WordPress SEO Comments and rel=nofollow article updated March 2014.
My SEO advice is do not use rel=”nofollow” on any website if you care about search engine optimization.
To get around this WordPress SEO issue I created a SEO WordPress Theme that instead of using normal links to link to comment authors URLs it uses form button links (Google ignores them, no wasted PR/link benefit).
WordPress Comments and rel=nofollow
New WordPress installations by default now use the rel=”nofollow” attribute on comment links. If you are not familiar with rel=”nofollow” the major search engines (Google, Yahoo etc…) issued a new rel attribute (nofollow) which when used on a text or image link will tell the major search engines to not consider this as a link that should pass link benefit (or PageRank in Google’s case).
Link benefit or PageRank is very important to Google and to a lessor degree Yahoo and Bing search engine rankings, so adding rel=”nofollow” to a link will mean the recipient page will NOT gain an advantage in the major search engines.
Text links and PR are a major part of search engine optimization, without links (PR) a web site is highly unlikely to do well in Google for anything but the easiest long tail SERPs. This has led to many webmasters willingness to resort to dubious (unethical black hat SEO practices such as blog comment link spamming (I’ve done it in the distant past).
If you’ve owned a blog that allows comments and to a lessor degree pings/trackbacks for more than a week or two you’ll already know what comment SPAM is. If not webmaster add comments to blogs for a link to their own website(s), that in itself isn’t a problem, but the comments tend to not reflect the content on the blog page, usually comments like “great site” or just a bunch of porn, Viagra or phone sex text links! Comment SPAM started with individuals posting the comments manually, but now it’s mostly a set of scripts that scan the Internet for open comment pages to SPAM. This blog has had tens of thousands of SPAM comments, almost all caught by various WordPress plugins like Akismet, so comment SPAM is a major problem for bloggers worldwide!
WordPress Comment SPAM Problem
According to Akismet the vast majority of blog comments are SPAM, 92%!!!
My experience of owning blogs agrees with the above, most comments are indeed SPAM :-( So I fully understand why the WordPress developers have taken this step due to the plethora of blog comment SPAM currently plaguing the blogosphere, but it comes at a cost to WordPress users, real commenter’s no longer get a link back to their site and this is bad for blogging!
The good news is if you are a WordPress user there are tools (plugins) that almost stop all comment SPAM (especially automated comments which are the biggest problem). Like I said above this blog has seen almost 4,000 spammed comments-
Yet only a couple of manually spammed comments got through, so the tools I use work at filtering SPAM.
WordPress Comment SPAM Plugins
Akismet https://wordpress.org/plugins/akismet/ – Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. You need a WordPress.com API key to use this service. You can review the spam it catches.
Stallion Responsive Theme package includes built in comment SPAM blocking plugins that include a comment spam honeypot that stops the comment from even being added to the database.
The ones that get through (not many) are handled by Akismet. Akismet filters the vast majority of SPAMMED comments, but doesn’t immediately delete them, giving you a chance to recover any comments that are not SPAM (it happens).
I’m that happy with the SPAM filtering that I’ve removed the rel=”nofollow” attribute from comments on this blog, it’s a built in feature to the Stallion Responsive theme. With the odd few that get through it’s a simple case of manually deleting them. Having the option to add links within comments you can add your own links and even allow your trusted commenter’s to benefit SEO wise from their comments.
Removing rel=”nofollow” from comments from a WordPress blog
Quite easy to remove rel=”nofollow” from a WordPress blog. Either install a WordPress dofollow plugin or add the following code to your themes functions.php file:
<?php remove_filter('pre_comment_content', 'wp_rel_nofollow', 15); ?>
The above is part of Stallion Responsive (and some other nofollow relevant code), so don’t add the code above if you are a Stallion theme user.