NoFollow links have been somewhat of a grey area in the world of link building. Whether you consider them misunderstood little creatures or have abandoned them from your link profile entirely, they exist.
What Does Google Say About NoFollow Links?
To quote them from webmaster central;
“In general, we don't follow them. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web. However, the target pages may still appear in our index if other sites link to them without using nofollow, or if the URLs are submitted to Google in a Sitemap. Also, it's important to note that other search engines may handle nofollow in slightly different ways.”
So, generally, any NoFollow links you have pointing to your websites will not pass any Page Rank or anchor text benefit. But that’s not to say they’re worthless.
The most common example of a NoFollow link can be found in blog comments. A lot of forums too NoFollow their links. Both of these examples are where you can create valuable NoFollow links.
Think about it this way. When you’re commenting on an article or participating in a forum, is SEO and link building what you’re mostly bothered about whilst you discuss which the best holiday destination in France is? Hopefully not. On blog comments and in forums, you use your knowledge to participate and hopefully add valuable content to. Thus, this aids you improve your brand identity, whether you’re blogging as yourself or on behalf of a company. This is a useful step to work your way up towards the top of the authority ladder.
Another use of blog commenting and forum participation that returns a NoFollowed link is that you can pick up visitors to your website. Particularly if you’re commenting on popular blogs and in big communities. Again improving your brand awareness as you climb up another step on the ladder of authority.
And who knows, maybe someone reading that blog or using that forum will see and like your comment(s) and perhaps think of you as an industry expert as they add you to their Blogroll or link to you in their latest post...
A Link is a Link
Some days I will just take whatever links I get my hands on and let the search engines deal with them. Well, there is a quality factor involved. But I’m not going to reject a link from Google or the BBC because “it’s NoFollowed”. And as quoted above from Google, other search engines may handle nofollow in slightly different ways.