The ‘No Follow’ Dilemma

As regular Blogging Tips commentators know, i removed the no follow link from Blogging Tips 2 months ago. This means that page rank will be given to the blogs and websites of those who post a comment.

As i stated before, i’m baffled why so many bloggers made a fuss about this as any page rank benefit from commentating will be pretty low and bloggers should be trying to raise their page rank via advertising and writing good posts. However, i was more than happy to remove the ‘no follow’ link cos it was no skin off my nose!!!

I have been thinking more and more about making money through this blog since the next google update is only 6 weeks away (around late July or early August) – this update is significant for Blogging Tips as the update will give the site its first page rank and it will allow me to sell text links and reviews etc here (don’t worry, any sponsored reviews i do will be related to blogging).

It’s clear to me now that i have shot myself in the foot in a way as outgoing page rank on blog post pages will be very low and this is giving any advertisers who advertise here a raw deal. I’m sure i would still sell my advertising inventory even with the no follow link removed however they would not receive the page rank they should be getting. I have always tried to be 100% honest with advertisers on the sites i own and have did everything i can to have a good working relationship with them so this is something that concerns me.

Why blogs who remove the ‘No Follow’ Link are giving their sponsors a raw deal

Most bloggers i know don’t know how the page rank system works…yet they are still obsessed with it!!!

I’ll give you a tip – if a blog with a pr of 7 promises you a link back to your blog for linking to them then it isn’t as great a deal as you think because

  1. Your link will be in a post page ie. your link may be on the pr 7 page for a few days but the second it leaves the home page and enters the archives it will be on a page with a pagerank between 4 and 7 (most blogs post pages have a page rank 1 or 2 less than their main page). Therefore you aren’t really getting a link from a page rank 7 page….well you are, but only for a few days!!!
  2. The page rank share which your blog will receive will be extremely low because so many links are on the page. This is particularly true for those pointless ‘review me for a link back’ campaigns (if you want to know more about my opinion on this please read this post!). I’m sorry to break it to you guys but if you have taken part in one of these campaigns the only party who has benefited is the blog who got the review.

My first thought was to write a long post explaining page rank and to drill it into bloggers that you should be looking for text links on websites and blogs which will give you a good amount of page rank back. However, whilst looking for a good graph that shows you how PR is distributed i came across this page : How Page Rank Works.

I strongly encourage you all to read that page before reading the rest of my post. Specifically, i want you guys to pay attention to the part which explains how page rank is distributed on the web.

a page’s PageRank = 0.15 + 0.85 * (a “share” of the PageRank of every page that links to it)

“share” = the linking page’s PageRank divided by the number of outbound links on the page.

A page “votes” an amount of PageRank onto each page that it links to. The amount of PageRank that it has to vote with is a little less than its own PageRank value (its own value * 0.85). This value is shared equally between all the pages that it links to.

From this, we could conclude that a link from a page with PR4 and 5 outbound links is worth more than a link from a page with PR8 and 100 outbound links. The PageRank of a page that links to yours is important but the number of links on that page is also important. The more links there are on a page, the less PageRank value your page will receive from it.

A fantastic website which can be used to show you this in practice is URLTrends.com. URLTrends.com gives you the page rank of a website and also the value of page rank that is shared to the links on the page. The only thing i can criticise it for is that most websites stats are only updated once a month, however it’s still a great tool for seeing how much page rank you will get by getting linked on a page.

An example of how Page Rank is Distributed

Here’s an example to clarify what i have been talking about. I’m gonna compare two websites using URL Trends, namely the evil genius John Chow and the not so evil homepage of my own website network System0.

  • John Chow – Page Rank 6. Outgoing Links: 102 (Ratio: 32.941% – Each Link Receives Approx. 0.050 PR)
  • System0 – Page Rank 3. Outgoing Links: 10 (Ratio: 3.000% – Each Link Receives Approx. 0.255 PR)

As you can see from the above example, because my PR 3 site is only linking to 10 sites each link receives 0.255PR. Therefore you would receive over 5 times as much page rank from a link on System0 than on JohnChow.

The above example should explain to you how page rank is distributed but it does not take into effect many other factors. I want you guys to understand the full picture so allow me to clarify some things about the above example.

  • System0 gets between 50-100 unique visits a day. I’m not 100% sure of Johns traffic but i’d hazard a guess that it’s between the 5000 and 10,000 mark ie. he gets about 100 times more traffic than System0!
  • If you for some strange reason the traffic of a site wasn’t a concern and all you wanted was PR then if you had to buy a link on just the homepage of one of these sites then you would have to choose System0 since it gives you around 5 times as much PR. However, John’s advertisers get a link on every page on his blog. As i write this post he currently has 1,645 posts. If you count his home page, his subpages and his categories and archives the numbers probably closer to 1,800. Therefore you’d be getting linked on around 1,800 pages on his blog. If you go back to the ‘how page rank works’ page i referred you to before you will remember that your pagerank is equal to 0.15 + 0.85 * (a “share” of the PageRank of every page that links to it). Therefore, if you advertised on John Chow you would only receive 0.050PR per link however you would receive that more than 1,800 times.

