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Does Dofollow Influence Your Willingness to Comment?

Does Dofollow Influence Your Willingness to Comment?

In Consider Carefully What Name You Use to Comment, Chris Cree responds to my post on which name to use in blog comment forms with an interesting point that still haunts blog comments: the nofollow versus dofollow issue.

…since I announced I was turning off NoFollow here I’ve been singled out by some SEO blogs as a blog with decent page rank with NoFollow off.

So now some folks come here to leave marginal comments obviously looking more for link juice than to add to the conversation.

I understand what they are doing. And I truly don’t mind if folks see SuccessCREEations as a good place to comment.

After all that was part of my intention in turning off NoFollow in the first place.

However I feel comments that use key words in the “Name” box must meet a much higher standard to avoid getting tagged as spam. If they aren’t adding to the conversation, or if I can’t see what they are getting at right away I’ll mark them as spam rather than just delete them.

I mean a spam comment is left for the sole purpose of producing a link back to the another site. I see no difference in spam left by automated machine and spam left behind by a person.

Which begs the question:

Does dofollow impact your willingness to comment on a blog post?

What is Dofollow and Nofollow?

When evil doers started abusing blog comments as a place to spread their wares, Google introduced a link attribute for taking away the “link juice”, the ability for links within comments to add to a site’s PageRank. It was called the nofollow:

<a href="" title="A Blog" rel="nofollow">link text</a>

If the value of links in comments was removed from the equation, then why would comment spammers continue to spam?

Because people clicked on the spam links irregardless of the lack of power in the link. Because the comments were indexed, in spite of the page ranking score, bringing people searching for those terms to the site, which would lead the visitor to click on the link in the comment.

So it didn’t work. It didn’t work because Google was the only one using it, and the other search engines didn’t jump on board. It didn’t work because the money kept coming in. It didn’t work because it didn’t hurt comment spammers. Not one bit.

Many bloggers decided they wanted to give “credit” to those who comment on their blogs, so they created the “Dofollow” phenomenon. By removing the automatically generated nofollow from their blogs by digging into the code or using a WordPress Plugin, they announced to the world that if you comment on their blogs, the link in your comment form to your blog, and any links within the blog comments, would “count” towards points in your page ranking score. If all other things were equal, of course. There is a lot that goes into determining a site’s PageRank.

These bloggers are so proud of offering a “Dofollow Zone” on their blogs, giving value to those to comment, they believe that people comment more on their blogs because of their Dofollow policy.

Do you?

See Also
YouTube features for Content Creators

Do You Comment More on Dofollow Blogs?

Does the issue of whether or not a blog has a Dofollow policy influence your willingness or frequency to comment on their blog?

Chris Cree thinks so. So do many others. Though, he mentions that he can tell when people are leaving half-hearted comments just to get the benefit of the comment link, which frustrates him.

Do you think they are really commenting just because he has a Dofollow policy?

Blog commenters run the gamut from intelligent and thoughtful comments to simple “thank you”, “good job”, and other half-hearted comments. But what is their motivation?

Do they really want to thank you? Do they really want to give you a compliment, but get something like a little stage fright when they get to the comment box? Do they get nervous and end up saying something weak and insignificant? Or are they really trolling for page rank points?

I think the weak comments were there before he started his Dofollow policy. They have always been there, no matter how hard those of us who blog about blogging work to educate blog users to comment better.

I want to know. Do you comment more or specifically on blogs with a Dofollow Comment Policy? Do you check to see if they have such a policy before commenting? Is the Dofollow that important to you?

Or do you comment because the blog post inspired you to comment?

View Comments (56)
  • I leave comments because I have something to say, not because of SEO advantage. Not all search engines put value in the nofollow tag. My guess is that this is just a phase and commenters and bloggers will move on to the next “big thing” shortly.

    BeachBum Michael

  • Interesting take on the whole DoFollow thing, Lorelle. There are two sides to the coin.

    First, from a reader perspective DoFollow/NoFollow has no bearing on whether I leave a comment. I comment for conversation, to add value to that site, and because I have way too many things to say not to comment. If I find I get a link back as a result I consider it a nice bonus.

    Then from the author perspective my primary motivation for the DoFollow was more philosophical than just encouraging comments (although in order to be completely honest I freely admitted that encouraging comments did factor in.)

    To my way of thinking, NoFollow, as implemented in the WordPress default setup, penalizes everyone uniformly. I never like to see good people punished just because there are bad operators out there.

