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Outbound linking to a bad neighborhood
The rel=nofollow Tag

One of the most controversial issues among site promotion experts is ?is a link from my site to other sites useful or harmful for me??

There are two main points against inserting outbound links:

PR Leakage

In order to understand the subject of ?PR dissolving?, refer first to the PageRank article. In short, each page on your site has a ?vote of confidence? power. A link to a certain page is perceived by Google to be a vote of confidence for the page you link to. If you link to a page on another site, you allegedly ?waste? your vote on a page from another site instead of voting for a page from your site.

User Leakage

Linking to other sites may result in visitors leaving your site for another one. You can have the link open in a new window, but many users don?t like this option, and further more, they may still focus on the new site and forget about yours.

The main reason for outbound links is kind of philosophical. Those who support outbound linking claim that it is not possible for the search engines not to encourage users to link to other sites. Still, there is no unequivocal proof of the validity of this claim.

Outbound linking to a bad neighborhood

When you decide to link to another site, you must avoid linking to pages that are under penalty. Websites that did not adhere to the rules dictated by search engines regarding approved and invalid optimization may find themselves on a sort of a ?black list?. It is commonly accepted to regard these sites as a ?bad neighborhood?.

Links from a ?bad neighborhood? may not harm your site, but linking to a ?bad neighborhood? will definitely cause damage.

My thumb rule: do not direct to pages with PR=0 until you check the page?s source code.

For additional information on this subject, read the article: Google Penalties.

The rel=nofollow Tag

There are many sites on the Internet that allow users to add responses, remarks, guestbook signatures and so on. Many site owners took advantage of these options to insert messages containing a link to their site in order to improve their search engine results placement. This resulted in pollution of the surfing experience of the innocent users. This kind of action is called message spam.

In order to fight this trend, Google announced the addition of the nofollow tag. This tag can be added to any link on your site. With the nofollow tag, the site owner "announces" that the link quality is doubtful, and that it shouldn't be considered when determining the page's location in search results.

Many blog companies have already started to use the new tag in their blog program, and every link that appears in blogs already includes it. Some forums have also performed a similar action. In addition, the WikiPedia free encyclopedia (in some of the languages) is using this tag for outbound links.

The tag should be applied as follows:

<a href="http://www.topspot.co.il/" rel="nofollow">link

Once the nofollow tag is applied, the link does not harm the site to which it directs. It simply does no service to it at all; hence making the profitability of spamming questionable.

Still, no good comes without bad: the new tag may turn the entire subject of mutual linking problematic, since as of now site owners should make sure that their incoming links do not include the new tag.

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