I recently posted a question to Matt Cutts regarding the no-follow tag:
“Do you feel that the widespread and blanket use of nofollow tags is devaluing Google’s search algorithms? Examples such as Wikipedia, where ALL external links are nofollow. Does Wikipedia mean nothing to Google’s algorithms?”
Let’s break Matt’s answer down a little.
First off, Matt states that there are very few links using the no-follow tag and that these links represent a minuscule percentage of all links on the web.
While this may be the case, its worth noting that authority sites have actively taken on the no-follow tag, while inactive rubbish sites, which represent the vast majority of sites online, haven’t even been updated since the tag was released.
It’s a pity the question was bundled with another question relating to no-follow tags on wikipedia since my question was more a general statement regarding the blanket use of no-follow on outbound links from authority sites.
Matt continues by saying “Don’t bother spamming wikipedia” – which illustrates that relating this question to wikipedia specifically dilutes the question, a mistake on my part. There has never been any doubt in anybodies mind that spamming isn’t a good plan, so lets move on…
There is a great deal of deterrent value to using no-follow tags on sites with user generated content, however there has to be a point when regardless of the no-follow tag, that link represents some value.
What about non-user generated content? News sites etc? Edu’s Gov’s Medical Institutions? All the best webmasters are using luscious servings of no-follow.
In some cases greed steps in the way with webmasters wanting to funnel page rank to their own pages, too tight to pass on a bit of love (the fabric on which Google is built.)
Essentially respecting all no-follow tags DOES devalue Googles algorithms because Google no longer pays attention to [a percentage of] links from authority sites.
I hope this suggestion is addressed at some stage.