Google: Nofollow Makes The Web's Link Structure Natural

35 comments

In a recent interview, Google's Adam Lasnik stated:

We realize we cannot turn the web back to when it was completely noncommercial and we don't want to do that. Because, obviously as Google, we firmly believe that commerce has an important role on the Internet. But, we want to bring a bit of authenticity back to the linking structure of the web. And, Nofollow is one way in which that can be properly accomplished.

Comments

I can't help it..

BULLSHIT !

there I said it .. Moving on

DaveN

Why not...

Nofollow the whole goddamn Internet then?

Please admit the idea was stupid and work out something within the algorithm.

>> we want to bring a bit of

>>> we want to bring a bit of authenticity back to the linking structure of the web

... and there's the problem. The WWW IS authentic. Google have just forgotten that. Ironic as it may seem, search engineers (as a class) are rubbish at search :)

How delusional can one Googler get?

Hell we've got a half-baked web designer here in town who insists on putting no follow links on all internal links within every site he builds because he's sure that's what Google wants.

Is that natural link structure?

Maybe it is if you're looking at it from the ivory towers of Googleland.

i thought the web was

i thought the web was commercialized before google even existed. before the search engines were the dominate force they are today, it was hard to get traffic (and harder to find what you were looking for) so directories and link exchanges were very common. link exchanges were a key way to find information since the search engine algos were still being developed. lets not forget that many people were buying banner ads and paying for directory submissions back then.

isnt that what is considered paid links today?

it's plain and simple

Google don't want you to buy links unless it from them, and with their market share they can bully webmasters into playing the Google fiddle or live life without search traffic.

DaveN

Google Kool Aid

Man what are they serving over at the plex, cause they have lost their marbles for sure

I'm confused...

Dave,

Is this one of those times you should say "fuck me sideways" or not?

I'd really like to learn how to use that phrase properly.

It's not so stupid after all

I mean, any link with nofollow on it is probably worth following. That must be part of the master plan.

@ TallTroll

the WWW IS authentic. Google have just forgotten that.

amen. and to goodroi's point, methods of commerce including link exchanges, paid links, etc were developed from the ground up by webmasters long before google was a twinkle in larry and sergey's eye.

that these methods of monetizing one's website and finding other sites were developed without being dictated from on high by some gigantic corporation that had a controlling market position is *the definition* of authenitic, natural, organic. google's got some balls to claim that the FUD and intimidation they're using right now are "bringing back authenticity".

Perhaps Google can create a

Perhaps Google can create a formal mafia department to bring more authenticity to the web.

A more natural web

Where all roads lead to wiki, all traffic is through adwords, everyone asks google if they can link somewhere first, pagerank is to be ignored unless you have supplemental results then it is to be sought (naturally), ...blech.

More natural linking? You pick; That ship has sailed, the boat has left the harbor, been there done that got a t-shirt, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, and/or Google et al has finally officially Jumped the Shark.

Slap me silly with a wet and

Slap me silly with a wet and slippery fish whilst fucking me sideways with a ramrod!

Adam, (if those are indeed your thoughts and not someone elses) with the greatest of respect mate, you've only comfirmed my worst thoughts. You really are a prat!

regoddamndicuolus!

ugh.

with that mentality we should just get google off the web. if it wasn't for google paid links wouldn't be needed and nofollow wouldn't exist.

Hehe, poor Adam. "we firmly

Hehe, poor Adam.

"we firmly believe that commerce has an important role on the Internet."

We talking about Adwords here?

All commercial serps are commercial in nature, therefore companies will spend the most money to get there in one way or another. Like they are going to go and buy no follow links....doh!

I recently watched a video

I recently watched a video interview with Matt Cutts and naturally the topic soon turned to paid links. Mr. Cutts, speaking on behalf of Google presumably, made the comment, "if you want to buy links just for traffic, totally fine just don’t do it so they affect search engines".

This concept is completely flawed. This self serving philosophy is also at the very core of the problem. When the machine attempts to modify the behavior of people to satisfy it’s own ends, the machine is broken. What people do should not be seen as affecting the search engine. What people do should be the very reason for the engine to exist in the first place. If the search engine is being affected by the actions of people, is any logical person going to honestly assume that it is the people that are broken? That is exactly what is happening here.

>Excerpt taken from the Internet Marketers Manifesto<

Perhaps Google can create a

Perhaps Google can create a formal mafia department to bring more authenticity to the web.

That gives me a mental image Aaron...

LARRY: "You've got a nice website here, colonel, lots of links eh?" adding (as he knocks something off the mantelpiece), "I wouldn't want anything to happen to it."

SERGEY: "Yes, it would be a shame if someone set fire to it."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRm5WcjOikQ&NR=1

WTH is the "authenticity of linking structure"?

I guess only Google knows the definition of 'authentic linking structure', cuz no where can I find.......I guess Google hasn't decide on what's authentic linking structure yet.

And how the hell does "nofollow" bring back authentic linking structure? Care to give us an example?

