Last week, Matt Cutts got the blogging community in an uproar over whether or not guest blogging was dead. (It’s not.) Actually, what Matt said was that guest blogging for “backlinks” was no longer going to be tolerated by Google and that we should be especially concerned with spammy links in guest posts intended for SEO. He cautioned us to only accept guest posts from trusted bloggers who we could vouch for. That got me thinking about the backlinks that are left in the comments of blogs that use the CommentLuv WordPress plugin.
What’s the Difference Between a DoFollow and a NoFollow Link?
Before we get started talking specifically about dofollow links on CommentLuv blogs, let’s take a quick look at what backlinks are and what the difference is between a DoFollow and a NoFollow link. First off, websites and webpages are connected using hyperlinks. There are three different types of links.
- Inbound links: links that point to your website from another website
- Outbound links: links on your website that point to other websites
- Internal links: links that point to other pages within your website
When it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), links can be either DoFollow or NoFollow. The difference between the two is that it’s possible to pass SEO strength, or PageRank through a DoFollow link while (in theory) that doesn’t happen when you use the NoFollow tag.
How Does WordPress Assign the DoFollow and NoFollow Attributes?
- WordPress automatically assigns the nofollow attribute to all user-submitted links (for example, in comments, the website URL and the comment).
- When you insert a link in WordPress pages, posts, widgets etc., they are by default dofollow (for example, a link to another website).
According to Matt Cutts, in this Google webmaster help video, the rel=”nofollow” tag means that:
PageRank won’t flow through that link as far as discovering the link, PageRank computation, all that sort of stuff . . .
In his video, Matt recommends leaving the internal links on your site (from one page to another) dofollow so that Googlebot can find those pages and the PageRank can flow. He goes on to say that you may want to add the nofollow rel tag to external links (for example those left in comments) because they are often left by spammers. He then goes on to suggest asking yourself if the comment has been left by a trusted user who has been around for a while. (Isn’t this what he suggested this week about accepting guest bloggers?)
Is the CommentLuv WordPress Plugin Right for You?
One feature that makes the CommentLuv and CommentLuv Premium (my affiliate link) plugins so popular is that by default, they allow do-follow backlinks in user comments. One of the biggest benefits of upgrading to the premium version is the ability to only enable the dofollow tag based on specific criteria. For example, you can only allow dofollow links based on the number of approved comments a person has or as an incentive for sharing your post on social media sites.
In the past year, there has been a lot of controversy over whether or not the benefits of CommentLuv outweighs the cons. There’s no disputing the fact that do-follow links attract spam. I know several well respected bloggers (such as Ileane Smith), who have switched from CommentLuv to the Google+ commenting system. I’ve even written a post myself about some of the pros and cons of the Google Plus commenting system. My biggest con to Google’s commenting system is that a user has to be logged on to Google Plus to comment.
Thankfully, my biggest concern about using CommentLuv was the amount of spam that I was receiving. However, recently, Andy Bailey (the author of CommentLuv) has created the Anti Backlinker WordPress plugin. Please note, that at this time, this plugin is only available to people who own a CommentLuv premium (CLP) license. (Although many of us have licenses that allow us to install CLP on all of the sites that we manage, we are only authorized to install Anti Backlinker on our own site.) I can attest that by aggressively tweaking the Anti Backlinker plugin, I have practically eliminated spam comments on my site.
Over to You:
What are your thoughts? Do you use the CommentLuv WordPress commenting plugin on your blog? If so, (and you’re using the premium version), do you have set criteria for having the links in your comments to dofollow? If you own your own premium license, are you using the Anti-Backlinker plugin?
One last question: Are you more likely to leave a comment on a do-follow CommentLuv enabled site than on one that isn’t? We’d love to hear from you.