How can nofollow links hurt your site’s ranking

The title to this blog post is definitely contradictory as no-follow links can’t hurt your SEO rankings mainly because Google doesn’t account nofollow links as factors for SEO. But recently Google is being looking at nofollow links to identify a few culprits trying to take advantage of leniency. Let me explain.

There are many SEO and search marketers out there commenting or participating in forums, leaving their website’s link with their comment. These comments with links also help them get direct traffic from comment readers. I agree that these marketers intentions are definitely not to build external links but to generate traffic from valid thoughts shared as comments. This also allows comment readers  find whether the comment writer is an expert in subject by looking at his/her website or blog from the link. One thing to understand here is Google definitely doesn’t count these links (as most of them are no-follow links) for SEO rankings.

But  recently Google started looking at these links to understand the commentators intentions and whether these comments are added for legitimate reasons. Some of the cases they look at are :

  • Do you post comments to all the blogs/forums in the world – which  clearly shows that these comments can be non-legit?
  • Does your comments are really being treated as spam or in other ways most blog owners mark you as spam as soon as you get them ?
  • Your comments generally doesn’t make sense or is not useful to anybody – generally like a spammy comment 🙂

The above steps can lead your website to a  manual penalty from Google. The above steps are clearly a sign for Google to identify that a website is trying to be a more creative here to generate direct traffic from spamming the internet. Matt Cutts from Google have recently agreed that Google has the technology to identify these websites and put them to the wrong list.

To be on the safer side, here are some recommendations :

  • Only comment or participate in comments with links if you are passing genuine thoughts. Adding the same comment to hundreds or thousands of comments can lead you to trouble.
  • If you have outsourced your SEO to a third party company and they are recommending this – Just be aware that they can hurt your future SEO health.
  • Definitely practice adding comments to generate direct traffic to your website – its a good way to create brand awareness or even self branding.

If you still have questions, please add your comment and I will reply with answers (Again ‘MIND’ when you comment…)


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