Hegemony (from Wikipedia): is a concept that has been used to describe and explain the dominance of one social group over another, such that the ruling group or hegemon acquires some degree of consent from the subordinate, as opposed to dominance purely by force.
Though Rae mentioned the issue last September, SEO specialist Todd Malicoat AKA Stuntdubl tweeted about it yesterday, together with some choice thoughts:
i mean – do you really believe that twitter links are passing NO credibility, NO juice, NO nothing…?? just like wikipedia ….riiiiiiight.
maybe implement a sandbox for new users
certain threshhold until they are trusted enough to get into a non-robots.txt directory
why not utilize robots.txt solution…instead of nofollow?
i guess nofollow in general just gets me riled up and pissed off
What would happen if twitter got rid of the nofollow on all links? How would it affect the web?
So why’re we revisiting this issue?
Blackhole SEO is where an inherently social site like eBay or Twitter decides to shut it’s doors and stick “nofollow” tags to outgoing links. So in SEO speak, you won’t get any “link juice” or benefit to your Google PageRank from the PR you’ve built at the site.
Taking a survey, Twitter profile pages (the page that is twitter.com/[your username]) does garner pagerank over time.
A rough survey with either the Google toolbar or the search status firefox plugin yields:
Google PageRank (PR) 4
- Zac Johnson
- Shawn Collins
- Joel Comm
- Wil Reynolds
- Andrew Wee (me)
- Todd Malicoat
- Reg Saddler AKA Zaibatsu
How do these profile pages build up PR?
It’s unlikely that many twitter users would link build to their user profile, especially since Twitter resides on a public network (ie you don’t own this piece of virtual turf). So it’s likely that these could be links might have resulted from links pointing to your profile page from other twitter users’ profiles, or high authority blogs including blogroll or blog post links to your twitter profile, etc.
If the weight of inbound links is high enough, your twitter profile will earn pagerank. If that’s the case, labelling all outgoing links from your twitter page with the “nofollow” basically tells Google (whom “nofollow” most clearly influences) that the content you’re pointing at does not merit much weight/authority/value…
So given that a PR 5 backlink or 2-way link would be beneficial, the “nofollow” tag may put a downer on twitter users perception of their value to the community, especially since the “blackhole” structure favors twitters own efforts to increase its pagerank.
Granted, there may be some logic in preventing spammers from sqeezing twitter for link juice, but a blanket “nofollow” on links within tweets and on the user profile page (use “view source” to verify the nofollow flag), puts a dampener on things.
As Todd mentions, this blanket approach could be remedied by either a temporary sandbox/holding area for new accounts, or handled via a robots.txt file.
If sites like Squidoo can be effectively managed, and pass link juice to external sites, couldn’t twitter do the same with a little additional intelligence?
If users are spending 1-2 hours each day on your site, why this continued distrust of sites that users are linking to?
If users pointing to poor quality content is an issue, couldn’t the whiz kids at Twitter use some suitable metric to filter the social scammers out?
Followup post: “DoFollow or NoFollow: The I Can Has Backlink Dilemma“