*This is just reinforcing their own creation of the "rel=nofollow," which is of course a misnomer.

A link sure, would you like

A link sure, would you like a no follow with that sir?

Yes, please mark my site as a bad neighbourhood and say that you don't trust me and can't vouch for me!

ignore 'em

The more they screw with it the more it breaks. There's too many moving parts and too many variables and every update has created a worse product. If Google enlists Webmaster Assassins the SERPS will lose their credibility...and then Elvis will truly leave the building.

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"we want to bring a bit of authenticity back to the linking structure of the web"

Does he mean, like, before Google came along and made links that much more valuable?
Perhaps that green bar has something to do with it....

If the search engines didn't exist, the web would return to "normal"?

Isn't no-follow the definitive marker of someone who certainly *does not* operate as if the search engines weren't there? Therefore, someone worth investigating further?

Its easy to restore the

Its easy to restore the natural state of the web.

no-index documents with THAT --> http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js

Very common problem in experimental science.

The observer (in this case Google), who is trying to study to subject (in this case the structure of the web) in order to create a model, affects the behaviour of the subject.

However in most experiments the observer just trys to take allowance for this modified behaviour; on the other hand in the case of nofollow its like the observer is taking a baseball bat to the subject in order to try and get it to revert to its former behaviour.

Good observation, Kali

Especially if the observer would note that the current behavior is reminiscent of the earlier behavior, if cranked up to a higher degree.

Just the threat

of a bat that may or may not exist is enough to alter the outcome.

Link it all and see what happens when Google has to figure it out on their own.

>Link it all and see what

>>Link it all and see what happens when Google has to figure it out on their own.

I agree with Kirby, just link to it all, early and often: free links, text ads, whatever. If everybody did that it would be a great 'character building' exercise for Google.

Is it safe to say that nearly everyone here is sick of Google trying to tell us how we should link from our own sites?

If only...

If only Google were as 'anal' about some of the rubbish they allow for adsense publishers, aka parked websites, sites built purely for adsense etc. If they took a lot of these out the mix, wouldnt it be bring back a bit more 'Authenticity'?

When did Google become The

When did Google become The WWW? I am pretty sure this is not what Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau had in mind when they handed over their intellectual rights!

kill that green bar

and link trading will suddenly be seriously disoriented.

but without the green PR bar, very few Google Toolbars would be downloaded, it would be a lot tougher to track web site useage.

Google will be whacking all us commercial webmasters with site stickiness soon.

Watch this:

  1. Search result "blue widgets".
  2. Search registered via the Google Toolbar
  3. Clikthru to widgetcove.com
  4. Behavior on widgetcove.com tracked with the toolbar.
  5. Four page views plus = bonus points, click away = minus points.
  6. Amalgamate scores over the course of week.
  7. Adjust rankings.

Most of the problems solved organically, over the course of time and without excessive human intervention.

I don't know why Google is wasting so much now on the firefight with paid links. But in the end it's a diversion from upcoming user experience quality scores.

I hope your sites are filled to the brim with engaging, delightful and sticky content. If not you'd better hire Jill Whalen and her happy teams of cheerful copywriters. Just kidding. Breezy articles won't be nearly enough.

Think useful mini applications.

SEOBook is miles ahead of most in this regard (although damnit Aaron, half your tools are broken these days - I don't care if they are free, you've already been paid in incoming links and we want our toys).

Quote: I hope your sites are

Quote:
I hope your sites are filled to the brim with engaging, delightful and sticky content. If not you'd better hire Jill Whalen and her happy teams of cheerful copywriters. Just kidding. Breezy articles won't be nearly enough.

I don't have any copywriters who write articles, sorry! My team simply fixes websites.

I hope your sites are filled

I hope your sites are filled to the brim with engaging, delightful and sticky content. If not you'd better hire Jill Whalen and her happy teams of cheerful copywriters. Just kidding. Breezy articles won't be nearly enough.

Well to be fair - it can be enough. Look at someone like CopyBlogger. However as we both know, most small businesses don't have the budget or interest in their niche.

You're spot on though with giving applications away, this is a technique we use regularly. On the bonus side, being in Russia means we can also knock up desktop or mobile applications at workable rates.

None of this is going to stop the inevitable though - Mom+Pop's D.I.Y. business is doomed to oblivion in the SERP's. They will never be able to keep up with the Jones' - who have more money and time than them. I always smile when I see people talking about 'leveling the playing field for the little guy' - it's nonsense and certainly not the intention of Google with this move. As the net becomes more commercial, the SERPs natural state is to be uneven for them.

This fight against paid links won't stop any of this. If anything it will actually work against them IMO. The R.O.I. of paid links is very good and the technique affordable for them, far cheaper than other methods out there.

not sure Jill

On the front page of HighRankings.com you offer the following optimisation services:

  • SEO phone consultations,
  • detailed site reports,
  • directory submissions,
  • SEO copywriting,
  • Full Services including SEO copywriting, copyediting, Title tagging, Meta tagging and optimization all of your HTML code, along with directory submissions as necessary.

