Do Nofollow links work?

The nofollow link attribute has been introduced by Google in the year 2005. It is intended to reduce link spamming in blogs and the well known online communities. The rel=nofollow should prevent search engines from following those links. Some webmasters might have found out that nofollow links will help your search engine rankings. The official claim is that links with the rel=nofollow do not influence the search engine rankings of the target page. Yahoo and MSN also support the rel=nofollow link.

A link with rel=nofollow looks like this:

Now the question is: Do links count with the nofollow attribute or not?

This month, a webmaster of a game community site did a test. He made an article about the game Spiderman 3 in one of his blogs and added comments in other blogs. The comments on the other blogs contained links to his Spiderman 3 article. He used the anchor text “piderman 3″ (no mistake here) and a nofollow attribute.

After a couple of days his article ranked first on Google for “piderman 3″. But does this mean Google counts nofollow links? Some people think that this experiment might prove that Google counts nofollow links. But, a few factors can also influence the ranking of the article:

“piderman 3″ appears on the page as a part of “Spiderman 3″. This means that the article can also rank because of the words in the article. The article was posted on a blog so the keyword also appears in the website navigation.
Google does not only search for the direct keyword occurencs on articles. Google also searches for misspelled versions of keywords.
If you search on Google for “piderman 3″, Google will ask you “Did you mean Spiderman 3?”. Google knows the correct term that you were looking for.

This little experiment cannot prove if Google counts the nofollow links or not. The outcome is not good enough.

However, it is indisputable that links are extremely important to get high rankings on Google. To get high rankings on Google and other major search engines, it is important to have both optimized web page content and good inbound links.

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