    Turning off NoFollow has made some minor headaches for me as an author. I figure that is worth it to keep from penalizing the good folks who add to the conversation over at my place.

    That’s one of the things I love about WordPress. It is flexible and we can adjust the features however we want. And all the plugins that are out there make customization incredibly easy too!

  • I think comments that just say “good job” or something like that are not only for the link juice. But as I think about it, maybe it’s just for the link in the first comment spot. I have a no-follow policy and I still get these comments.

    They could just be people of few words… and marking that post as some of your better ones. I guess it depends on how often they do it.

  • Chris: Good point. I’m sure that will help people understand the reasonings from the different perspectives. It is always about what helps the reader as well as what helps the blogger, a tough balancing act at times.

    The funny thing about this whole dofollow/nofollow thing is that it doesn’t work. Comment spammers haven’t slowed down or been impacted in the least. Comments continue to be indexed, no matter what. The links in the comments matter, followed or not, as Google gives so little attention to scoring these. Why bother?

    Yet, so many bloggers put so much emphasis on this technique, when it doesn’t change anything.

    I wonder if anyone has done a stats study to see if their blog’s page rank has changed solely due to the comments they leave on other blogs (followed or not) and not by the natural increase in readership and traffic due to all of the other elements.

  • I agree with beachbum, i leave comments if i have something to add or just to let the poster know that they provided some useful info. in fact in reading this i learned about some things to look out for on my blog from my commenters.

  • Nice post Lorelle. I can completely understand why people feel more inclined to comment on blogs that use DoFollow. I myself use it to entice people to leave comments. The down side I see is that I don’t believe it increases the quality of comments, as Chris mentioned, comment spam is at the same level it always was. In fact, you could say it’s worse because not only do you get true spam but you get the “Good post”, “Thanks for the post” or “I agree” kind of comments that are generally worthless.

    It’s a double edge sword, especially for relatively young blogs. No comments can imply no activity (much like a new forum) and turn people off while activity tends to breed more activity.

    Personally I don’t comment based on whether or not I gt a link back, I look at it as a perk offered by the blog owner but I don’t go looking for just blogs that offer it to comment on. If I read something interesting and I’ve got an opinion or comment, I’ll offer it up, regardless of whether or not I’m getting a link out of it.

  • Personally I don’t really care. The amount of juice you’d get from a dofollow link is so minimal if you’re that worried about it you’re better off getting a link on a PR 7 page that has very few outgoing links.

    With that said, I also haven’t noticed an increase of comments on blogs that use dofollow (including my own). I think it’s because people don’t know, or they don’t care too much about that extra .00002% of juice.

  • As a reader I generally comment if the post moves me to do so.

    As a blog owner, there’s something a bit hard about reading a comment that seems really superfluous (Nice post!) and is pretty obviously just a plot for a link back to their site.

    After having “nofollow” removed, I have an increase in both good quality comments and spam ones – so the end result is rather a wash, but I have to be more vigilant about checking comments for links to undesireable sites.

  • I’ve been asking myself – do I really care about the number of comments? One point I got so caught up with blog stats that it started affecting my emotions. Isn’t that SAD???

  • I usually comment when I feel the post has moved me to say something, I try and say more than just “great post”.

    Not really just looking for those site with the do follow plugin.

    I use Lucia’s Linky love plugin so a commenter has to leave a set amount of comments before the no follow tag is removed.

  • I leave a comment because I really have something to say, or to add to the conversation. It is a two-way conversation, it comes from within, not because whether the blogger has the enabled “do follow”.

    That being said, no. I will not leave a comment just because a blog that has enabled “do follow” because then, it wouldn’t be fair to me and to the blogger.

  • It has no impact on me. I leave a comment if I feel I have some input into the topic which might be relevant. I find that 90% of my comments don’t contain any links (other than my linked URL on the comment form) and so I don’t get any Googlejuice from them.

  • I would comment either way on the blogs that I comment on. However I do find myself more willing to send the time to put my thoughts into words so that I can comment on blogs with nofollow. I don’t want to be marked as spam though so I try very hard to make my comment extremely relevant.

    I don’t think that that is bad though, if you add to the conversation then you are not spamming.

  • Huh. I never thought about nofollow that way. Indeed, the “threat” of having one of my comments picked up as comment spam, which has nothing to do with nofollow and more to do with the spam filter system on the blog, has changed how I respond to comments.

