Last week, Wikipedia enacted a “nofollow” format, effectively cutting off any credit for outbound links from the popular user generated online encylopedia.
Now, there is discussion as to whether or not other popular, yet easily “gamed” social networking sites will follow Wikipedia’s lead and implement their own nofollow policy. This would help to ease the strain of spam and gaming that occurs on sites such as Digg, Reddit, TailRank and even TechMeme.
Allen Stern of CenterNetworks raises the issue of Digg enacting a nofollow policy and what ramifications it may have on attempts to game the social news site in order to receive increased traffic and better search rankings…
So my question is… should Digg do the same thing? When I look at the upcoming stories in Tech News (the biggest category), the posts come in like hot cakes. Besides the fact that so many are duplicates, how many are there for the sole purpose of gaining more inbound links.
I think going nofollow may remove a good bit of the “corporate” spam we see on Digg. Will people still spam Digg in the hopes of hitting the home page? Yep. But it may help deter users who are using Digg for the sole purpose of gaining inbound link traction.
Inevitably, these sites will seek an easy way to curtail the rise of corporate or adsense-farm driven spam that dilutes communities, frustrates users and drives down the value of a social platform. Even tag spam is becoming a problem for these sites and the core users of the platforms.
Will the nofollow inertia continue over into blogging, social search (think Sidekiq or the coming Jimmy Wales powered Wiki search)? If more of these social media sites see nofollow as the solution to the spam and “gaming” problem, how will SEO ultimately be affected?