanessa Fox

    At a site review panel yesterday at SES, Matt recommended to at least 2 site owners that they remove nofollow from their footer links, etc.

    I can see what Matt is saying here — that using nofollow isn’t going to penalize you and if you are fine with how things are going, then don’t worry about it (which tends to be good advice with any modification of a site to match best practices — changing underscores to hyphens, using keywords in urls, etc.)

    But if you aren’t doing so great in search and are looking to make changes to improve things, then you might consider making those kinds of changes. In the case of using nofollow on internal links, it’s not benefiting you in any way, and you may want to go ahead and let, for instance, your “about us” page rank where it’s relevant.

    I think the bigger reason to do away with a internal nofollow policy is in terms of future maintenance. Similar to the advice I give people about meta keywords tags. If I see a site with a bunch of keywords in their meta keywords tags, it’s not going to hurt them, but if long term, they spend a lot of time maintaining that tag on every page, it could take time away from doing things that are more valuable.
    .-= Vanessa Fox´s last blog ..This Week: Events in Seattle and San Jose! =-.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    @Vanessa, thanks for your input. Here’s a question I’ve not seen answered. What if I have 2 links to the same external page. The first with crappy anchor text, the second with keyword-rich anchor text. Surely, I want to keep the nofollow on the link with crappy anchor text, right?

    Maybe, this post will bait Matt into commenting and he can answer my question. ;-)

  • http://www.ninebyblue.com Vanessa Fox

    Why not make the crappy anchor text less crappy?
    .-= Vanessa Fox´s last blog ..This Week: Events in Seattle and San Jose! =-.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    @Vanessa – cos I can’t fit “social media monitoring tools” in a space that will only accommodate “Trackur” ;-)

  • http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    Hm. I thought it was “Trakkur”. My mistake. :)

    Actually, while I agree with Vanessa in principle, I also agree with Rand and Matt’s position that if what you’re doing is acceptable, don’t change it. Rand’s argument is that he removed the nofollows and saw rankings drop. Nofollow doesn’t fix architectural problems, it only hides them.

    But you can implement alternative site architectures (through new content) that don’t have to conflict with existing site architectures. This is actually done quite successfully in a number of competitive verticals where sites with large inventories can classify their listings by region, manufacturer, or function.

    If I were someone who had invested heavily in nofollow on an existing site and I was fearful of losing traffic because the search engine recalibrates its crawling, then I would develop alternative architecture first and remove the nofollows later.

    But even adding a secondary navigation structure to a site does not fix the original problem. These sites that have become dependent on nofollow need to put their affairs in order and fix their crappy architectures.

  • Pingback: How to fix your nofollow screwup | SEO Theory - SEO Theory and Analysis Blog()

  • http://www.jaankanellis.com Jaan Kanellis

    uggh seriously? Add the nofollow Matt says, take away the the nofollow Matt says, truly crazy making if your a webmaster. Thankfully I never bought into the PR chunneling thing to much so no big deal to me.
    .-= Jaan Kanellis´s last blog ..“Google Caffeine” The Next Major Search / Algorithm Update From Mountain View =-.

  • http://www.vacation-rental-wonderland.com/ Craig Mullins

    If you don’t want Google to use the link or anchor text use coding Google can’t see… :)

    Generally the first link & anchor test highest in the code is the one Google places the highest ranking weight with…

    All the other links using the same link, but different anchor text get devalued…

    Could use css and div positioning to make the most important stuff appear at the top of the page…