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You’re absolutely right when you say that search engine nitpicking should not force you to throw nofollow crap on your links like confetti. From your and my point of view condomizing links is wrong, but sometimes it’s better to pragmatically comply to such policies in order to stay in the game.

Complying to Google’s laws does not mean that you must deliver crawler directives like rel="nofollow" to your visitors. Since Google is concerned about search engine rankings influenced by uncondomized links with commercial intent, serving crawler directives to crawlers and clean links to users is perfectly in line with Google’s goals.

Hence cloak the hell out of your links. I’m discussing a PHP/Apache example providing copy+paste code, but this method is adaptable to other server sided scripting languages like ASP or so with ease.
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from JohnWeb 2553 Days ago #
Votes: 1

It’s time like these that really make me miss threadwatch.  They’d be all over this with humor to boot.  I’m glad we’ve got Sebastian to help take up the slack.

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from Sebastian 2553 Days ago #
Votes: 1

John, at Threadwatch I’d have stated something in the sense of "Actually, they took away a few opportunities to manipulate search engines. That’s not a big loss, because every dog and his fleas took advantage of them. Think positive, they just opened the market for ninjas." ;)

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from PocketSEO 2551 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Google should just make their own attribute called rel=nogoogle.We will have to cloak our nofollow to Google now that Matt Cutts has endorsed using it to "sculpt PageRank" (with no word on how the other search engines will view that technique).

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from SamIWas 2550 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I’ve read about this before, but I’m not sure whether Sebastian’s article is actually intended with the sarcasm I am reading it in. Surely this is EXACTLY the kind of behaviour that Google and other search engies do NOT want web developers to get involved in? Or do they just figure anyone buying links and not checking this actually deserves it? I’d say best strategy long term is to show your users, advertisers and search engines the same thing.

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from Sebastian 2550 Days ago #
Votes: 0

What can Google say against search engine friendly cloaking? Nothing. The link condom is for engines, not humans. Google wants machine-readable disclosure, and there’s not a single statement out there telling that visitors must see or even render search engine crawler directives. Did you ever see a penalty based on meta tags cloaked away from browsers? Will Google penalize sites making use of the X-Robots-Tag which is clearly invisible for humans? Nope. Google is concerned about manipulation of search results, therefore they request condomized links. It may be funny that it’s necessary to cloak in order to comply to search engine guidelines, but it’s not fishy. Folks buying primitive (detectable) paid links should be aware that those links don’t come with search engine juice. And of course I don’t support "forgotten"/obfuscated/hidden/... nofollow-disclosures. As for sarcasm(), that’s a function I’ve never heard of. Probably it lives along with irony() and joke() in the fun object which I don’t need for SEO coding.

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from JohnWeb 2550 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I wouldn’t take it as sarcasm.  I think Sebastion is very much serious about it.  He does possess a certain cynical and quasi-irreverent sense of humor, but I haven’t see him write anything less than what is purely genuine.

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from lucia 2550 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’ve thought about exactly the same thing and have considered writing the plugin.  However, I have ethical concerns about this.

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from Sebastian 2550 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Lucia, then you could put a REL value like botnofollowed or so when you serve a page to a human visitor.

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