“Should I mark all external links as nofollow” is a question that every new blogger has in mind. As some guys out there exaggerated too much about the Google Penguin 2.0 update claiming that keeping ‘dodollow’ links on their webpages will take their search rankings down. This actually isn’t all true. Google did warn webmasters to not to mark irrelevant or paid links as dofollow but didn’t recommend making each outgoing link as nofollow. The basic meaning of a dofollow link is that the link juice and page rank should flow on to the subsequent linked websites as well.
Why all External Links shouldn’t be marked as nofollow
A dofollow link helps Google in creating a value factor for the various websites. Whereas on the other hand a nofollow link does not make any page rank or anchor text to flow and keeps the linked website out of the Google link graph. In short, nofollow links add no value to the links and does not help the linked website in any way besides giving some extra traffic.
Keeping all links as nofollow wouldn’t harm you much, but will definitely make Google feel that you do not trust the sites whom you are linking to or else the links are paid links. One thing to mention here that Google does not want you to place a dofollow link if it is a paid link.
What links should be made nofollow?
Now as i said in the beginning, Google wants you to mark a link to other websites as nofollow if the link is paid or sponsored. You shouldn’t put affiliate links as dofollow or else if the linked website is not relevant to the topic of your website. Its actually pretty easy to decide how to mark the link by just asking yourself if the link will really help your readers. If it won’t just mark it as nofollow.
Whether to make a link as dofollow or a nofollow is mostly up to the individual choice of the webmaster, but I do feel that links which actually add value to your content should be marked as a dofollow one so that the website gets a credit for their work.
Just wonder how you’d feel if nobody gives you a dofollow link even when you publish enough of valuable and original content and hence hinder your website from growing by keeping it low on pagerank and hence the search rankings (this is hardly true anymore, but still). Be good!
Here’s a video from Google about how they treat websites having all external links marked as nofollow.