NoFollow No More. SEO Blog Joins the Minority of DoFollow

Written on February 15, 2007 – 5:36 pm | by Shell Harris |

Update – June17, 2008 – We no longer “dofollow” all comments. We have some criteria that will be kept secret. Suffice to say, if you are a honest & consistent commenter your comments will be followed. This is being done to curb the overwhelming number of spam comments. We’ll try to reward those who make useful comments while sweeping the spam under the blog. I’m sure we’ll make some mistakes so don’t take it personally. And, please keep commenting! I have also installed a new plugin to replace the DoFollow plugin and I recommend it highly: Lucia’s Linky Love. It will allow you much more control over following links in comments.

- Shell Harris, President, Big Oak

I have decided to turn off the NoFollow attribute to comment posts on my SEO blog. I believe there are enough safe guards to protect this site from spammed comments such as Akismet.

In fact, Akismet it has caught every spam comment so far. And there have been 656 thousands of spam comments in the two many months since this blog was moved to its current location. Obviously, the NoFollow tag was having little or no effect on preventing spam.So, rather than penalize the people who actually write a comment worth reading, I have decided to reward any would-be commenters with a little link juice from a trusted site, providing they comment with some thought, that is.

So bring on your comments and enjoy the revolution, let links breathe free and carry weight for all!

If you wish to join the DoFollow revolution, you can download the DoFollow WordPress plugin that will turn off the NoFollow link attribute. Thanks, Kimmo!

Shell Harris co-founded Big Oak on January 1, 2004. In a previous career he was a print & web designer and often developed the sites he designed before focusing on his current passion for search engine optimization and Internet marketing. He is an avid researcher, SEO specialist, company mouthpiece and is always looking for the next big thing in Internet Marketing.

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  1. 44 Responses to “NoFollow No More. SEO Blog Joins the Minority of DoFollow”

  2. By Casey Woods on Feb 17, 2007 | Reply

    I just turned on “DoFollow” on my site as well. Here’s hoping this is the start of a revolution.

    I’m still in favor of “nofollow” as the default behavior for WordPress, if only because so many blogs get abandoned and decimated by comment SPAM.

    However, I moderated carefully and delink anything lame. I agree that link juice should be shared when it is deserved.

    Nice looking site!

  3. By Shell Harris on Feb 17, 2007 | Reply

    Well, every revolution starts with one and then two…

    I agree with you that the default setting for NoFollow is probably a wise choice, if only to protect those who might unintentionally let their blogs be used by spammers.

  4. By Listerate on Feb 24, 2007 | Reply

    Is the plugin you link to the same as the Semiologic one? Or is it just that there are two plugins (different) with the same name?

  5. By Shell Harris on Feb 25, 2007 | Reply

    I found the Semiologic DoFollow Plugin and it appears different. While I didn’t download it, it does have a different author from the plugin I use. The plugin I use allows a NoFollow to be removed after a certain number of days or be effective immediately. Not sure what else would help, but I am happy with the plugin I am using. Would anyone recommend the Semiologic plugin instead?

  6. By kenny on Mar 6, 2007 | Reply

    I just installed this plugin on my blog today as the nofollow tag is completely useless. Yahoo has started to index nofollow links as well (you can see by using Yahoo Site Explorer).

    I recommend also installing a plugin to close comments on old posts so people don’t start commenting on posts you’ve made a few years ago just to get extra links. It will cut down on a lot of moderating that you have to do.

  7. By Shell Harris on Mar 6, 2007 | Reply

    Great recommendation, Kenny. Do you have a plugin that you can recommend? I would be happy to place a link to it on my blog. I did find this auto close comments plugin:

  8. By John Beta on Mar 9, 2007 | Reply

    Nice post. Everything shows that the whole nofollow idea just useless.
    Well-implemented CAPTCHA (an initialism for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”, trademarked by Carnegie Mellon University) thing makes more sense.
    And it’s good idea to close comments for old posts.
    Good luck!

  9. By Shell Harris on Apr 4, 2007 | Reply

    Fellow SEO blogger, Marios Alexandrou has posted a modest but growing list of SEO blogs that have removed the nofollow attribute. Nicely done, Marios.

    You can find his post list here: SEO Blogs that DoFollow

  10. By Cucirca on Apr 16, 2007 | Reply

    I need to use this plugin too.
    Great post and keep up the good work.

  11. By Weng on Apr 20, 2007 | Reply

    So far, a few blogs have picked this up. I’m still finding out if there is a performance hit for servers if we do allow the links. My blog is a bit slow sometimes. I might test on a few pages and see how it goes. Good thing I use WordPress. heheh =) This does sound good indeed for cross referencing info and contacts.

