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Comment Spam and Reciprocal Links
Watch For New Anchor Tag In Link Exchanges
Originally Published: January 19, 2005
Today Google introduced a new tag
which will also be honored by MSN and Yahoo. The purpose of this tag is to fight "comment spam".
Comment Spam Defined
Comment spam refers to entries user place in guest books, blogs, etc. which include links back to the user's site. This spam may help the user increase the PR of his site by creating links from legitimate, highly ranked sites.
Like most spam, this comment spam is an annoying waste of time and bandwidth.
No Follow Anchor Tag Details
The new tag (rel="nofollow") is added by the owner of the site where the comment is posted, it tells Google and the other search engines to ignore that link for calculating pagerank and link counts.
Here is an example of a normal and modified anchor tag:
Visit my <a href="http://www.spammer-heaven.com/">Spammer Heaven</a> site.
That comment would be transformed to
Visit my <a href="http://www.spammer-heaven.com/" rel="nofollow">Spammer Heaven</a> site.
Notice that the nofollow tag can be applied on a per link basis by the site owner. This gives the owner greater control than the NOINDEX META tag or the
which function on a per page basis.
The No Follow Anchor Tag & Reciprocal Links
The new no follow tag is intended for sites which allow the user to post comments but it should work in any HTML page. This presents an opportunity for unscrupulous webmasters to offer "reciprocal links" which are useless. The webmaster can offer to exchange links but he can put the no follow tag in the anchors on his site which negates any gain from the search engines.
If you offer to trade links you need to inspect the source code of the page where your link will reside. You should look for the "no follow" tag in the anchor as well as older tricks which prevent the links from being properly indexed by the search engines.
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