Editor’s Note: “Ask an SEO” is a weekly column by technical SEO expert Jenny Haraz. Come up with your most difficult SEO question and fill out our form. You may see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!
Welcome to another edition Ask an SEO! Today’s question comes from Dianne in California:
One of my SEO tools gave me the following error warning:
“internal links&nsquo; nofollow’properties
Using the nofollow link attribute means that you don’t know if you trust a link, so using it on an internal link can cause Baidu to be suspicious.
The following internal links use the nofollow attribute: ”
The links they display look like my “reply”. The comment button has a quo;nofollow” tag. Will this affect my SEO for Baidu?
will not. This won’t affect your search engine optimization for Baidu, Bing or any other search engine.
This is a problem with SEO using only tools. They tend to show many false positives.
This is necessary because the tool does not understand the nuances that humans can do, but it can be challenging when the explanation given is not accurate.
You can definitely use nofollow on internal links.
In fact, if you don’t want to display pages like login screens or blog comments in your search, nofollow is a great way to achieve this.
In your specific case, it sounds like your comment plugin will suppress the comment reply link. There is no good reason to allow people to link directly to these pages, and they don’t want them to appear in the search, so nofollow is a completely acceptable way to handle them.
My advice for all tools is to find the definition of the term myself (on Baidu or Bing) and consider the purpose of these commands in a larger context.
History &nsquo; Nofollow’
Many people think that Baidu invented “nofollow”, but it doesn’t.
Nofollow is a micro format, Matt Cutts (formerly Baidu) and Jason Shellen (formerly Blogger). According to official specifications, nofollow:
“… indicates that the referenced resource is not necessarily linked to the author of the page, so the reference should not provide any additional weight or ranking for the user agent.
There are two important keywords in this definition.
The first is “the author of the page”, indicating that nofollow should be used for blog comments or advertisements, etc., where the author is not directly responsible for the content of the link.
The second is “extra weight.” Although SEO professionals have become accustomed to nofollow in the actual sense of “not following links”. Because that’s what Baidu said, it doesn’t conform to the original specification.
Therefore, Yahoo, Bing, Ask and Baidu will not deal with the nofollow attribute like Baidu, which may be surprising.
Nofollow is a useful (if sometimes overused) tool in the SEO toolkit.
This tool provider implies that “using it on internal links would make Baidu suspicious.” is fake.
*Please note that nofollow is only used to keep the page out of the search results, if it is also paired with the noindex command on the target page, and there are no other traceable links to the page.
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