Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!
In case you have yet to hear, Wikipedia has now decided to nofollow all of the links on their site. What does this mean? Basically, they have implemented a practice where all links now include a snippet of code that looks like this:(rel=”nofollow”). This tells search engines not to follow that link, and also prevents the link from passing ranking power, or ‘love’ as SEOs sometimes call it.
Why has Wikipedia done this?
Because links=rankings, website owners are always trying to find new places to get links. The fact that an individual can add a link to Wikipedia ended up with spammers stuffing the site full of links pointing back to them and their clients. The end result – Wikipedia being bogged down with a lot of self-serving, essentially valueless links.
Because the aim of Wikipedia is to provide an open source of information on just about any topic you can think of, it’s very important that they allow contributors to link out to additional and supplemental sources of information. The nofollow attribute will not change this in any way. What it will change is those links passing power to the links’ destinations. The result of this ought to be that people will stop spamming Wikipedia in hopes of raising their search engine rankings.
Does this mean no one will bother to add links to Wikipedia any more, and it will no longer be a very good source of information?
The answer to this is no, for 2 reasons.
1) Genuine users who are actually dedicated to writing and improving the subjects in Wikipedia’s encyclopdia-like index will continue to add new content and meaningful links to the site.
2) Just because a link doesn’t pass ranking power, it still acts as a way to get traffic to your site. Read that statement again. So often, people misunderstand that the goal of having a web site or optimizing a site is to get high rankings, when, in point of fact, the goal is to get traffic. Because the nofollow attribute will in no way prevent HUMAN visitors from following links to their destinations, website owners, SEOs and Interent Marketers are likely to continue using Wikipedia as a place to put links that will bring in traffic. The new nofollow policy will only deter them for using Wikipedia as a way to shoot for high rankings.
Why Wikipedia’s new nofollow policy is a good idea
Because links act as votes for your website’s popularity, the web is going to be a better resource for all of us when links are genuine. Dropping links to yourself on an open source site like Wikipedia is a little like voting for yourself in an election. It only proves that you like you, not that others do.
Any steps entities like Wikipedia can take to prevent their presences from becoming open-source spam festivals means a better end product for genuine users (you and I). Taking the juice out of those spammy links removes the whole objective of spamming Wikipedia, and though webmasters will continue to find Wikipedia a valuable way to finesse traffic for niche topics, the linking mania for rankings will now stop.
In conclusion, Wikipedia’s new nofollow policy should yield a more quality experience for users like you.