Digg announced that they recently added nofollow to some of their links. This is a significant move because Digg is one of the only major/mainstream social media to strip the noffollow attributes to the links created by their users. In order to avoid spam, all major social media: YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Wikipedia, Delicious, LinkedIn etc. apply the rel=”nofollow” link attribute.
The most significant move is that Digg did not apply the nofollow link to all of their user generated links. Their popular content will still have “dofollow” links. Google is quite happy about this and is making a push so that Wikipedia remove some nofollow links, to quote Matt Cutts:
Google does something similar with Knol. Initially Knol authors received nofollow’ed links, but as we gain more trust in authors, we can remove those nofollows. As I recently said in another video, if a site like Wikipedia had good confidence in an editor, you could imagine links made by that editor not having the nofollow attribute. So if you have a way to determine which user-generated links are trustworthy, that could be a more nuanced measure of when to use the nofollow attribute. I discussed this subject a bit more in this video in case you’re interested. It’s about 1:24 into the video:
The reason nofollow links existed in the first place is because not all links can be trusted, especially with the rise of social media such as blogs and forums. However, Google’s algorythm is very dependant on links and accordingly, it is only to their advantage to trust links as much as possible.
In the example of Wikipedia, if a person is trusted by the community, Google can trust the links that person creates because it refers relevant content. Considering that Wikipedia have pages with a Page Rank as high as 7 (some times more), having a dofollow link to your client’s website is worth a lot!
In order to be trusted in these communities, you have to invest a lot of time and contribute a lot. Therefore, it is important for social media marketers to gain authority in communities because in the near future, I wouldn’t be surprised to see social media sites a la Wikipedia and YouTube to allow some dofollow links.
Trust is earned and is easy to lose.
I guess we will see a rise of white hat SMM and black hat SMM similar to the SEO community. Once an SMM gain trust of a community it will be very difficult for him to build links within that community if everybody knows that he is building links for a client or his company. The most succesful SMM will be the ones that are transparent enough and provide relevant content to their community, even if he is paid to do it.
It is important to note that link building is very complex and that there are more factors than the page rank of the page you built a link on. Moreover, nofollow links are not completely useless either because they have shown to help in link building. However, we can all agree that a dofollow link will always be better than a nofollow link on the same page and as social media marketers, if we have a chance to build an external dofollow link on the Wikipedia page of Search Engine Optimization or Social Media Marketing, we do it!
photo by: phauly
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