Larry Brauner
No aspect of the Internet is more critical to understand than hyperlinks or simply links, as we call them. After all, what is the World Wide Web but countless documents which are interconnected by links?

A web page without links in to it can never be discovered by search engines, nor will people find the page unless directed to it. A page without links out of it is a virtual cul de sac, a dead end street from which visitors must back out in order to exit.

Woe to the web page that has neither inbound nor outbound links! :-(

Links Can Transfer Some of Their Authority

When a web page, especially an important one, links to your page, it serves as a recommendation and conveys, i.e. transfers, to your web page some amount of its authority both with search engines and with Internet users. The authority of your page increases, while the authority of the page linking in to you decreases.

When you link to others’ pages you transfer authority to their pages. Their authority of their pages increases, while the authority of yours decreases.

Links play an key role in search engine optimization. They help search engines to gauge the validity and the authority of each page or document on the web.

Why Relinquish Your Authority?

Why should you give away any of the authority that you’ve worked so hard to earn?

Authority isn’t all that matters. Relevance matters. Participation in the web and in your niche’s online community matter too. Generous use of outbound links enhances your pages in ways that both search engines and people can easily appreciate.

The Internet and search engines are mainly research tools, and outbound links help researchers to find and to verify the information they seek.

Linking Without Transferring Authority

There are two cases in which you need to link out but prefer not to give up any of your authority and don’t even want the search engines to follow your link to see where it leads.

When linking to something you’re advertising, it’s common practice to have search engines ignore your link. Why convey authority upon an ad?

There is another case which I discuss in the next section.

To request that a link be ignored by search engines, rel=nofollow is used in the HTML code. (Don’t worry if HTML is too technical for you.) Therefore this type of link is commonly referred to in SEO jargon as a nofollow link. A normal link is referred to as a dofollow link.

Comments on Blogs and Forums

Blogs and forums need comments to thrive. They help to build community and add valuable content which search engines like.

Comment often require links to be meaningful or to identify the commenter. Comments which are completely devoid of links have a sterile quality, so some degree of linking is necessary and desirable.

Unfortunately, links create an opportunity for SPAM.

As I explain in Anti-Social Media Marketing, spammers submit stupid or even obscene comments hoping to build inbound links to their sites.

Why transfer even one iota of your authority to a spammer?

Filtering out these comments is a pain, especially when they’re written to look plausible. For this reason, blogs and forums are programmed to use nofollow links in comments as a disincentive for spammers.

Dofollow Blogs and Forums

Just as nofollow is a disincentive for spammers, it’s a disincentive for real blog commenters and forum posters as well. I know that I prefer (and I’m not alone in my preference) to visit dofollow blogs and get a dofollow link back to my blog when I comment.

Many blogs and forums deal with potential SPAM without resorting to the use of nofollow links. Quite a few forums and some blogs subject their un-vetted commenters to moderation and other restrictions.

How I Make Dofollow Work for Me

Online Social Networking is a dofollow freestanding Wordpress blog. These are eight steps I take to make dofollow work for me:

  1. I use the Askimet plugin to pre-screen comments for SPAM.
  2. I moderate all comments and screen them for SPAM, (as well as inappropriate content, bad spelling and very bad grammar).
  3. I reject SPAM and undesirable comments. (I also correct spelling and grammar when necessary.)
  4. I use the Nofollow Case by Case plugin to override the Wordpress nofollow default.
  5. If a comment is borderline SPAM, I let the comment through, but I tell Nofollow Case by Case to make its links nofollow.
  6. If I want particular links in the body of a comment to be nofollow, I edit the HTML and insert rel=nofollow in the code.
  7. I let regular commenters (whom I like) get away completely with borderline SPAM (with or without a lecture), because I care a lot about their friendship and good will.
  8. I display a You Comment I Follow banner at the bottom of each post to let readers know that my blog is dofollow. Over time my blog has been added to a number of dofollow search engines.

Linking and Dofollow Takeaways

Linking is vital to the Internet. All websites ought to use ample links on their pages, just as I have in this article.

