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Matt Cutts: Reasonable NoFollow Links Won’t Hurt You

Matt Cutts, Google’s head of Search Engine Spam, released a new video in the Google Webmaster Help YouTube channel.  The main topic of the video today was NoFollow links, and what kind of effect they can have on your rankings.  Cutts said that typically, NoFollow links won’t harm your rankings in Google, but if a webmaster is spamming them on a massive scale, it could get the attention of the Search Engine Spam team, and trigger a manual review.

He didn’t mention exactly what was considered massive, but if it will trigger a manual review of the site, it seems like it would have to be tens or even hundreds of thousands of NoFollow links.  In addition, it seems reasonable that these links would have to be built in a fairly short period of time, because over the course of years, all good websites will eventually build up thousands of NoFollow links.

As usually, Cutts didn’t give too many specifics, and likely left most webmasters with more questions than answers.  Why, for example, would Google ever take any action on these types of links when they are already devalued?  If a webmaster wants to waste their time spamming links, isn’t that their prerogative?  In addition, giving NoFollow links any negative attention at all is only going to encourage people who participate in negative SEO attacks on their competitors.

Apparently Google feels they need to police the web, and not just manage their own search results.  Of course, this is not really a surprise to anyone.  What do you think about this information from Cutts?  Is it useful at all, or just more of the same vague comments from Google?


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Michael Levanduski

Michael Levanduski is the assistant editor of Performance Marketing Insider, and an experienced freelance writer. He writes content for a wide range of sites in virtually every niche, though he specializes in technical writing as well as creating content for the performance and internet marketing industry. Michael was born in Grand Rapids, MI where he still lives with his wife and three children.

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  1. Yeah, right! Famous last words “won’t harm your rankings”

    Granted, they did manage to clean the web up a bit with regard to “black hat SEO” but they just keep going on and on, and making things worse for the searcher.

    Who wants to see first page rankings littered with eBay, YouTube and Amazon?

    They should concentrate more on consumer-friendly results and less on what webmasters are doing (or not doing?).

    Seems every time they cough or sneeze the “little guy” suffers.

  2. Just more unclear muttering from the big G.

    Google should implement a policy where no amount of “bad links” can hurt rankings, though they might not help at all.

    If a site has weak content, compared to the competition, and no good links then it won’t rank. If it has great content then weak links shouldn’t matter, esp since no one is clicking on those links anyway.

    And if masses of bad links DO count against a site, well… I can just hear the black hat crowd laughing.

What's your opinion?

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