The ‘No Follow’ tag will soon return to Blogging Tips Comments

I apologise if i have discussed page rank a lot in this post (i know it bores some people to tears!) however it was impossible for me to explain my ‘no follow’ dilemma without first explaining why too many outgoing links is bad for advertisers.

Being honest, i’m a bit annoyed that i didn’t consider all of this when i removed the ‘no follow’ link. I knew that outgoing links would receive less PR but it didn’t affect me or my blog at the time so i was happy to do what the masses wanted. Clearly, i should have been thinking ahead. It might not be a major concern at first but if a blog post gets 100 comments thats 100 more links that advertisers have to share the PR with!

I know that there will be some of you out there reading this and thinking that i shouldn’t be concerned about all of this however as i said before, i want to be 100% honest with advertisers and i want to give them value for money when they advertise here.

I have decided that when BloggingTips does receive a pagerank i will add the ‘no follow’ back to the links of commentators blogs. It’s a little bit of a catch 22 for me but i do not want reader’s to think i am selling out. It’s nothing of the sort in my opinion. As well as advertiser’s receiving a higher PR share, blogs i link to in posts will receive a higher PR share too which i believe is fitting as it’s rewarding bloggers who have written good articles. As you know, i always give credit where credit is due and i like to link to good articles on blogs i read so for me it makes sense to increase the outgoing pagerank to sites i link to.

I’m sure that the return of the ‘no follow’ link will displease a percentage of commentators here – i don’t know how to say this without sounding like a bit of an asshole but if you only want to comment on blogs that have removed the ‘no follow’ tag you really haven’t been listening to anything I’ve written in the last 3 months. Page rank benefits from leaving a comment are extremely low and your time is better spent writing good posts (thats assuming you comment a lot to increase PR). Bloggers link to good posts – it’s that simple!

Link trains, ‘review me for a link back’ and similar methods of promotions only bring short spurts of untargeted traffic and another pointless post on your blog (think about how much value a link train type post will be to your visitor in 6 months).

I’ve mentioned in a few of my posts the last week or so that i am looking to get more subscribers here but you guys need to know – If you are looking for tips on getting traffic from link trains and ‘review me for a link’ campaigns etc you should probably unsubscribe as you will not ever see tips like that here…..no doubt ive just lost 100 subscribers as a result of that statement but i would rather not post than post about something which i consider to be a waste of your time!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I do want to reward regular commentators here therefore when i remove the ‘no follow’ tag i am going to increase the number of top commentator’s links from 5 to 10 or even more.

Should you remove the ‘No Follow’ link for the benefit of your blogs advertisers?

First of all, i don’t want to preach to you guys that you should or should not use the ‘no follow’ tag in your blog comment links. I’m sure a lot of you were like me and jumped on the ‘no follow’ bandwagon but i hope i have shown you in this post that removing the ‘no follow’ tag isn’t really helping out your commentators that much.

Ultimately, you need to think about how you can reward your commentators but still pass a decent amount of pagerank to advertisers. Perhaps this is something that does not bother you or even those who advertise on your blog and if that’s the case feel free to remove the ‘no follow’ tag. Personally, i would encourage you all to provide as much information to potential advertisers and to do your best to develop a good working relationship with them.

It should be noted that if you do not get too many comments on your posts and you also have a lot of outgoing links on your sidebar, having a ‘no follow’ tag in your comment links will not make a huge difference to the Page Rank that advertisers receive (Note : The vast majority of links on the BloggingTips sidebar are internal therefore removing the tag will make a big difference).

Please leave a comment if you agree or disagree with this post. I welcome discussion and i will do my best to clarify anything that isn’t 100% clear in this post. If you are disappointed that the ‘no follow’ tag will soon be returning here then i would like to know the reason why? ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for reading
Kevin

Disclosure: In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that the site owner is benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website. This is not to say that is the case with all content, as all publications on the site are original and written to provide value and references to our audience.

26 Comments

  1. Brian Heys June 16, 2007
  2. Kevin June 16, 2007
  3. Celebrienne June 16, 2007
  4. Wallace June 16, 2007
  5. Tobsy June 16, 2007
  6. Jennifer June 16, 2007
  7. GoddessCarlie June 16, 2007
  8. Papa Rage June 16, 2007
  9. Angie June 16, 2007
  10. A Tentative Personal June 16, 2007
  11. Kumiko June 16, 2007
  12. Jake June 16, 2007
  13. Kevin June 16, 2007
  14. Jamdo June 16, 2007
  15. Zac Johnson June 17, 2007
  16. GoddessCarlie June 17, 2007
  17. Kevin June 17, 2007
  18. Success Online June 17, 2007
  19. Shane June 17, 2007
  20. Andy Beard June 18, 2007
  21. Analyst June 18, 2007
  22. Randa Clay June 19, 2007
  23. Jonathan Street June 30, 2007
  24. Foxy June 22, 2008
  25. Msn July 10, 2008
  26. @cihataltunay February 3, 2011