    Leaving comments like “thank you”, “great work”, and “good point”, along with those with two or more links in them, terrify me as I don’t want to get caught in the spam filter process.

    So in a way, while the nofollow issue hasn’t changed how I comment, the spam filter process changed it dramatically.

    Good point!

  • There are obviously many different motivations for posting a comment. I am not going to go find a link that covers this phenomenon more comprehensively, but for now, to the extent the blog has real content, I’ll go with following motivations for posting a comment:

    (1) Adding to the conversation.
    (2) Positive support [great post, etc.].
    (3) Googlejuice seekers.
    (4) Splog.

    Of these 4 gross generalizations, adding to the conversation is the most elegant and relevant option. Like a few comments above (Dan…), I am sure that there are some valid, non-abusive “positive comments” that are solely providing positive encouragement without seeking anything in return. The issue of nofollow etc will evolve as we settle down/broaden the concept of contributors to the conversation. As people’s comfort level rises with participating on line, one’s presence on line will start to become one’s real and unavoidable public profile, a mashup of who you are — all the way to being your CV, calling card. And, to my mind, ultimately nofollow, to the extent it will have no benefit to contributors, will not help traffic. It certainly won’t stop spam (despite the little signal). I will be interested to follow the nofollow debate.

  • Minter: Just a bit of information. The “nofollow debate” has been going on for over two years, and it’s dead. It didn’t work. It never did. And now it’s just a matter of getting the news out to everyone.

    The “debate” at present is whether or not publicly stating that a blog has a “dofollow” policy influences comments. The nofollow/dofollow doesn’t work, but the perception is that is might influence comments.

  • One of the main reasons I am moving from Blogger to WordPress is the inability to remove nofollow from Blogger classic comments. Instead I have been manually creating a link list of those who comment and publishing this on my front page, where no follow is removed. I do not do it for the search engines but as a way of thanking those who take the time to comment.

    It did not even occur to me to not leave comments on blogs where links are not followed, until I read this and I don’t intend to let the thought influence me. I leave comments when I feel I have something to contribute and the 1 link created by this is enough for me. The majority of my regular readers have wandered my way via the blogs I have left comments on.

  • Okay, I just want to understand this stunning comment. You left Blogger over the nofollow issue? Something that doesn’t work, doesn’t change anything, and doesn’t help or not help? Wow! I hope there were others reasons, but anyone switching to WordPress is a star in my book. :D

    I’m glad the concept didn’t carry over to your willingness to comment. Comments count, as content, conversation, support, and “resume” building.

  • 1. Mindset

    Most of the people who have joined the dofollow community are “giving” in nature and tend to like reading other blogs written by people giving in nature, whatever the consequences.

    2. People were leaving links to their blogs before nofollow was introduced. If nofollow was introduced to fight comment spam, then giving people will use it on links for comment spammers, or preferably moderate their comments so there is no spam. Why should they leave it on comments?

    3. If someone is leaving a link, it might as well be relevant for them. My policy is such that regulars can abuse anchor text as much as they like, and I even allow it for more casual visitors as long as they add value and are linking through to a site that clearly identifies them as a person and I can find out something about them and is a quality site.
    this is especially true if they are using deep linking to relevant content, and I actively encourage linking such as:-
    Andy Beard on Deep Linking
    David Airey : Graphic Design
    Alister Cameron : Blogologist

    4. Community – not everyone has taken advantage of it (or even knows about it), but the community on Bumpzee I have built up is close to 400 like minded blogs and bloggers.
    The bloggers in the community do read other blogs as well, but they also pick up the community feed.
    You are a member of a blog network, and other blog networks also have a lot of interlinking and shared juice.

    5. I would say that a good 70-80% of my commenters are fellow “dofollow” bloggers from the community, and I spend more time reading community blogs than blogs outside.

    6. Dofollow and effect on SEO ?

    Lets look at the Blog Herald

    16000 pages, of which 13000 are in the supplemental index

    Lets look at my site

    1820 pages of which 500 are supplemental

    With 8-10x as many incoming links, the blog herald really could do a bit better, unless there is some sacrificial SEO going on.

    Lorelle on WordPress isn’t doing much better than BH

    So on a well optimized WordPress blog there is very little negative effect of having nofollow removed from comments, and the amount of juice that is passed to commenters is minimal, just like blogrolls.

    Why do people have blogrolls? Mainly to be nice to the blog they read, which typically is the blogs of the people who leave the most comments on their blogs. There is very little difference, other than a sitewide blogroll doesn’t really add any content, it is just a list of links.