Your principal published work is The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines.

I don't think I've ever got more emails from anyone on the subject of copywriting for the web than from you.

Am I misreading something?

------------------------

Nick, I think you are right. I've been telling my clients to go big or go home for awhile. The Mom and Pop's just don't get it for the moment.

With cabals like Stompernet (horizontal) and Agora (vertical) trying to tie up half of the top ten spots for any profitable SERPs, the web is going to turn into that great shopping mall in the sky. And it will be very hard to get traction for anything new.

In the end, search is dead. As SEOs, we've killed the SERPs. For non-commercialised and relevant content, we are going to have to turn back to heavily edited directory style listings. Wikipedia is a perfect example. When hunting for information, I would rather check Wikipedia's curated outgoing links than waste my time wading through irrelevant sites (think any geographical location for example). Exponential growth in social sites partly reflects the unsatisfactory state of the SERPs. Even as a professional, I have to say I am tired of mentally discarding two out of three websites there in the SERPs as I can see it's black hat junk or grey hat Filipino article farm rubbish.

And what's worse is we are all (almost all) preaching article spam now with cheapo non-native writers rehashing existing articles. A bunch of guys are out there busy writing computer programs to do the same thing faster and cheaper than the Indians and Filipinos. For what it's worth, I did check out one of these services myself let's call it valued agents - their sample writing was so awful, I almost retched on my keyboard trying to read through it. This single company has over 500 people writing between 3 and 20 of these junk articles per day, plagiarising the existing good content in something like ezinearticles.com. The guys advocating this beat themselves on the chest and shout out they are all white-hat. I'm not sure I'd call this kind of content pollution white hat at all. In the end, article pollution is far worse than cloaking or javascript redirects as it is far harder to clean up.

Article spam is like an endless giant oil spill on the SERPs.

Yes, there's link spam in Wikipedia but it gradually gets excised. I clean up outbound links whenever I fnd real junk.

What's the solution to article pollution? Google should just start penalising and banning sites which use trashy articles. It's like outbound links to bad neighbourhoods. If it's on your site in a curated area (not forums of course), time to pay the price. It's within human grasp to parse text and discover stylistic incongruence. Enough warning penalties on a site and bang, dropped right out of the SERPs.

What's the solution for StomperNet and AGORA type circle-jerk linking? Catch somebody with any trace of it on their site, bang right out of the SERPs. It would certainly take away some of the enthusiasm of the rubes to fund Andy Jenkins and Brad Fallon's campaign to become multimillionaires on the back of group search engine manipulation.

In the end, while I was a bit ironic about Jill's blithe solutions (singing the same song for at least six years), Jill does have a point - the only defence of the normal site owner is to continue to create extremely good content - and make a minimum of effort to help people find it via RSS feeds and submissions to relevant social networks. At some point, Google will have to react against these networks to protect relevance in their SERPs.

If everyone (Google, the other search engines, the social networks, Wikipedia) blows it, the internet will just become another parallel virtual planet, polluted and discarded faster than even the three dimensional real Earth in which we live corporealy. I read it on the internet, I saw it on the internet will expose the speaker to the same kind of ridicule that someone who says he or she read something in trash tabloids (i.e. National Enquirer) faces today.

It's no different than the war on drugs

The US gov't. lost that war long ago...There are more drugs than ever on US streets and more US citizens in Jail on drug charges.

--

Quote:
Your principal published work is The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines.

I don't think I've ever got more emails from anyone on the subject of copywriting for the web than from you.

Am I misreading something?

Yes. We don't write articles for websites. We help businesses write the actual marketing copy that sells their stuff.

Writing articles isn't really considered copywriting (by me at least). I do that for myself, but it's not a service I sell to clients.

(Anyway, sorry for derailing this thread, I just didn't want people to think I offer certain types of SEO that I don't. That's never been a service of mine, and probably never would be. I have never been a believer in article spam or even article SEO.)

Come on Ronsard, there's a

Come on Ronsard, there's a fair old gap in the spectrum between refining marketing copy/copywriting and article spam. Everything I've seen Jill write on the subject over the years has clicked with me.

Increasingly competitive SERPs put even more importance on high quality, convincing marketing copy. With less traffic coming in to your site you have to be damn sure to convert the stuff that does turn up!

The guys advocating this beat themselves on the chest and shout out they are all white-hat.

Yes I'd agree they are deluding themselves. Anyone adding this kind of rubbish to their site should be under the illusion that they aren't spamming. In my experience though there is only one purpose for mass produced, bearly coherant content - MFA sites. As we all know the low quality actually works to their advantage, as the first thing the user does is exit via the back button or the Adsense.

This is the thing that annoys me about this crackdown on paid links and review blogging. The sites you approach for these services are all high quality sites. No one is buying links from a MFA site and companies would never dream of asking a splog to review their product.

These practices actually encourage quality, when adsense seems to do the exact opposite.

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