Google Video Selling PageRank

34 comments

Google Video uses nofollow UNLESS the video comes from an advertising partner. Web Professor has more on how Google is pumping up AOL's PageRank.

Where is the line between ads and content? Where is the line between editorial links and using nofollow? Why do Google's suggestions and actions differ so greatly? It almost appears as though they do not believe in nofollow.

Comments

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Since nofollow is supposed to be used on links you don't trust, and since they trust AOL and their content partners, wouldn't it make sense what they're doing?

Are the other links user-generated content which they may or may not trust?

Since nofollow is supposed

Since nofollow is supposed to be used on links you don't trust

and now apparently links that are paid links.

Shouldn't this be in bullocks?

Shouldn't this be in bollocks? 'Cause it's funny AND ironic.

Absolute power breeds absolute corruption...

Absolute power breeds absolute corruption as it has done with Google. On one hand we have Matt Cutts telling us to nofollow all links that are paid while Google itself deletes nofollow links to partners who pay them. What BS. Now you can say that Google trusts and vouches for AOL but who is Google to say that I can't vouch for people who pay me for partnerships?

huh?

I am trying to see this from Jill's point.. like 'they trust AOL' ... but if 400,000 people link to a video.. doesn't that say that video and the source of that video are trusted? You know the entire basis of Pagerank.

We Really Need an offical Statement on this one . . .

I smell evil.

Isn't this the exact OPPOSITE of how Matt and Google have instructed sites to act? Shouldn't they be nofollowing their sponsor links and following their regular ones?

Hypocrisy in the name of profit - does it get any more evil than that?

Help me out Matt, what am I missing here?

Its not just AOL though..

Its not just AOL though.. there are lots of nofollowed links to various content, some on the google domain some off. What all the nofollowed links have in common is that they lead to content for advertising and business partners.

Left hand, meet right hand

We probably pay much more attention to Matt than some people in other far flung departments of Google. The folks at Google Video are probably just as confused about nofollow as we are. :-)

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I am trying to see this from Jill's point.. like 'they trust AOL' ..

It's not really my point of view, I was just trying to get into their minds and think about how they might characterize it.

I didn't realize those AOL videos are paid for. Is that correct?

The AOL video distribution

The AOL video distribution was part of the deal to give Google 5% ownership in AOL, give Time Warner $1 billion, and keep Google AdWords ads running on AOL search. A paid partnership any way you slice it.

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Ok, but those videos aren't specifically ads then, correct?

true, but...

Neither are ANY of the text links I buy. Or links that may be associated with paid or unpaid editorial reviews. Or links associated with etc. etc. etc.

I would really be interested

I would really be interested in Matts response on this if it is "true".

I dug into this and posted

I dug into this and posted what I found out on Scott's original post, over here:
http://web-professor.net/wp/2007/01/26/google-video-selling-page-rank/#comment-12560

The short answer is that it wasn't deliberate. Someone had a nofollow in one branch of a code path but neglected to put it in the other branch. The changelist to add a nofollow in the other branch is checked in, and should be live within a week or so.

jehochman, I wanted to respond to your comment. I had a half-hour meeting with a Google Video person last week (before this situation happened), just to see what they wanted to do with nofollow. It turns out that they understand the semantics very well, and the nofollow's on some of their internal links are deliberate power-user choices on their part. For example, imagine if you had a site with articles in both printer-friendly and web-friendly format. If you wanted to sculpt where Googlebot was going to prevent Googlebot from crawling the printer-friendly pages, you might use nofollow on internal links then. So I went into the meeting wanting to indicate "Hey, a few people are curious about the nofollow's on internal links; is that what you intended?" and I walked out of the meeting very comfortable that the Video folks understood the nofollow semantics and were using it exactly how they wanted to.

Stop Being Reasonable

Matt can you please stop being so reasonable? It makes it really hard to wear my tin foil hat and garlic necklace.

comforting?

I walked out of the meeting very comfortable that the Video folks understood the nofollow semantics and were using it exactly how they wanted to. ... Someone had a nofollow in one branch of a code path but neglected to put it in the other branch.

