Nofollow outbound links on your homepage and category pages

As you might have seen, I have now nofollowed all outbound links on my homepage and category pages. On the single pages for posts, these links are not nofollowed, unless I nofollowed them on purpose. I decided to do this after some discussion with a couple of guys (for who’s interested: Roy, Martijn and Dave), because I was thinking: people are getting linkjuice from my homepage and category pages, even if I sometimes don’t think they’re that important.

This way, sites only get the link-juice from the page for the post that’s actually linking to that site, instead of sharing in the strength my homepage has gathered, entirely through my own actions. By nofollowing those links, there’s more linkjuice to spread around to the post and category pages, and the links to my friends in my blogroll.

To accomplish this I updated my robots meta plugin, I’ll be updating that tonight. I’m curious what your opinion on this is, let me know in the comments!

Update: Wiep just showed me that Andy Beard is doing something alike, he’s gone even further and has nofollowed all category links below posts as well.

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17 Responses

  1. Henri van den HoofBy Henri van den Hoof on 23 October, 2007

    Actually makes allot of sense. Will wait for the updated version of the plugin before using it though :-)

  2. BrianBy Brian on 24 October, 2007

    I don’t really understand the logic in this. You’ve taken the time to write about and link to websites, but you don’t consider them important enough to be catalogued by search engines? Isn’t anecdotal reference the very definition of relevance?

    It sounds to me like you are abusing nofollow by using it to enforce your editorial opinion on others. You’re entitled to do this, but I don’t think your use is in line with the spirit of why this functionality was introduced.

  3. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 24 October, 2007

    Brian: you’re not getting it. I am not nofollowing those links on the specific post pages, so I am allowing search engines to index those links.

  4. BrianBy Brian on 24 October, 2007

    My bad – “not nofollowed” was a confusing double negative.

  5. Ruben TimmermanBy Ruben Timmerman on 25 October, 2007

    Oh come on Joost… I’m sorry, but I don’t buy all this linkjuice flow directing. I get the “logic” behind it, but it doesn’t make “sense”.

    You tell Google you have a ton of links on a page, but you don’t trust half of them. Of those, some are in your own domain (in Andy’s case > what do you think about that?), so you don’t trust yourself.

    You nofollow a link to Google’s help page about IMAP support. This means your article is less worth to me, since you just link to something you don’t trust. What does this tell me about you and your article?

    You nofollow the links to the guys you say you trust for their judgment on nofollow, what does that mean?

    I think this is taking SEO a step too far in the math-department. From an algo point of view, maybe it turns out to work. But it doesn’t make sense from a huma point of view, so in the end I doubt this is a good technique.

    I must say it feels a bit like how people thought you could make Google crawl your site faster with Webmaster Central. Of course, all you can do is make some parts slower, it’s all relative.

    I’d love to see some case study to back up. Also, what are the arguments your not-to-be-trusted-expert-friends use?

    PS: I’m not an SEO, although I do know a bit about it. I do SEO by thinking of humans and webstandards, not by thinking of algo’s.

  6. daveBy dave on 26 October, 2007

    The no-follow tag is more than just a ‘trust’ thing..if you google a bit, you will find some posts with Mr Google himself Matt, where he says that you can use the nofollow to concentrate PR on important pages on your site. was one of the first posts

  7. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 26 October, 2007

    @Dave: I’m glad some people here are reading their blogs ;)

    @Ruben: read that stuff Dave just linked… And dude, if you´re diving into SEO, giving presentations on it and stuff like that ( ;) ), read up on it :P

  8. daveBy dave on 26 October, 2007

    By the way, congratulations with your ‘new’ blog Joost…Nice design, good posts and I love the ‘bleu thing’ on top of this page :D

  9. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 26 October, 2007

    Thx Dave! It’s not done yet completely, but it surely is giving me a lot of new inspiration to blog.

  10. Ruben TimmermanBy Ruben Timmerman on 26 October, 2007

    OK, thanks, I stand corrected.

    I did read that SEOmoz article (keeping up on blogs I can do, even when busy giving presentations ;)), I guess I interpreted it wrong when I read it the first time. Although I’d still not advice clients to do it because it doesn’t feel right at all. I’ll try it on my blog and see what happens.

    Does anyone know of a case where someone actualy measured the effect? (in traffic/rankings, not in visible pagerank) The my “feeling” would probably change as well.

  11. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 26 October, 2007

    We’ve actually been doing this stuff with other means (javascript blocked links) at Onetomarket for several years. And yes. It works.

  12. Ruben TimmermanBy Ruben Timmerman on 26 October, 2007

    Of course, THAT i understantand and would advice clients if stuff gets too messy. Then Google doesn’t see the link at all, totally different ballgame.

    I’m still not 100% on it though… Nofollowing gives a link no “juice”, sure. But nofollowing one link doesn’t automatically give another more juice, although of course that is what we’re all implying. It’s still a smelly thing, just like nofollow itself :(

  13. rxbbxBy rxbbx on 29 October, 2007

    Nice plugin. Thnx. Saves some time.

  14. Pascal Van HeckeBy Pascal Van Hecke on 30 October, 2007

    I am with Ruben here. It simply doesn’t look _natural_. I’d guess that by now, Google has finetuned the “mechanical” original Pagerank algorithm, so that topical (related to the content of your site) external links to relevant content (deemed relevant by the rest of the net) do not harm your Pagerank (maybe on the contrary).

    Patterns of over-optimization might be penalized sooner or later as well…

  15. RasheedBy Rasheed on 27 February, 2008

    What about adding nofollow to pages links in the homepage ?

    I mean pages like:


    I am using your robots plugin but did not find any option to nofollow pages links.

  16. Andreas VoniatisBy Andreas Voniatis on 12 March, 2008

    I’m still wondering whether not nofollow-ing posts is a good idea or not. On the one hand I like the idea of of anti-comment spam comment plugins such as Kismet. On the other hand, there are loads of spammers and I have little time so nofollowing everything seems like the biggest time-saving idea to me. Nofollow-ing the site admin page to me is a given.

  17. RyanBy Ryan on 18 August, 2009

    i’ve also seen external as part of the rel in the link. that is suppose to prevent page rank from being passed.