Adding ‘nofollow’ on internal links – good or bad?

I was recently asked – is it a good idea to add rel=”nofollow” on internal links? You would think this would be OK but there are a few things to consider first.

So what is rel=”nofollow”

Wikipedia defines nofollow as the following:

nofollow is a value that can be assigned to the rel attribute of an HTML a element to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index. It is intended to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, thereby improving the quality of search engine results and preventing spamdexing from occurring.

So in a nutshell, nofollow tells Google to ignore these links.

But surely that’s not to bad?

In some specific  instances it isn’t – adding rel=”nofollow” on the following is OK:

  • Login page
  • Sign-in page
  • Register page

Typically these don’t have much content, but on the flip side and with Google being very intelligent, surely there not going to harm you as Google can see what these pages are, about, and there functions.

So why do people add rel=”nofollow” to internal links?

In a nutshell people do this so they can sculpt PageRank. PageRank which can help with link authority and trust so this is a way to game the system and encourages spamdexing.

To read more, Mattc Cutts has written a post which you can read here. You might also want to read the Wikipedia entry about PageRank.

My take on rel=”nofollow” on internal links…

Apart from PR sculpting which is a blackhat technique, I’ve never really understood why you would want to do this. Google loves content, so why are you saying don’t go to this page? Make the content better, original, optimise it!

If you really don’t want content being found by the search engines, use the noindex, nofollow META tag.

So what’s Google’s view?

Do you have any thoughts? Leave your comments below.

Credit: Chain image from SXC.hu

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