How do you feel about sites that use your content and use rel=”nofollow” links to your site? I have been seeing this a lot lately on my blog from sites using trackbacks. I wonder to myself, is this a good thing or are sites taking advantage of all my hard work? And there’s the question “Does this even matter today in SEO?” 

Matt Cutts says that “”Nofollow” provides a way for webmasters to tell search engines “Don’t follow links on this page” or “Don’t follow this specific link.” Matt further states “Essentially, using ‘nofollow’ causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web.” Here’s the link to Matt’s comments.

In the back of my mind I am thinking that the person, who makes a comment with a trackback, wants to create a back link to their website. And when they use the rel=”nofollow” link towards my site, they do not want to create a back link to my original content. Now I do see that I can click on that link, and it will open a web browser with my blog content. But is this really what I want?

How did I know that the link back to my blog had a rel=”nofollow” attribute? When I right mouse click on the link, or the title that supposedly links back to my blog, I can choose “Inspect Element” from the drop down list. [ On a Mac you can click while holding down the Control key. ] Here’s what the element looks like.

No Follow element in code

You will see rel=”nofollow” in the blue highlighted area in the code above.

I can see using rel=”nofollow” for untrusted content. But using it for content that you are putting on your own site seems a little questionable, don’t you think? Matt says this about Untrusted Content: “If you can’t or don’t want to vouch for the content of pages you link to from your site — for example, untrusted user comments or guestbook entries — you should nofollow those links. This can discourage spammers from targeting your site, and will help keep your site from inadvertently passing PageRank to bad neighborhoods on the web.”

According to Matt, these sites may not really want to pass on PageRank to my blog. That really does not really seem fair. You scratch my back, and I will scratch yours should be the standard. Now I do appreciate the fact that these sites have a link that people can click to get to my blog. But is that worth allowing them to create a trackback to their site?

Let’s have a discussion on this post. I would love to have your input here. Thanks.