Oopsie

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. If you wanted to sculpt where Googlebot was going to prevent Googlebot from crawling the printer-friendly pages, you might use nofollow on internal links then

See? people watch everything you say and take it out of context :). I stand to be corrected, but does nofollow really prevent Google from crawling a page? Not that I ever tested it nor am I aware of an actual statement by the SE's about exactly WHAT nofollow does - but everything I've read indicates that all it does is prevent any linkjuice from passing through the link.

And one might ask why you wouldn't just use robots.txt to accomplish this.

wheel, if a page would have

wheel, if a page would have been found anyway via other links, it doesn't prevent crawling of that page. But I believe that if the only link to a page is a nofollow link, Google won't follow that link to the destination page.

JeremyL, I'm just glad that Scott mentioned it. In my personal belief system, we'd give out T-shirts to folks that help us identify bugs/problems. I don't always get to follow-up as much as I'd like to thank people for feedback, but having Adam around definitely helps. :) Even with the negative post that Graywolf did last week, I pulled out 2-3 constructive bits. ("That's right, I meant to take another look at that Google SEO page. I should check on Craigslist title matching. And I need to see what's up with site: and identical titles.") So even negative feedback can point us in the right direction, as hokey as that may sound.

Thanks for the clarification

Thanks for the clarification matt. I don't believe that's been explicitly stated before.

..

Matt said;
>>>"In my personal belief system, we'd give out T-shirts to folks that help us identify bugs/problems."

?Most web folk will help out another site by letting the webmaster know when they spot problems, its really not a big deal, at least, I don't think so.

Some folks just like to give the big guy on the block (in this case google) a bad time and find every little thing they can to bitch about... Where do they find the time?

Of course, I would never do that...

Anyway, when can I expect my T-shirt?
(just joking Matt - But honestly if google can cough up cash for foot and back massages for you googlits, a few T-shirts for folks that helped you all out should be no big deal either...)
;-)

So even negative feedback

Quote:
So even negative feedback can point us in the right direction, as hokey as that may sound.

Well that doesn't sound one bit hokey to me, Matt. Sounds like the first stage in being a good business partner (the second stage being of course to eliminate the cause of negative feedback).

For example, imagine if you

Quote:
For example, imagine if you had a site with articles in both printer-friendly and web-friendly format. If you wanted to sculpt where Googlebot was going to prevent Googlebot from crawling the printer-friendly pages, you might use nofollow on internal links then.

You would? Isn't that what other tags are for?

Matt, when did the nofollow attribute on links stop Google from crawling those links?

Matt thank you for your

Matt thank you for your response. I responded more fully on my blog but in short, I think the nofollow tag has become a red herring. The real issue is Google wants more access to our business intentions than many of us feel is proper.

good business...

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So even negative feedback can point us in the right direction, as hokey as that may sound.

Well *of course* it does!
The first rule of business is that when the customer complains you do something about it, you don't just say they are wrong.
I'm a little scared that you can even phrase the above sentence :(

Quote:
For example, imagine if you had a site with articles in both printer-friendly and web-friendly format. If you wanted to sculpt where Googlebot was going to prevent Googlebot from crawling the printer-friendly pages, you might use nofollow on internal links then.

I'm going to assume you just got turned around with this one, Matt - its easy enough to do :)
If you want to keep a bot out of a page, you put a noindex meta on the page.
I am 99% sure that you yourself have said that applying a rel="nofollow" attribute to an anchor tag means that the engines will not apply any weight to the link, not that the link won't be followed.

webprofessor, I don't think

webprofessor, I don't think nofollow is hidden, in that anyone who wants to check a link can view the page source, and if you want to, it's easy to make those links stand out in the browser--looks like you and I both do that. One thing that I'm not sure that I say enough is that Google also works on ways to detect blog spam and guestbook links and similar stuff algorithmically too.

Note to self: never ever become business partners with John Andrews. :)

Jill, the meta-tag level nofollow works at a page level. You can do other ways to prevent Googlebot from crawling a specific link (e.g. link through a redirect blocked by robots.txt), but nofollow is one of the easiest ways to control crawling at a link granularity level.

leadegroot, Graywolf's post was pretty durn negative. :) I completely agree that you could also use a noindex meta tag.

nocrawl?