    7. There have been studies done by people based upon ranking purely from commenting, though often using tools you wouldn’t approve of (and incidentally ones I haven’t ever used either)
    It still works, and active bloggers using good comment spam tools are not their intended targets. They are looking for low hanging fruit.

    8. Having nofollow removed in itself does not encourage more spam. I have a few sites you know of which are dofollow, PR5, and get no comments.
    I am not posting on them actively, but all the same, they have juice, and the only spam comments placed get eaten by Spam Karma
    2 of those blogs are also members of the Dofollow community, so anyone working their way through the member sites all the way to the end will eventually hit those sites as well.
    It is interesting how creative people can be with comments about my snowfall plugin in the middle of the Summer.

    9. You would have to leave a lot of comments for it to have a massive effect on your search ranking if you are commenting on blogs that are not related to your niche

    10. Most of the people who link to a blog are people who leave comments, and dofollow also encourages linking, because a trackback or pingback has anchor text.

    Thus whilst people don’t consciously leave comments on dofollow bloggers in preference, they do tend to spend time on dofollow blogs, and I encourage them to find blogs in their own niches. WP2.3 and universal adoption of tagging will help with that a lot.

  • Sometimes it’s a mix of both. Commenting because of the link juice and sometimes really commenting because I have something to say on the topic.

  • I think this dofollow/nofollow thing is really getting out of hand. Predictably, some bloggers are using it to hold commenters to ransom. ie: If you want to post a comment on someone’s blog, they force you to create multiple backlinks to them on your own blog. This seems like some bloggers are really abusing the whole purpose of the dofollow movement.

  • Visiting a blog because it is dofollow isn’t bad. Commenting just because it is dofollow is.
    All commentors should honor the author by commenting on-topic and with relevance. Both sides win, just be courteous and pay for your link when you comment.

  • I think that most people who comment don’t do it for dofollow reason, but because they are really interested into subject. Anyway, even nofollow link will bring some human visitors to their sites. Of course, according dofollow may be a supplementary stimulent for some of them.

  • If the remark is relevant to the topic at hand, and shows some kind of genuine insight rather than some seeming amalgam of regurgitated language, why should it face a higher threshhold? People who don’t use keywords in the name field make just as inane comments as those who don’t. Just turn it off if you don’t want folks to build PR on your site.

  • What’s ironic is that there is so much fuss over something that doesn’t work and doesn’t change anything. Whether or not the Blog Herald chooses to use nofollow or not changes nothing. Your comment here gets you as much “link juice” as not using nofollow. The comment is still indexed. The words in the comment still get keyword credit to and from your blog. All the points you would get are still there.

    So my point is why bother.

  • Times are changing on the internet. The future of the internet is centered around community and building relationships. Being do follow is a way of encouraging visitors to your blog to post comments and become part of your blog community.

    Of course the spammers will always be with use, but I find it just takes a few minutes a day to weed them out thanks to Spam Karma.

  • @Mike:

    Ah, another believer in the dofollow mythology. Since nofollow is not accepted by any search engine but Google, and Google doesn’t practice what it preaches, you can add nofollow and dofollow (there is no such thing for search engines, by the way) as much as you want and nothing will happen.

    There are much better ways to encourage and build a blog community. Try things that actually are real and work. :D

  • I leave comments because I want to add something to the blog post, not to get a link back to my blog.

  • A dofollow blog is more likely to attract my attention. I am more willing to read a few posts and think about the authors words. In part this is because I attribute dofollow bloggers as being more blog community centered individuals and I like that. However, dofollow doesn’t increase my desire to comment. Content, only, determines if I will comment.

  • I think that everyone gets a bit more excited when they see a dofollow blog… That means that their comments are that much more important. However, it doesn’t necessarily increase the likelihood that I will comment as I do need something worthwhile to say. However, I am more willing to put up with little site annoyances such as popups and slow loading pages. :-)

  • Yes I am more inclined to comment on a dofollow. Net etiquette says I should use a user name; not keywords anchor text. And yet that does not take full advantage of dofollow. I have a suggestion. Allow the user to use a emoticon and get his keywords to put into the image alt. Example . That way it encourages them even more to leave a comment, and net etiquette is satisfied.

