Tuesday, September 18, 2012

rel="nofollow" and "dofollow" in Disqus

A few weeks ago, I read something on Fred Wilson's blog about dofollow and nofollow values for the rel attribute. If you don't know that much about HTML, let me give you a brief explanation of what no follow and do follow means, and how it can affect your SEO.

dofollow is a value for links that tells search engines that crawl a page to crawl the included links. dofollow is a good use if you are recommending blogs to people, as it will instruct search engines to crawl linked pages if it normally doesn't.

nofollow is a value for links that tells search engines to NOT follow a link. Using the "nofollow" attribute is good for distributing pages that you don't want to get indexed (although it might anyways from another page, etc). Nofollow is also good for preventing spam links, as any links will not get crawled by search engines.

Nofollow in Disqus
I have seem many, many reports online stating that Disqus does not have dofollow links inside of its comments that have links inside them. For example, I decided to pull up this persons page, then open up Chrome's web inspector to inspect the <a> text link, as links are generally in <a> tags.

And what I find is that Disqus does, indeed, have rel="nofollow" added to EVERY single link posted into a comment.
Take a look at the highlighted line (gray). You can see the nofollow attribute tacked onto the link, and I'm pretty sure that the poster did not add those parts to the link. This image came from Engadget, using their custom theme. Below is a link that came from Disqus 2012. Not trying to over prove something, but saying that this is happening in all kinds of Disqus embeds.
Ok...I think that is enough proof.

Now everyone has one question: "Why?" This is why I am going to ask Disqus. I don't believe that Disqus has a press email, so I'll tweet them and send them a support request. Hopefully they'll come back here themselves to drop a comment explaining why, other wise I'll add it to the article. If you have more questions then that, then let me know of them in the comments below.

I think that this solution can be solved very quickly via a setting in the admin panel. Why not add an option to enable/disable do follow links or vice versa depending on what to use in the setting.