Wikipedia Applies Nofollow Bandage in Lame Spam Fighting Attempt

Posted on January 22, 2007

Wikipedia has made the decision to add the nofollow attribute to all external links on the English language Wikipedia site.

At Jimbo Wales' directive, all external links within the English language Wikipedia are now coded "nofollow" -- this should help cut spamming immensely once word gets out in the SEO community.
The nofollow attribute tells search engines not to apply any link energy or value to a link. Google once told bloggers to use it as a way to prevent comment spam. It probably hasn't reduced blog comment spam but that's a different debate and Wikipedia's articles are a lot more significant than comments on blogs.

Nicholas Carr asks if Wikipedia is becoming the link energy equivalent of a black hole -- google juice goes in but never comes back out.

The sources cited in Wikipedia, many of which are original sources, will no longer get credit for their appearance there, which should cause at least a little downward pressure in their own search rankings (hence providing a little more upward pressure, relatively speaking, for Wikipedia's articles). Although the no-follow move is certainly understandable from a spam-fighting perspective, it turns Wikipedia into something of a black hole on the Net. It sucks up vast quantities of link energy but never releases any.
Philipp Lenssen finds Wikpedia's decision very dissapointing as do many other bloggers.

Some marketers might like the idea of Wikipedia adding nofollow attributes because it tends to be difficult to get websites listed in Wikipedia that are not rich content sources. For some marketers taking a difficult site to get listed on like Wikipedia off the table may make their lives easier. But it sounds like Wikipedia is simply giving up when it comes to spam. Find a way to fight the spam instead of turning all your links to sources into "No Follow" links. Wikipedia editors used these sources to help create the Wikipedia entries. It seems unfair that they are not being rewarded properly. Maybe links to Wikipedia should be designated as "No Follow" links as well like Coversation Rater suggests. Wikipedia needs to try and actually fix its problem instead of slapping a giant "No Follow" band-aid across the entire website.

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