If you blog, consider a dofollow approach. Don’t be afraid to relinquish some of your authority to commenters, because in balance, you can expect to gain.

Now please, leave a great comment below and collect your dofollow link back to your blog or website. ;-)

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

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52 Responses to “The Blogger’s Guide to Links and Comments”

  1. Kathy Hogeveen on November 9th, 2009 12:09 am

    As always, you’ve provided very valuable information that can assist others. I find your blog very resourceful. Thanks!

  2. Larry Brauner on November 9th, 2009 12:23 am

    Thank you very much Kathy.

  3. Mel Smith on November 9th, 2009 12:33 am

    Larry,

    I get lots of traffic from Google to my blog, as I post lots of comments on many places, that I can daily.

    My problem is I have posted about 80 articles on my blog, and no body ever leaves a comment.

    I can’t figure that out.

    I have a great video posted on why you should never get a flu vaccination, and done by Dr. Mercola and Dr. Blaylock, both experts on infectious diseases.

    Mel Smith

  4. Crazieshamrock on November 9th, 2009 12:37 am

    You are the first person who explained this in a way my simple mind can understand. Thank you very much.

  5. Larry Brauner on November 9th, 2009 1:03 am

    @Mel Two things I noticed right away when visiting your blog were your pop-ups, and that you don’t seem to be part of any blogging communities.

    I wonder what types of comments you’re leaving on other people’s blogs. Are you adding something to the conversation?

  6. Mel Smith on November 9th, 2009 1:26 am

    Larry,

    I put your link on my blog in Blogroll, so I now link to this website.

    Thanks for the great info.

    Mel

  7. Mel Smith on November 9th, 2009 1:36 am

    I never read your comment until I posted the last comment.

    Yes Larry, I always get involved in what ever I post a comment on, and leave a lot of my opinions and always contribute to subject matter.

    I just forgot to do that in my first comment…sorry

    And I didn’t put rel-nofollow in the link, I put you as acquaintance - colleague, as that was what WP choice I picked. I guess that was the right thing to do?

  8. Larry Brauner on November 9th, 2009 1:46 am

    I’m not sure about that Mel, but I want to share an observation I’ve made.

    I get traffic from search engines and from social media sites.

    I believe that most of the people who comment are people whom I met at business networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Ning, and at blogging communities such as Entrecard and BlogCatalog.

    If your niche is alternative health, you need to develop lots of connections on social networking sites with people very concerned about health.

  9. Yuri on November 9th, 2009 1:54 am

    Mel,

    First,as Larry said, get rid of all pop-ups and other ads not derectly related to your topic (and at this point, from companies that you know personally and can directly endorse).

    Second, your blog posts seem to be too long and too technical for all but a. if you want to engage others in discussion, you’ll need to shorten and simplify your posts into easily digestible pieces that people can easily understand you major points. It’s hard to make comments on long technical posts that most readers won’t finish reading.

    Third, remember that social media is, above all, SOCIAL first. No matter how great your information might be, it won’t connect with people, unless they know who’s behind it. Right now, I see no signs of you on your blog. No picture, no background, etc.

    What part of your background makes what you post relevant? Are you a Dr, RN or other type of health professional? Also, let us know where else you hang out in the social-sphere. What is your Twitter handle? How can we connect on LinkedIn and Facebook?

    Also, with only 80 posts, you still have a way to go before creating a track record needed to build a community. Getting lots of traffic from Google is meaningless if they don’t stay long. So starting place less focus on Google links and SEO and a lot more attention to sharing who you really are.

  10. Mel Smith on November 9th, 2009 2:31 am

    Yuri,

    I pulled the pop-up, as I didn’t like it either.

    I have a Facebook badge (and a Twitter badge) on the sidebar with my picture in it.

    In my “about” I have some of my history.

    If my posts are too long, I can’t give the pertinent info with out explaining it so it is understood.

    There is a lot of information there, I know, but all I am trying to do is help people to get healthy, and eating garbage food doesn’t promote health.