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nofollow is one of the easiest ways to control crawling at a link granularity level.

... so you're now saying that nofollow attributes are used to stop the bot crawling the link, not just to not assign weight to the link? (I hate double negatives)
This... seems like a turn about to me.
The standard speil has been 'nofollow is misnamed - it doesn't stop the bot crawling, the link is actually followed, but no weight is gained through the link'
Has this now changed? Or were we always wrong in our understanding of how Google uses nofollow? :(

It hasn't changed

No, the action of nofollow hasn't changed. What you're seeing is a case of Matt 'the Magician' Copperfield employing a classic case of misdirection. 'Look over here everybody. We're using nofollow to stop the crawler from crawling.'

If you're following that line of logic, I suggest you give your head a shake, re-read the original post to get yourself focused on what really happened. Then laugh as you realized the thread's been led down a side path of 'nofollow is used to stop the crawler'. Are you actually buying that the folks at Google use nofollow to stop the crawler.

That's a negative Ghost rider, the pattern is full

I appreciate your viewpoint that its not hidden, but to a regular user it may as well not exist. Nofollow is a special action thats only for search engines not for users.

In effect by using nofollow I am saying that google is a special user thats more important that my other users. That is true on some levels, but when ever I grant special access I always ask myself what am I going to get out of this. I don't see much positive for me by adopting nofollow.

All you have given us with nofollow is a laibility. If we don't use no follow we could be prosecuted in the high court of google and have our magical pr passing powers stripped from us. What about not using nofollow at all ? How do I know that when I link anywhere its not going to be seen in a bad light ?

In this case Matt how would you have known had you not been able to walk down the hall and say "Hey guys wtf"? What about me as a regular webmaster, I don't have that luxury and even if I did I doubt you would believe me.

I mean really Matt, if I said to you, "oops.. I didn't mean to only nofollow links to people who weren't paying me money or I had a business interest in. It was a mistake honest" what would you do ? I know... likely post a funny vignette about how some spammer you caught once sent you an email with an obviously false statement.

Matt nofollow is a flawed idea. It harms the relationships we have with the engines and harms the behaviour of the users on internet.

When Google came up with the

When Google came up with the idea, and yet misuses nofollow internally again and again, you know the thing is a joke.

eh?

>leadegroot, Graywolf's post was pretty durn negative.

I'd say wanting everyone to be treated the same and not establish a caste system of who's allowed to do paid reviews and who isn't is a good thing. I think having a nice set of clearly established non contradictory rules is a good thing, unless of course you're trying to get a royal fizbin

wow...

Matt said:

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but nofollow is one of the easiest ways to control crawling at a link granularity level.

It is? So nofollow links won't get crawled? Really? Wow. Learn something new every day.

Will have to test this.

So Wait

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Jill, the meta-tag level nofollow works at a page level. You can do other ways to prevent Googlebot from crawling a specific link (e.g. link through a redirect blocked by robots.txt), but nofollow is one of the easiest ways to control crawling at a link granularity level.

Wouldn't robots.txt be better? That is pretty granular ;)

So where is the use of nofollow documented? Seriously, where? As a coder, I got real issues with using any code that has uncertain outputs. Imagine a function like this:

???? get_stuff( string notrequired );

Who would use that? In many ways, nofollow is worse, given it isn't a ratified, standaradised piece of code, and will work however each SE engineer decides. Seems to be rather a lot of reasons NOT to use it, especially in this case when other tools do the job far more effectively.

ouch.

Ouch.

I just re-read this thread. Wow. If this were on that other WebmasterSite it would probably get deleted.

Note to Self: Never forget Matt is not a web master. Matt is a voice for Google. Matt has a job to do. No matter how ugly it gets, Matt has to find ....(ugh!) .... a way ...... (argh!!) ..... through!

Note to Matt: I feel that we've been partners for years ;-)

Of course it would John, it

Of course it would John, it contains a link to an original source.

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