NoFollow vs. DoFollow

by derek on December 13, 2007 · 33 comments

Back in May, I had installed the DoFollow plugin in an attempt to share a little of the link juice with all of the readers that take the time to comment on this blog.
Since starting this blog, I have always been more than happy to share link love and recognize the contributions of my readers. One example of my effort to share link goodness is my weekly Speedlinking series where I highlight five posts that caught my attention the previous week.
Another example of my effort to reward the readers that take the time to comment is the use of the Top Commentator plugin. The top five commentators receive a link in the sidebar and the top commentators at the end of the month are rewarded with additional links in the first Speedlinking post each month.
So where am I going with all of this?
I’ve created a few Google Alerts that notify me about links to this blog and over the last few weeks I have seen quite a few posts highlighting lists of DoFollow blogs. In accordance with these mentions, I have noticed an increase in the “browse-by” comments, likely from people simply looking to take advantage of the DoFollow link from this blog.
As I mentioned earlier, I am more than happy to share the link love with people that want to be a part of this community and provide value with their comments.
However, it rubs me the wrong way when someone stops by and posts one or two comments and never returns. When I see the comments that appear to be of the “browse-by” variety, I have typically approved them because they do seem to be relevant comments but I admit that I have been questioning that practice more recently.
If I were to remove the DoFollow plugin entirely, I would likely see less of the comments that are made purely for receiving a link back from this blog. Another option would be to use a plugin where I can set a threshold of comments before the NoFollow tag is removed, although that may only increase the number of “browse-by” comments per reader in order to get their link.
So what do you think…


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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Leo December 13, 2007 at 11:18 pm

I agree 😉


????? (Jason) December 14, 2007 at 12:55 am

Should you revert back? How about a “maybe”? There are quite a few sites out there that have no-follow on comments, but top commenters have a do-follow on the sidebar. Why not do the same?
This will reward consistent commenters, and perhaps give a little incentive to the people who post one or two comments per year.


James Mann December 14, 2007 at 4:45 am

I installed the DoFollow plugin as well and the top commenter’s plugin. I really like to be able to give back as well.
I like to see those that comment to return and comment again and again but then I have to look at how I comment on posts.
I use Bloglines to read rss feed on many blogs but I only comment on the post that teach me or grabs my attention, so I may end up only commenting on a blog once if they don’t post other post that get my attention.
There are blogs I comment on nearly daily because they have great content and then there are blogs that I only comment on a few times over a couple of months. So I don’t get to worked up if I don’t see a commenter again.


Scott December 14, 2007 at 7:37 am

You can handle the no follow a few ways:
1) Set a minimum post count to get no follow
2) Manually set no follow for those you want
3) Automatically set no follow on comments for top posters
I think it’s important to keep the no follow on the comment instead of just the top commentors sidebar. This puts the link of the poster in the context of the blog post, which has better relevance than being on the sidebar of every page. Better relevance is better for search engine placement which is what everyone is going for.


Home Recording Studio December 14, 2007 at 7:51 am

I had already commented on this earlier. Why penalize everyone for the sins of a few exploiters? It may be a bit of a bother but, please do be selective. Thank you.


ryan December 14, 2007 at 5:53 pm

Not everyone is interested in every article. I found your blog once upon a time and have commented on a couple occasions. However, I read it the majority of the time through an RSS reader. I applaud you on your PR 4, I also have a PR 4 site.
I wouldn’t keep dofollow. I want to keep my PR. I add nofollow to some of my links in my articles as well. I like giving back to my readers, but there are plenty of other sites linking back for free.


swollenpickles December 14, 2007 at 11:48 pm

Hi Derek.
Just in case you haven’t seen this plugin before, you might want to check out Lucia’s Linky Love. You can set the number of comments someone must leave before the nofollow attribute is removed.


Nick December 15, 2007 at 6:25 pm

I would suggest keeping the dofollow, but the number of comments thing before switching from nofollow to dofollow might be worth considering.


Rapdirt December 16, 2007 at 2:07 am

Frankly you should use it with caution. Check the commenters’ sites making sure their’ not pr0 or spam. It does promote conversation and adds more unique content to each page, but like I said, be wary of “bad neighborhood” issues allowing anyone to comment on results in.


Jake December 16, 2007 at 5:26 pm

I figure you got to do whatever it is you want to do. I will come and comment no matter what way.


Dallas Office Space December 16, 2007 at 8:21 pm

I’ve gone back and forth with the same issue also, however just like when I visit someone else site I do enjoy some link love 🙂


Furniture Stores December 16, 2007 at 9:03 pm

That’s a 100% votes for keep the do follow i see. What everyone said above makes sense though and maybe that is what you should try doing, a minimum number of comments threshold, to keep out the baddies.


Brown Baron December 17, 2007 at 7:33 am

Doesn’t matter to me buddy. I’ll still be here. It’s all about the content anyway and you’ve got great content.


Sock Yee December 17, 2007 at 8:18 am

I was thinking of changing my current blog to dofollow and was searching around until I came across your article. After reading it, I feel there are still many pros attached to having dofollow blog that outweighs the negative side. Of course we could expect spams to follow suit but I believe we could have easily overcome this problem.


