Most blogs allow readers to add a link to their own websites. This gives the blog’s owner and other readers a way to connect with that reader. However, most content management systems (CMS) and blog apps like WordPress add “no follow” in the code. This prevents search engines from rewarding commenters’ link back to their websites with search engine optimization juice. What happens is these apps add “no follow” in the code preventing search engines from following those links.
I used to have a plug-in that linked to readers’ latest blog entries. That went away because of problems. Because I appreciate every single person who stops by to read this blog and leave a comment, I investigated the possibility of removing the “no follow.” In a perfect world, it’s a great way to reward people who take the time to read a post and share thoughts.
I looked at some blogs that follow reader links. What I found was ugly. Lots of nonsensical or hollow comments along the lines of “I agree” and “This is a great post!” A comment of value rarely showed up. Most of these “do follow” blogs have subpar quality.
Few — I mean very few — “do follow” blogs had posts worth sharing that could evoke great discussions. Not a single one of these better quality blogs managed reader (fake readers, really) comments that were laden with comment spam. All that comment spam ruined the experience, which hurt the quality of those blogs. Furthermore, it wasn’t clear how Google and other search engines view blogs that don’t have “no follow” on comments.
It was those few good quality blogs that compelled me to leave the “no follow” in place. Even if I control every comment that is or isn’t published, I don’t want to attract the bad element.
Obviously, there’s no benefit in removing “no follow” from comments. So how can bloggers reward the readers who care enough to join the discussion? I visit their blogs to leave a comment or I tweet their latest blog entry.
What if all apps turned off “no follow” in comments? How can bloggers reward readers who post valuable comments?