  12. By Susan on Apr 27, 2007 | Reply

    This is my first visit to your site but definitely not my last, I know everyone says that right? Anyway I actually found your blog, or this post in particular while researching for my DoFollow Pingback Challenge and wanted to leave a comment around Do Follow. It is nice to see larger blogs such as this with a following implement the Do Follow process. I know there are comments on both sides of this issue but I for one feel that rewarding those who take the time to comment is definitely a win win situation.
    Granted not all comments are worth the time it takes to enter them, but through services such as Askiment and Bad Behaviors, most of those can be weeded out. The others such as fanboy postings (“Great post”) and such can be removed through moderation. Overall it is a system that helps increase exposure and traffic for everyone involved.
    Thanks and great post. :) Feel free to drop by and leave your comments around the challenge.

  13. By Audi on May 8, 2007 | Reply

    But I think to compensate for the loss of pagerank to commentators, you should do link-exchange with other “dofollow” websites and join the group on I also think that you should pay attention to your old posts since you have many of them on supplemental results.

  14. By Shell Harris on May 8, 2007 | Reply

    Thanks for the suggestion, Audi.
    I went to the “No Nofollow | I Follow | DoFollow Community” and added the Big Oak SEO blog.

  15. By Andy Beard on May 8, 2007 | Reply

    Well I have pages with close to 100 comments and trackbacks, and I am fairly sure I spread most of that incoming juice out, though it always eventually leaves unless you are Wikipedia.

    I will link to one of my older posts when I first started talking about linking structure for blogs.
    I much prefer ball linking for blogs that have a community.

    You might need to do something with this sidebar to make it slightly shorter, because anyone with a few toolbars running 1024×768 can’t see the full textarea, let alone the submit button. Changing font size fixed things.

  16. By Shell Harris on May 8, 2007 | Reply

    I have condensed the comment box to a more compact height. I believe that is what you were referring to. Hopefully that will allow for easier commenting. Thanks for the suggestion.

  17. By Audi on May 15, 2007 | Reply

    No problem whatsoever :) Also run a search for “” on google. you will see that your login and register pages are indexed. Block them using robots.txt

  18. By Cade @ Write To Right on Jun 10, 2007 | Reply

    I think that this is a great idea to allow for so many people to communicate in writings and network to learn so much so quickly. How has your success come so far?

  19. By Hobo SEO on Jun 26, 2007 | Reply

    We’ve done exactly the same Shell. Feel free to drop by for some linky-love!

    PS – Love the comments box css!

  20. By Melo Villareal on Jul 9, 2007 | Reply

    I think moderating comments is enough to figh spam… Do Follow Rocks!

  21. By Wordpress Advice on Jul 9, 2007 | Reply

    I feel a sorrow on being so late to join the do follow revoloution. The Do Follow community seems to be growing. At least at present. However as with anything else, I doubt that Do Follow will go on forever. We need to think creatice ways to keep it alive. At least for now theoritically, it is working. Only time will tell.

  22. By Sam on Jul 10, 2007 | Reply

    The only problem you might see is people linking to bad neighborhoods to damage your PR. That’s what I would do if you were my enemy.

  23. By Shell Harris on Jul 10, 2007 | Reply

    That is why you always approve the comments before you post them. I always check to make sure the link is valid and pointing to a reputable site before I approve a DoFollow link.

  24. By Utah Vizad on Jul 18, 2007 | Reply

    Very, very cool idea. I have toyed with the idea of turning off comments but didn’t realize that akismet was up to the task of filtering out all the excess spam.

    Sounds like it may not be an issue.

  25. By Amy on Jul 25, 2007 | Reply

    Downloaded and installed.
    It’s a good feeling..

  26. By SEO BB on Aug 12, 2007 | Reply

    I’ve got a decade and more of perspective on SEO and guess which SEO blogs I’m now more likely to be leaving comments on?
    Hallo :-)
    That’s the big problem with the nofollow when it’s applied in a scorched earth kind of way, it actually acts as a disincentive to post at all a lot of the time. I find the whole dofollow movement phenomenon very encouraging. It takes the web back a step or three to where it should be as opposed to being a cash cow for Google’s accountants.


  27. By Shell Harris on Aug 19, 2007 | Reply

    Good point, BB.
    I personally don’t care if a blog has dofollow when I post. If I want to say something I certainly will regardless if Google will follow the link. I will though, modify my name sometimes if I know I will get a follow, as you have done with SEO BB. Good strategy.