    What started me on this, is I had colon cancer and the only way I got over it was by going back to nature and eating only organic food for my health.

    Thanks for the help Larry and Yuri, I have been doing this for over two years now and I just keep posting what ever is in the news right now, and what it takes to get through some sickness. I am a 13 year cancer survivor, and I didn’t get healthy by the conventional way. That will just make you sicker.

    I’ll try to make my posts shorter from now on, and see if it will work.

    Thanks.

    Mel

  11. Blog Tactic on November 9th, 2009 4:02 am

    If a page is relevant, we should be generous to link to it. But if everyone thinks that giving way a link will degrade their authority, then that contradicts the purpose of the Internet which promotes the networking of sites.

    Richie

  12. Josiah on November 9th, 2009 6:48 am

    This is very useful! I also use a freestanding Wordpress as one of my blogs, and the tips are very helpful. Providing a lot of examples in your tips helps people as well, the concepts lose their abstractness and become palpable. :) I am looking forward to more tips/posts! :)

  13. Inez Bracy on November 9th, 2009 8:09 am

    Larry,

    Thank you for your informative and practical tips.

  14. Peg Corwin on November 9th, 2009 8:50 am

    You’ve taught me how to better manage blog comments and no-follow links. Appreciate it, Larry. And I Stumbled and reviewed the post, too.

  15. Peg Corwin on November 9th, 2009 9:12 am

    I’d like to ask you and other bloggers reading this post if they read all their spam comments before they delete them? I typically scan the current page of foreign language and drug promo comments and hit Delete All Spam. Does anybody think it’s worthwhile to check page by page for the odd real comment that might be mismarked?

  16. The Goddess Dionna on November 9th, 2009 9:58 am

    Very helpful, useful information. Thank you for posting!

  17. Cheryl H on November 9th, 2009 10:01 am

    Larry,

    As usual, great post. I can’t tell you how much I’m learning! I do have a question about HTML links in comments. Is putting an HTML link as part of a signature, ie Comment, Signed Cheryl considered the norm, or will that generally be regarded as spam?

  18. Larry Brauner on November 9th, 2009 10:21 am

    @Peg Thank you for Stumbling my article.

    I do quickly scan my spam looking for people I know. One of my friends is a borderline spammer and usually ends up in spam.

    @Cheryl. Thank you. I saw on Twitter that your web page is being redone. Please email me when it’s ready, so I can have a peek.

    As far as your question, on blogs you should enter your website if and where it’s indicated only. On many forums however, signature files are the norm.

  19. Shari Weiss on November 9th, 2009 11:53 am

    Hey, Larry,

    Interesting discussion, but my simple mind [unlike Crazieshamrock above] still doesn’t get the NOFOLLOW business.

    You seem to be available — and happy — to check out people’s sites, so can you check mine out and tell me if I’m leaving anything “on the table” by not understanding NOFOLLOW??

    Thanks
    Shari Weiss
    Sharisax is Out There

  20. Larry Brauner on November 9th, 2009 12:19 pm

    Hey Shari,

    Overall your blog is on the right track, although (technically speaking only) some tweaking is definitely possible.

    As far as dofollow vs. nofollow is concerned, there is no right choice. It’s a judgment call.

    While I recommend dofollow, I wouldn’t criticize anybody consciously choosing the nofollow approach.

    Your blog is nofollow. If you want to change that, you can download and install a plugin, such as the one I use, to make it dofollow.

    A side note: I had to fish your comment out of spam. That may have been because you included a link in the body of the comment referring back to your site, or it may be that you’ve pursued an aggressive commenting policy, and that a number of people have classified your comments as spam.

    In any case, avoid including links back to your site in the body of comments.

  21. Debbie Morgan on November 9th, 2009 12:48 pm

    Hi Larry

    Thanks for the linking primer. It helps me understand the linking process much better.

    Also, Mel, if your blog is do-follow, I’d be glad to visit and leave relevant comments. I prefer healthy solutions that are natural in my own life.

    Deb

  22. Hannah @CookingManager.Com on November 9th, 2009 4:40 pm

    I also never understood the concept, and will be going back to my blogs to examine the settings.

