25 July 2007 at 1:10 UTC,
filed under CSS
I support the “rel=nofollow” HTML microformat as a way to mark links which might be problematic, whether they’re clearly spammy, just not checked or even just sites that I don’t really want to link to (but still want to provide a link for others to use – you know, “don’t look, but that guy’s got a giant nose!”). I understand that it is important for search engines to recognize these kinds of links and to treat them differently. This of course implies that sites use the rel=nofollow properly and do not just apply it to all outbound links (or at least to all links that do not go to their own network)…
That said, I believe that all users should be able to recognize these links as being problematic (or untrusted) at first glance. The more advanced, web-savvy users will sometimes have tools installed or special settings which highlight links with “rel=nofollow”, the normal user does not. If a link is marked as being problematic / untrusted for search engines, the user should see that as well — it’s nothing more than the Google Webmaster Guideline “Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users (…)“. It is deceiving to show users a normal link and at the same time tell search engines that you really don’t want to link there! In my opinion, if the link is not good enough, the user should be informed. There are two ways to do that.
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