[Just about every week I see posts that Nofollow links are good for SEO purposes or people telling others to just build links it’s all good (in fact as I post him there is one such thread on the front page here). For those already in the know this is nothing new but since people still keep pushing this myth that Nofollow matters here is yet the latest from Google – Quick take – unless you get traffic from a Nofollow link directly its worthless – No SEO benefit unless someone can post real data that can be confirmed (by actually showing the data) those be the facts. I f you are new to SEO then the bottom line is don’t bother with links that are Nofollow UNLESS they stand to give you direct (not GOogle search) traffic.]
I believe the controversy comes from the tendency that we all have to sometimes over generalize our statements. If you listen to the folks that really know what they are talking about you will usually see that they choose their words very carefully to avoid confusion. However, when other folks try to recall and repeat what they heard from the said expert they leave some of those well-chosen words out or over-generalize the claim.
If I were to say ” Nofollow links offer no direct benefit to ranking on Google” it would be a true statement. However if I were to say ” Nofollow links offer no SEO benefit” it sounds like I’m saying the same thing, but the second way of saying this is not entirely true. The latter statement implies there is no indirect benefit, yet there is. It also implies that all search engines ignore Nofollow links and they don’t.
Not even Google ignores Nofollow links totally so you couldn’t even say ” Nofollow links offer no benefit to ranking on Google” since there is a minor benefit in that Nofollow links are crawled and followed by their spiders. The pages that the Nofollow links are linking to are indexed as a result of the Nofollow links. So yes, there is that very minor benefit. So we could say ” Nofollow links offer no significant benefit to ranking on Google” or ” Nofollow links offer little benefit to ranking on Google”
The point is, that while all those true statements might seem to conflict with each other they actually don’t. Adding one word or leaving out one word can totally change the meaning and accuracy of the statement. Most confusion arises from people who fail to speak precisely or those who don’t listen carefully. With that point in mind let me state my opinion on Nofollow links:
Nofollow links are not worthless, they are good for:
- Getting indexed on Google
- Direct targeted traffic
- Ranking on search engines other than Google
- Attracting organic backlinks (which indirectly helps us to rank on Google)
And yes it’s true that Nofollow links do not pass PR, but more importantly, is that Nofollow links do not pass anchortext value which is the essential and primary benefit of building links to optimize for your targeted keyword in Google’s SERP.
By the way, “anchortext value” is not the same thing as “anchor text”, but that’s another topic for discussion.
as the OP suggested, and Matt Cutts expressed in that video, Nofollow backlinks are not always worthless. What Matt said is that they are dropped from the link graph, so that specifically implies there is no direct benefit in Google’s algorithm.
That, of course, leaves us with the possibility of an indirect benefit, which is possible if, and only if, there is user traffic to the page where the link is placed.
- Nofollow + No Traffic = No direct or indirect Google SEO benefit.
- Nofollow + Targeted traffic = No direct Google SEO benefit, but potential indirect SEO Benefit as well as direct traffic benefit.
In both cases, there is always the SEO benefit outside the scope of Google (other search engines).
The problem arises when we overgeneralize the specific facts about the Nofollow backlinks. Saying that they are completely worthless is an over-generalization that simply isn’t true. Likewise, saying all links are valuable isn’t true either.
Perhaps a better way to look at backlink value would be based on the amount of targeted traffic. All links with keyword targeted traffic have a value that roughly tracks the amount of targeted traffic. And Nofollow backlinks have a lesser degree of value at Google but are still valuable to the degree of targeted traffic from that page.
As to your claim of SEO value based on the domain extension, that has been debunked by every credible source within the industry. I’m sure your claim has little to do with your signature link, right?