  23. Tina on November 9th, 2009 6:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing all this info. Your insights are very informative. I’m a new follower, but will certainly be back to read your new posts.

  24. Shari Weiss on November 9th, 2009 6:27 pm

    Thanks so much, Larry.

    I had NO idea that I wasn’t supposed to put my website into a comment.

    HMMMM . . . thanks for the tip

    Also, someone awhile ago had suggested I do “something” to “nofollow.”

    I didn’t understand it then, and I still don’t understand exactly what that means.

    Any way you can explain it further?

    Thanks
    Shari

  25. Larry Brauner on November 9th, 2009 11:44 pm

    Shari,

    Right now your blog comments are set for nofollow, and as I’ve said above that’s okay.

    However, if you want to encourage more people to comment, you can follow the eight steps I outlined in my article.

    Visitors may be more likely to comment if they know they’re getting a dofollow link back to their sites.

  26. Shari Weiss on November 10th, 2009 1:46 am

    I give up, Larry

    I read your steps BUT I still don’t know how to change from NOFOLLOW to DOFOLLOW.

    On the Dashboard?

    In settings?

    Shari

  27. Sam Ragnarsson on November 10th, 2009 8:27 am

    Hi Larry,

    It is funny that after surfing the Internet for years, and reading countless articles about how to build up your website and other Internet marketing strategies, that I am seeing this information for the first time now.

    Thank you very much for your article, and I will be checking up on both new and old content on your side regularly.

    I only started my blog website this week and will have to talk to my IT guy to find out how these things are set up on our side.

    thanks again,
    Sam

  28. Market Segmentation on November 10th, 2009 10:11 am

    Hi Larry,

    This is a needed post. Many people don’t understand dofollow. Some think it means if you come to my blog and comment, I will go to your blog and comment. I’m working on a post about this issue.

    I now think the most important activity in Internet marketing (blogging) is to build a group of blogger friends who are in your niche or serve your market, and build relationships with them.

    As a dofollow blogger, I choose to build my friends from other dofollow bloggers. But I will still link to other relevant sites and blogs when relevant to my post.

    Linking out and reaching out to other bloggers is a great way to build a network and to make friends that you can work with.

    I consider you one of my best friends online. I always read your emails and link to posts from them because I know you provide good content and because you’re my friend.

    That’s the way external linking should work.

    I think you should also do a post on the importance of internal linking. You know how much that activity alone helped my search engine traffic. And you were the one who told me about it.

  29. Larry Brauner on November 10th, 2009 11:27 am

    @Shari Try reading this Wordpress article, Managing Plugins, and see if it helps. See especially the section on installing plugins.

  30. Larry Brauner on November 10th, 2009 1:00 pm

    Anybody using Blogger or Blogspot who wants to implement dofollow should read How to Make Your WordPress or Blogger Blog DoFollow.

  31. DaisySoapGirl on November 11th, 2009 1:21 pm

    Once again thanks for your valuable information. I find that social networking is an ongoing lesson and I appreciate the way you keep us updated.

  32. Steve-Success Factors on November 11th, 2009 8:23 pm

    Larry, thanks for an excellent breakdown of links and of the process you use to discriminate your own use of following versus no following.

  33. Evan Beck on November 13th, 2009 11:03 pm

    Larry,

    You always write detailed posts. I just referenced this in a blog, and gave you a Stumble too.

    Thanks!

  34. Erich Miller on November 17th, 2009 1:49 am

    Thanks for the follow on Twitter. Will be following back.

    Reading over at a certain marketing forum, there was a discussion about backlinks and if they had any real authority at all. Someone had posted a message mentioning that they had put up a static page with affiliate links and just threw it out there and forgot about it. No social linking, no backlinking, no real seo, etc etc… and it is converting very well in sales and very close to the top for his keywords. Makes you wonder how Google behaves sometimes.

  35. Larry Brauner on November 17th, 2009 2:05 am

    There are as you say many factors that affect search engine results. The age of a page is believed to be one of them.