  28. By Increase Website Traffic on Aug 23, 2007 | Reply

    I just recently turned off the no follow in my blog and cant wait to see what happens. I like how you don’t have to scroll down to the bottom of the comments in order to post one… good idea.

  29. By bLuefRogX on Nov 21, 2007 | Reply

    Its a nice concept, but it also leads to increased ’spam’ with comments like ‘Good Job’ or ‘Nice blog’ that are not actually relevant to the post, but are just there because the poster saw a ‘DoFollow’ badge on the blog and wanted a backlink.

    I suppose you could call this a double edged sword, it’d definitely get your more comments, but also increase your moderation work.

  30. By Shell Harris on Nov 21, 2007 | Reply

    I agree bLuefRogX which is why you won’t see any comments like that on my blog. I usually err on the side of allowing comments that I shouldn’t but I don’t allow obvious attempts to post a free link. You have to say something of value. Of course, flattery will win you some points too.

  31. By Headlight restoration on Nov 29, 2007 | Reply

    Great blog. I believe the nofollow is just Google’s way of further controlling the little upstarts. Google has to remember they were once a little upstart, same as Apple – Steve Jobs and Wozniak were hackers before they happened upon their little computer company out of their garage.

  32. By Shell Harris on Dec 1, 2007 | Reply

    I”m a sucker for an Apple reference. I’m a huge Mac fan here at Big Oak.

  33. By Dara on Dec 8, 2007 | Reply

    I’ve just finished writing a piece of blogging software and I’ve turned nofollows off.

    I don’t see the point in having them if you have a good captcha or other challenge-response human test …

  34. By Dan O'Neil on Jan 8, 2008 | Reply

    I totally agree with you here – dofollow is great. Personally I like to have a few comments in the bag from someone before the dofollow kicks in, however I believe that the people who make up the community deserve the links to count. I suppose the comment about the increase in moderation is a fair one, although I think that with a minimum number of comments before dofollow, this can be reduced.

  35. By flowergirlprincess on Feb 5, 2008 | Reply

    no follow is a pain in the behind. We should revolt. I will be downloading this plugin now that I have discovered it and come back and invite you all over to my blog for a party. Stay tuned.

  36. By alyce jovani on Feb 18, 2008 | Reply

    blogs like this one make me encouraged to even add my 2 cents. Most of the time I don’t even bother to leave a comment because I don’t want nofollows to penalize me. thankyou for adding to the solution so that some of us who aren’t spammers feel like we can come out of our shell and actually interact.

  37. By Jason on Mar 31, 2008 | Reply

    Thank you for being proudly do follow. I don’t like Google telling me how I should develop my sites. Redirects and masking are one thing but let me have my links. All the links on my site really are friends of mine and I want people (and search engines) to follow them.

  38. By Antonio Luna on Apr 19, 2008 | Reply

    Thanks. Great idea. I will do the same in my blog.

  39. By anthony on Apr 28, 2008 | Reply

    i’ve enabled dofollow and linked to this post, so show me some luv!

  40. By Sebastien on May 2, 2008 | Reply

    I am following the movement. My blog is 100% DO follow

  41. By Bill G on May 27, 2008 | Reply

    DoFollow it is. Thanks for the post!

  42. By Bill Gassett on Jun 12, 2008 | Reply

    I noticed my link was marked “no follow” on your latest post – have you gone back to this format? I know my comment would not be considered spam?

  43. By Shell Harris on Jun 13, 2008 | Reply

    Bill, I had been trying out a wordpress plugin that made new comments “nofollow” for the first 10 days and then changes to “follow” after. But this has not deterred anyone from posting spammy posts so I will turn it off and comments will be followed for the immediate future. I’m still considering changing it back to “nofollow” as I am fairly disappointed with many comments as it is obvious they are made solely with the idea of getting a backlink.

    But for now we will be “follow” all the time once again.

  44. By Shell Harris on Jun 17, 2008 | Reply

    After reviewing a majority of our hundreds and hundreds of comments I was shocked at the number of spammy comments we have. And this isn’t counting the questionable ones we deleted. So it is with a heavy heart that I must be more discriminating in allowing a link to be followed. We will continue to follow comments, but we have some more strict criteria now.

  45. By fotos on Apr 5, 2009 | Reply

    Nofollow [1] is an attribute in HTML code that you put a link to where we want is not taken into account by search engines. In this way, Google and other search engines do not give value to that link and not transmitting Pagerank.

    The origin of the “nofollow” dates back to 2005 and was designed by Matt Cutts (Google) and Jason Shellen (Blogger) to avoid the spamdexing, primarily to reduce this type of spam in the comments on the blogs.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

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