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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Top Technology Blogs Retaliate Against Wikipedia Nofollow

wikipedia nofollowI was reading a few popular technology blogs recently (no names), and I noticed a funny thing: every time a Wikipedia link was mentioned in a post, it was tagged with a nofollow attribute.

Nofollow tells search engines to ignore a link as a "vote" for the website it points to. Google's PageRank algorithm is the most famous example of how links are used to determine the relevance of webpages.

Wikipedia started adding the nofollow attribute to outgoing links back in January 2007 so websites that were mentioned in Wikipedia articles would no longer see a search engine boost. Wikipedia articles tend to highly ranked in almost every category so websites used to get a huge boost by being mentioned. For example, almost a quarter of Wikipedia's traffic comes from being listed prominently in Google search results.

It looks like some bloggers are retaliating by nofollowing Wikipedia links in their posts. It's an issue of basic fairness. One analogy that's used is that links to Wikipedia disappear into a black hole because link power flows in, but it doesn't flow out. Only Wikipedia benefits.

If you feel that's unfair, all you need to do is add rel="nofollow" to your Wikipedia links. As an example, I added the nofollow attribute to the link to the Wikipedia article on nofollow above. If you have trouble, you can see how it's implemented by viewing the HTML source.

WordPress bloggers have it easier: just install the Wikipedia Nofollow plugin.


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Comment Archive

Reader Comments:

Sorry, but the Wikipedia has no reason to 'benefit'. They're a non-profit organisation and the extra visitors means more strain on servers!

Also, Wikimedia aren't being malicious but are trying to prevent people from being malicious.

I'm most concerned about the search engine implications since many of ranking algorithms are based on the number of links to a web page. Nofollow tells search engines to ignore them.

This means that Wikipedia will have a disproportionate chance of ranking higher simply by refusing to pass PageRank on to sites that are linked in Wikipedia articles. It isn't that Wikipedia benefits so much as other websites and blogs are hurt.

I understand that nofollow is being used to discourage Wikipedia abuse, but there are also unintended side effects.

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