How does Google treat sites where all external links are no-follow?

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How does Google treat sites where all external links are no-follow? I understand the purpose of no-follow is for webmasters to indicate which links are paid, but when sites like Wikipedia make EVERY outbound link no-follow, that defeats the purpose. John T, Denver

Russian subtitles translated by Mike Shakin.

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24 thoughts on “How does Google treat sites where all external links are no-follow?”

  1. @Everyone stating he avoided the question, he did not.

    The answer was concise and elaborated on. He just handed out a longer version of "Google does not factor nofollow in their algorithm." He went on to explain a solution, which I believe is very feasible. Allow certain commenters and editors to submit links that are followed to flow page rank.

    SEO is not complicated. Back then, you could get bumped up in the rankings substantially simply by having millions of links pointing to your website. This creates artificial value which is why this method was introduced. Now people who have real content will be found much easier.

    Nowadays, anyone can create a website. Imagine if someone made a website with no useful content (already written from some other source), but he or she paid a lot of money for outbound links pointing to their site. That wouldn't be very fair since the actual content was probably written 50 years ago from some newspaper article that's now public domain. Your hard work in writing unique content would never get noticed because someone was ranking better than you just by having more links.

    In a nutshell, Google's telling webmasters to actually endorse other sites rather than letting random individuals or bots endorse sites on their behalf, while giving the webmasters the ability to endorse their editors / commenters by providing the ability to post as endorsed (followed) links.

    So the short answer, Google does not factor any points in nofollow links. They just don't count. This is a better system. If you don't like it, then you need to consider better means of getting traffic.

    Little bit of extra background, this is similar to when Google gave less weight to keywords and duplicate content. People flipped out, but it worked out in the long run because now people can't spam 5,000 articles with varying keywords and getting placed as the first 10 results of all possible searches. Search engines improve over time. Any pains are just growing pains, I guess that's one way to put it.

  2. Does anyone have any idea how Google treats multiple external links on a page?

    For example, If I write a blog that sites facts backed by legitimate studies and I cite those studies in a reference list, should I add outbound links to those studies (in the reference section at the bottom of the page). I will probably add the link on the study title to include keywords rather than having a 'read more' option.

    I would like to offer the user the option to read more about the journal if they want, however, I don't want to add 20+ outbound links if it's going to effect how Google looks at the site.

    Any thoughts would be most appreciated.

  3. Didn't answer the question. Didn't answer the question at all. He talked about the why of having dofollow or nofollow. He didn't answer how Google treats websites with all nofollow external links.

    Normally Google Webmaster videos are great, and useful. This one? Not so much.

  4. I second everyone who have stated that the actual question was not answered. He should have answered if it is possible to rank higher in Google SERP with just incoming links and no outgoing links at all, like Wikipedia. And yes that certainly defeats the purpose. I think Google is biased when it comes to big names like Wikipedia. If I built a website with just incoming links from high quality sites, I don't think I would rank that higher. Some unexplained ranking factor I guess for Wikipedia.

  5. @GoogleWebmasterHelp: @ollie3030 is right, the root of the question was never answered or expanded upon. What about "evaporated page rank" due to overuse of the nofollow tag for instance? The answer is worthy of a top-notch politician.

  6. @GoogleWebmasterHelp: @ollie3030 is right, the root of the question was never answered or expanded upon. What about "evaporated page rank" due to overuse of the nofollow tag for instance? The answer is worthy of a top-notch politician.

  7. Wikipedia will not 'nuance' any links because it's not in their interest. The only links that would be nofollowed, would be links to trusted sites like CIA Factbook, so they rank better for 'CIA Factbook' which is pointless, because they already rank for those related keywords. Secondly, and more important, it would bring another layer of discussion, fights etc. to the platform which is not in the interest of Wikipedia. So if somebody needs to do the 'nuancing', it's Google. Sorry Matt 🙂

  8. @GoogleWebmasterHelp It's not the answer for the question. The answer should explain how you would treat !WEBSITE! that has ONLY no-follow external links. You answered how are nofollowed links treated (and that almost everyone knows).

  9. @GoogleWebmasterHelp no need to do a video, in order to tell us "nofollow" doesn't pass PR or anchor.
    The question was more subtile, and MC didn't address it.
    If a site is "egocentric" in its links policy, does it impact the way Google look at it ?
    Wikipedia is a bad exemple because Google obviously likes this site … a lot !
    Let's say if a "normal" site use "nofollow" everywhere, is it good, bad, whatever ?

  10. Wikipedia editors copy content from my site. They reference my site, but the links are no-follow, and wikipedia now ranks higher for the same terms. Wikipedia is not punished. My site is. I'm sure Google cares more about how much I spend on adwords. It's not like they don't know which page is older.

  11. @GoogleWebmasterHelp No, he described what nofollow means, but did not say whether there are ramifications are for sites with this sort of policy. The question Matt answered was "how does Google treat LINKS that are nofollowed." Which is not nearly as interesting a question as the one the O.P. asked.

  12. @GoogleWebmasterHelp Still haven't addressed the question, 'How does Google treat a website where all external links are no-follow?' Is there any potential penalty for a website that has all or a majority of it's external links no-followed? Thx

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