  36. Pratishtha on November 26th, 2009 8:58 am

    A very valuable post. Since I am a new blogger it is going to take me some time to digest all the information that you are providing, however I got one point very clear and that is I must give outbound links in my posts. I did not get how to find out which one is a “do follow” or “no follow”? I will revisit your site many times to get a clarity on all these issues. Thanks a lot for sharing so much through your blog.

  37. Anup on November 29th, 2009 4:48 am

    Hi you all and dear blog author,

    I suggest you all my friends not to don’t turn your blog into a Do Follow blog. See my blog for the answer to why not.

    Thank you!

  38. Larry Brauner on November 29th, 2009 11:33 am

    Fortunately Anup, I’ve had great success with the Do Follow approach. My Google PR is presently 4, and I receive 5,000 visits per month from search alone (plus another 8,000 from subscribers and social media). If you’re looking to explain low Google PR or low traffic, you’ll need to look for additional possible causes.

  39. Pam Dyer on December 4th, 2009 1:37 pm

    Thanks for this great post, Larry! I’m just getting going with my WordPress blog, and I use Do Follow, CommentLuv, and KeywordLuv. I know I have a lot of work to do to improve my 0 pagerank.

  40. Larry Brauner on December 4th, 2009 2:18 pm

    You have a great blog Pam!

    What you need most are inbound links. A quick way to get them is to bookmark your blog and each individual article on dofollow bookmarking sites such as Jumptags, Diigo, Linkagogo, etc.

    See Social Marker.

    Consider also removing your blogroll or moving it to a separate page. Outbound links on your sidebar can drain your page rank.

  41. Barbara Platt on January 15th, 2010 6:04 pm

    I use hyperlinks throughout my stories, always have. But your story is very enlightening.
    Thanks, Barbara

  42. thread gauge on January 17th, 2010 2:14 am

    I am not sure whether link building really helps. Some consider them as spam and can affect your popularity.

  43. Matthew Kramer on April 25th, 2010 11:28 pm

    Thanks for the great info Larry. I am a new business using the internet to connect with people worldwide. This information really helps me understand how links work on the internet.
    Thanks, Matthew.

  44. Social Media Marketing Impact on Search Engine Optimization on June 29th, 2010 6:30 pm

    […] media itself can generate valuable backlinks to your website. Your blog posts, your comments on dofollow blogs and your content on dofollow social media sites, such as Amplify and Posterous, can all link back […]

  45. 10 Ways Integrate and Enhance Enterprise Social Media on July 19th, 2010 3:43 pm

    […] Out – Establish your openness and generosity by linking to articles by thought leaders in your industry — even those of your competitors, if […]

  46. Bit Doze on October 7th, 2010 4:14 am

    I am trying to build links every way I can, but the most used tactic that I am using is commenting on other blogs.

  47. Larry Brauner on October 7th, 2010 8:39 am

    Touché.

  48. My Dirty Little Secrets of Search | Online Social Networking on February 27th, 2011 9:25 pm

    […] the Search Engines - Lay out your site, tag your images and your posts, and embed your internal and outbound links in ways that make it easy for search engines to determine the subject, thesis and nuances of each […]

  49. Richie Lloyd on May 15th, 2011 1:17 pm

    Thank you for this post Larry. I am new to the wonderful world of blogging and your content is helping me to achieve my own goals. SEO and backlinks and similar were alien terms to me until I started to read your information. Regards. Richie

  50. Karla Campos on May 18th, 2011 11:34 am

    Wonderful post Larry, I am the number one cheerleader for DoFollow but it is great that you describe cases where NoFollow is the choice to go with, such as your own affiliate ad links. I will add your blog to my DoFollow blog list on Facebook :)

  51. Larry Brauner on May 18th, 2011 11:51 am

    Thank you very much Karla. I appreciate your support.

  52. Lynda@panic away scam on September 12th, 2011 10:09 pm

    With the latest Panda update by Google I think even no follow comments seems to carry weight and are working. I’ve seem good results even commenting on blogger blogs.

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