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The question here is whether I'm passing juice to my Facebook, Yelp pages etc. I do want those pages to rank higher than those of competitors, but am I hurting my site by having these sitewide links without the rel="nofollow" attribute?

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3 Answers 3

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Instead of using rel="nofollow" you should use rel="me" if you're linking to your own social media pages. This allows you to explicitly tell Google that you're not just linking to those pages, but you actually control them.

Here's an article with some good insight on the matter. As the article notes:

By placing ‘rel=me’ attributes on all your links to your social media profiles (from your own website), it will help search engines like Google understand and have confidence that your social profiles are actually your brand.

In some cases like Twitter, it will be a bidirectional ‘rel=me’, giving even more assurance that each of your social profiles are your brand.

This will help search engines have more confidence in ranking your external profiles in your brand SERP, given that they will know that your brands social pages are definitely owned by your brand.

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Andrew, I tried using "me" but for pages like Facebook for example, Google structured data testing tool gives an error "could not verify authorship". I think its unlikely that "me" is helping if it gives that error. –  guisasso Feb 19 at 13:26

Putting a nofollow on a link will prevent the pages you link to from ranking better, but it will not help your site.

When Google introduced nofollow, Googlebot ignored those links completely. As a result webmasters started applying nofollow to hoard pagerank. This practice was known as "PageRank sculpting". Google changed the algorithm so that nofollow links don't pass pagerank, but that pagerank that they would have passed is lost anyway. Here is a good write-up that shows how things work after that change.

As a result you should use nofollow to:

  • Indicate to Google that a link is not editorial (sponsored, submitted by users, etc)
  • Prevent a page of a competitor that you link to from ranking

However nofollow cannot be used to conserve pagerank and make your own site rank better. In fact, plain links may actually help your rankings because Google may consider quality outbound links from your site to be a signal that your site has some quality.

In your case, you want the linked pages to rank. Don't use nofollow.

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You're not hurt but you're also not helping yourself. nofollow is designed for webmasters to disavow links on their own website that they do not have editorial control over. The best example of this are blogs with links to the websites of commentors. This was a common source of spam and this allows blogs to allow the users to include those links but they have no SEO value. That is not the case here. Putting nofollow on those links would be an abuse of nofollow and not using it as it was intended.

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