Commenters do us a favor by participating in our blogs, the least we could do is give them a followable/indexable backlink. However, all versions of WordPress adds the rel=”nofollow” attribute to links inside the comments box. The major search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN etcâ€¦) all obey this rel attribute (nofollow) which when used on a text or image link tells them not to index the link or pass link benefit to PageRank (Google). Both the comment author url and links inside the comment box are blocked.
[tag]WordPress[/tag] developers have taken this step due to the deluge of blog comment Spam currently plaguing the blogosphere. In fact, they have been encouraged by Google to use the rel=”nofollow” attribute: “anywhere that users can add links by themselves, including within comments, trackbacks, and referrer lists. Comment areas receive the most attention, but securing every location where someone can add a link is the way to keep spammers at bay”. This recommendation makes sense as many bloggers do not actively control [tag]Spam[/tag] or manage comments.
However, Spam can be well-controlled if you use one of the three Spam control plugins for WordPress; Spam Karma 2, Akismet, or Bad Behavior. And, if you actively moderate comments for meaningful content.
Disabling the the rel=”nofollow” attribute can be done in 3 different ways:
1) Modify the comment-functions.php file in the /wp-includes/ folder.
2) Use the Show Top Commentators plugin.
3) Or, use the No Nofollow plugin.
I will not discuss modifying the comment-functions.php file as it’s beyond the capabilities or interests of most bloggers. The two plugins are easily installed and easily activated from the plugin admin page. Both plugins, written for WordPress v1.5, work in WordPress v2.0.
The ‘Show Top Commentators’ plugin has customizable features the require modifying sidebar template and modifying the plugin file itself. The ‘No Nofollow’ plugin very simply removes the pesky tags from the comment links. I prefer this plugin as it takes only a few minutes to install and activate.
Keep in mind that you are sharing some of your PageRank (albeit a small amount) with commenters when your remove the rel=”nofollow” attribute.
More cool ‘No nofollow’ logos can be found on Randa Clay’s site.
Update June 2006: This plugin has been disabled. Comment links are marked ‘nofollow’. Sorry about that.