A post over at the Bloggeries Forum about an SEO trick using nofollow links caught my attention the other day.
While the poster made some points I didn’t agree with (namely using nofollow when linking to certain authority sites), the basic principle is an excellent one. Web sites and blogs are treated the same as far as Google goes, but blogs have some characteristics that make them less reputable in Google’s eyes. One of those characteristics is the huge number of outgoing links on the typical blog post.
Not necessarily in the post itself, but between comments and sidebars, most blog posts have tons of outgoing links. WordPress by default will add nofollow to comment links, but does follow for everything else (although this may also depend on your theme). This has a few effects.
First is that the value of any one of those outgoing links is diluted. Second is that a page with too many outgoing links isn’t as reputable, and will most likely rank lower in Google results. This is primarily a concern if you’re targeting highly competitive keywords, and have already nailed the rest of the SEO factors you can control.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a plugin that provides an easy way of adding nofollow to all the outgoing links except for in-post links. Most of the plugins are either designed to remove nofollow from comments, or to add nofollow in specific cases (such as links to Wikipedia). The best list of plugins I’ve found is Andy Beard’s Ultimate List of DoFollow/NoFollow Plugins. Scroll down to the nofollow section for some interesting ones.
If you experiment with this technique and have any results to share, head over to the Bloggeries Forum post and let us know.
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