The Ugliness of Comment "No Follow"

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Most blogs allow readers to add a link to their own websites. This gives the blog’s owner and other readers a way to connect with that reader. However, most content management systems (CMS)  and blog apps like WordPress add “no follow” in the code. This prevents search engines from rewarding commenters’ link back to their websites with search engine optimization juice. What happens is these apps add “no follow” in the code preventing search engines from following those links.
I used to have a plug-in that linked to readers’ latest blog entries. That went away because of problems. Because I appreciate every single person who stops by to read this blog and leave a comment, I investigated the possibility of removing the “no follow.”  In a perfect world, it’s a great way to reward people who take the time to read a post and share thoughts.
I looked at some blogs that follow reader links. What I found was ugly. Lots of nonsensical or hollow comments along the lines of “I agree” and “This is a great post!” A comment of value rarely showed up. Most of these “do follow” blogs have subpar quality.
Few — I mean very few — “do follow” blogs had posts worth sharing that could evoke great discussions. Not a single one of these better quality blogs managed reader (fake readers, really) comments that were laden with comment spam. All that comment spam ruined the experience, which hurt the quality of those blogs. Furthermore, it wasn’t clear how Google and other search engines view blogs that don’t have “no follow” on comments.
It was those few good quality blogs that compelled me to leave the “no follow” in place. Even if I control every comment that is or isn’t published, I don’t want to attract the bad element.
Obviously, there’s no benefit in removing “no follow” from comments. So how can bloggers reward the readers who care enough to join the discussion? I visit their blogs to leave a comment or I tweet their latest blog entry.
What if all apps turned off “no follow” in comments? How can bloggers reward readers who post valuable comments?

7 thoughts on “The Ugliness of Comment "No Follow"”

  1. Meryl – you make a great point. As a newer entrant to online business but an old hand at online presence for offline business, I’ve been working on how to create an engaging sphere of conversation around the problem I’m trying to address (help people to start a business that’s right for them). The “no follow” problem is certainly an obstruction to backlinks for meaningful content. In some ways, this points us back to the offline way of building business; slowly through developed relationships. I honestly prefer that approach. Thanks for raising the topic!

  2. Hi Meryl
    I remember reading about a plugin a while back that sets no-follows as a default but allows do-follows to be set automatically after x amount of approved comments by any specific reader.
    Have you heard about anything like that as I’ve had no luck finding it.

  3. Hi Meryl,
    I think if all apps turned off “no follow” in comments, companies would have someone full-time searching blogs to post comments to maximize followed links to boost company SEO. Unfortunately, business will flurry towards any new angle on generating more business.
    On the other hand, a previous commenter’s point sounds good: “do-follows to be set automatically after x amount of approved comments by any specific reader” — if there’s a way to control it, i.e., how many = x.

  4. Caleb, love your point to focus on building relationships. Absolutely. Because I do content for clients, I want to do all I can to help their websites.
    Reeta, I haven’t heard about anything like that. Still think it’s best to leave “no follow” because it’s unknown how search engines see them.
    Robert, while writing this, I was asking myself “What if all apps turned off ‘no follow'” and you gave an excellent answer.

  5. Hi Meryl, Do you know that due to the do follow comment system some serious blog commentators got rewarded a lot including the Pete of Mashable.
    And that’s why I have a list of the kind blogger like you who loves to love the commentators and helps them in building an online presence in less time.
    Thanks for this wonderful article about making comment system do follow, so the new bloggers will also start rewarding their readers for commenting.

  6. Hi there Meryl 🙂
    I’ve been reading something about another plug-in that allows authors to preview a post, especially if it concerns another intended author’s work directly, or I guess, indirectly.
    The plug-in I speak of is called, Public Post Preview.
    I’m just wondering, if there’s a need and a benefit in having stuff previewed for accuracy, say, then there must also be a need and benefit for everyone else to make their contributions also known, but with the extra added incentive to make further contributions further down the road.
    I’m only partially interested in this, mostly because I have an idea in changing the direction of my website… which was never really going anywhere, anyway. LOL

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