Back in the day, it was very simple; every link counted for something. However, in 2005, in an effort to battle spam, Google introduced the nofollow attribute to battle people who were leaving comments everywhere they could so that they could keep building their backlinks. The idea of the nofollow attribute is that commenters can still leave their URL, but Google ignores it in terms of PageRank, so it doesn’t have a negative impact on your site if the link leads to a spammy site.
That all sounds well and good, but in the eyes of many (myself included), it’s a case of punishing everyone for the actions of the few. There are still millions of legitimate bloggers who rely on commenting to help build their reputation online and nofollow only hinders that.
There are a few initiatives that aim to help bloggers make the most out of building community by commenting. One of those is CommentLuv (which you will note, is installed here on Do It With WordPress) which allows commenters to leave a link to one of their most recent posts as well as a link to their main homepage.
Another initiative is to remove the nofollow attribute from WordPress, which is included in comment author links as standard. There are a few ways to do this; I don’t recommend editing the core commenting files, because as soon as WordPress is upgraded, you lose your changes.
A second way is to install a plugin that will do it for you. That’s fine and will work OK, but for me, I like to have complete control over my site, so I like to use functions where possible. I finally found a function which does this for you; all you need to do is copy the snippet below into your functions.php file. You can check that it’s worked by looking at the page source both before and after and looking for the removal of rel=”nofollow” from the comment author’s links.
You can also take it a step further and remove the nofollow attribute from all links related to comments, such as links that are left within the comment text itself. To do that, use the following function instead:
Are you in nofollow camp, or have you seen the light and come over to the dofollow camp? How have you handled making your site dofollow?