Matt December 17, 2007 at 6:43 pm

I think putting no follow on someones comment is basically telling them it wasn’t worth anything. If someone replies in a comment like, yeah that’s interesting or something lame I can see replacing it, but otherwise I think everything on the net should be do follow.


Will Spencer December 18, 2007 at 1:44 am

The real answer is another question, “Which strategy will be better for YOU?”
Are the comments and traffic that you get worth the hassle of deleting the annoying spam?


Record Management December 18, 2007 at 1:29 pm

there will always be spam comments as well as senseless ones but i figure the more people commenting, regardless of the quality, the more traffic and better off yer blog can be.


Forrest December 18, 2007 at 4:27 pm

The best system I’ve heard was a plug-in that leaves any comment as nofollow for a week, then turns it into a ‘real’ link. The theory is that in this amount of time, the drive bys, spam, and other nasties will have been removed. Sorry … I don’t have the link, I read about this before I started my own blog.
How much effort would it take you to simply delete the URL from one-liner comments? If you think leaving followable links is an ethical responsibility of blogging ( which is debatable ), you can still do this with ‘real’ or valuable comments, and even leave “me too” comments but without the link. You can even do this from the comment moderation page in WP, although you seem to get a wee bit more comment traffic than I do, so I’m not sure whether that would be feasible in your case?


Damien December 18, 2007 at 8:21 pm

Derek: Could you explain, and/or describe how “DoFollow” enhances the commenters status? I have the plugin installed and I still don’t quite get it.


derek December 20, 2007 at 12:20 am

Damien, nofollow is an attribute that you can add to all of your links that is supposed to result in those links not receiving credit from the search engines for the outbound links.
The idea behind the attribute is to reduce the volume of spam comments on websites, as the spammer will not receive any link juice when the nofollow attribute is applied to their links.
WordPress automatically adds this tag to all user-generated links, meaning that the links for each comment do not receive any credit.
In an effort to share the link love and build a community, you can remove the nofollow attribute from your links and this means that the outbound links will receive credit from the search engines. The side effect is that your links may now be more attractive to spammers that are only interested in the credit of a link to their site.
Does that help at all?


derek December 20, 2007 at 12:10 am

I’d like to thank everyone for sharing their feedback regarding the use of DoFollow. It is great to hear what everyone has to say and I appreciate you taking the time to vote and/or share your thoughts.


Nicole Price December 20, 2007 at 3:18 am

Wow, 100% commenters voted “no”. Now thats hardly surprising.


Futon-Matt December 21, 2007 at 9:02 am

I don’t think no follow is necessary, it’s not like you’re selling links to commenter’s. Especially if they’re adding something valid to the discussion.
I’ll get off my soap box now 🙂


ADAC December 22, 2007 at 12:33 pm

One of the advantages to keeping the “DoFollow” on is you get a wider range of commentors. Yes, many of them (like me) found your site because it is a DoFollow site. But whether they keep coming back or not is determined by how interested they are in your content.
Being a dofollow site increases the number of people that know about your site. Having things like the “Subscribe to comments” plug in like you have reminds people to come back, which increases your readers.


Alex July 25, 2008 at 7:39 am

ADAC is rignt! even if a man comes to your blog only for a link, it doesn’t mean, he is not interested in your content at all. he might just do his job and come again being just interested. anyway the policy of giving links only after a fixed ammount of content will lead to the increasing of spam comments. people will come because of dofollows anyway and spam because of the number of must coments before enabling dofollow.


derek July 25, 2008 at 10:48 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Alex, you do bring up an interesting point. Installing the KeywordLuv plugin and requiring a certain number of comments before the nofollow is removed seems to have worked pretty well so far.


Alex July 28, 2008 at 12:54 am

well, the discussion seems preety interesting to me. so, i have come hare again) this is the best proof that it’s not about the number of comments. it’s about the content of the blog! derek, you have a very interesting one. so far you’ve done some experiments, please share the results with us. it would be rather interesting to know the statistics.
Alexs last blog post..Sweet Treats Make Your Phone Adorable


derek July 28, 2008 at 9:27 am

Was there a particular experiment that you were looking to see results? I’ve shared the details throughout various posts but please let me know if there is something specific that you were looking to see.


Alex July 29, 2008 at 2:22 am

Well, it was more about numbers. Maybe I am not attentive enough, but I can not see you mention any. Like, how many comments(approx) there were before installing DoFollows and how many after. Just to be able to count the % of interrest growth. But, do not bother if you do not have them. It’s just my interest and giving you a trouble would make me feel uneasy.)
Alexs last blog post..Sweet Treats Make Your Phone Adorable


derek July 29, 2008 at 8:24 am

I don’t have numbers like this handy.


HughHaley@Car Carrier September 14, 2011 at 6:38 am

I do visit a few websites because of my job but it does not mean to say that I am only leaving a message because of work to make a living but also because I am a reader and there are sites as well that I visit often especially if I know that the writer is interesting on how he gets to invite a lot of crowd to share their thoughts. I appreciate your generosity and I am very much grateful about it. I do find your discussions very relevant to my work as an SEO and I think if there are those people who just use your site and does not comeback well! that is their waste not yours…


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