  • nofollow – I hate it- internet is dofollow ;) nofollow means: Ok I would like to have your thoughts your content – but otherwise you are a spammer- so you get nofollow per default

    we violate the intention of internet with nofollow per default – I have every of my blogs with dofollow – I delete seo spam – less than 2 minutes per day –

    comments are content for a website – we can’t close our eyes to realize that content is the king in www.
    maybe you hate seos – but to have much comments with nofollow is seo in pure culture – you can’t be a better seo blogger ;)

    love pings and trackbacks but the backlink is nofollow ;) so blogherald and all blogs are better seos than I – because I use dofollow …

    to say : I hate seos so I have nofollow is an antagonism – but this is yours not mine ;)

    • Maybe it’s a language thing, but I’d just like to be clear. Nofollow doesn’t work. It doesn’t matter if your links have the nofollow tag or not. Google is the only one who tried this and it didn’t work. They admitted it didn’t work. They, and other search engines, index ALL links. Google is the only one that takes away a minor score point when it comes to their Page Rank, insignificant unless they’ve changed their secret sauce algorithm lately. The nofollow/dofollow is just talk, little more. As a web design firm, you should know better. :D

  • Hi Lorelle ,

    linkjuice is not only pagerank – and nofollow = no linkjuice –
    try it out: a little website and all backlinks are with nofollow. ;)
    do not use google toolbar for this experiment -this is necessary

    …. and try to find a site of this website by google

    two months ago I’ve tested this out: I haven’t find any indexed page, now I’ll try it again

    in Europe Google is the leader:
    last month I have 20 visitors from Yahoo – 35 from Altavista , ~21K from Google, and ~ 17K type- in- user or from other websites

    Incoming links all dofollow – outgoing links ~50% nofollow – and the website has a very good /modern seo :-).

    I’m an old seo – I spent dofollow links – I write comments at nofollow blogs ( but most of the time on english blogs) – content is written by myself (!) ;-)

    kindly regards

  • I’m new to the blogosphere and have no idea how to even tell if someone else’s blog is a dofollow or nofollow one (despite having read a dozen posts about the issue), so it’s an entirely moot point for me. However, I can’t imagine having anything to say about a post I wasn’t interested in – I don’t have the time, and my skills at blow-smoke-up-the-hooha are not particulary well developed. So if I ever do figure out how to identify blogs as dofollow, I will still continue to only post comments on those blogs which I find relevant or interesting. Like yours.

    And regarding putting dofollow on my own blog… well, I’m still screwing up the courage to upgrade to the latest WordPress version which, having read your post on that issue, I know I should really do soon.

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  • I tend to look more at dofollow blogs, however I wouldn’t comment unless I had something interesting to say.

    I think you may be skewing the population sampled by having a nofollow blog. People who wouldn’t comment on a nofollow are hardly likely to comment!

    Personally I quite like anchor text on comments. It lets me know if their site is likely to be of interest to me. I really like keywordluv for this, which also lets you see the person’s name.

  • Of course it influences people to comment. But only people who have a website ot blog and who are trying to get links for SEO. This means that more people will be commenting on SEO, blogging, social media and Internet dofollow blogs. This is because many, if not most people who read these types of blogs have blogs of their own.

    I doubt seriously that not nearly as many people reading gardening, fishing, golf or relationship blogs will care whether a blog is dofollow or nofollow. That’s because only a lot less readers interested in these subjects have their own blogs.

    But on a whole, even on subjects where people DO care about dofollow vs. nofollow, it would be good policy to have a dofollow blog in order to promote interaction. If the spammers want to spam, who cares. Just skip their self-promoting comments.

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  • Great Stuff everyone likes the link love! I don’t think nofollow has really cut spam out either so if people monitor their blogs correctly and don’t approve obvious spam comments then i think this is fair. Then people whole actually contributed to the article get their deserved link love!

  • Most of the time it is the mixture of both, sometime we only comment for the sake of back link and some time we really want discus the topic. And in my opinion do-follow, back-links are good in the favor of a website and no-follow could be the source of getting a few amount of traffic onto the website. But now in 2017 SEO dynamics are very difficult and new, we should need to read the new techniques carefully.

  • You raised good points about the blog commenting that rather we have to write a comment or leave no comments after reading a post. But, I think if people really want to share their thoughts on a specific topic and that can also add to the knowledge of the people. Then people should leave a comment.
    Thank you for pointing us to think about our general practices.

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  • encouraging comments (although in order to be completely honestly). I never like to see good people punished just because there are bad operators out there so their are always on the bottom of sear result. Thanks for sharing

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