Over the past year, Blogs have been used to manipulate search engine rankings in a very big way. Couple the immense power of link-distribution inherent in the Blogosphere with Google’s way of ranking websites based on the number and relevancy of incoming links and add a number of SEOs with overactive imaginations. The result is a spamming machine of mythic proportions.

Remember the SEO competitions of last year when the nonsense phrase: “Nigritude Ultramarine”? Well, if you don’t, suffice it to say it was a contest to see who could get and keep #1 placement under a phrase that was at the time, totally fresh as it wasn’t a real phrase to begin with. The results proved the power of Blogs and link-densities. Now Google, Yahoo, MSN and others have joined together to support a new link-attribute that attempts to remove the temptation of creating links artificially through blogs and comments.

The new attribute is called “nofollow” and is designed to be placed within a hyperlink anchor.

What is the nofollow tag and what does it do?

For instance, the link: [a href=http://www.isedb.com/]Search Industry News[/a] will allow a spider to pass PageRank from your site to theirs because it is a link; this is the standard way any link is treated without a nofollow.

A similar link, [a href=”http://www.isedb.com/” rel=”nofollow”]Search Industry News[/a] tells the spider you are linking to a website you do not want to be associated with so you do not want to pass along any of your valuable PageRank. The attribute can also be placed in front of the URL in the href string.

Google says it will not count links with the nofollow attribute in PageRank scores and will not count the anchor text in terms of relevancy to the page linked to. This should effectively remove the benefits of link-spamming in forums and blogs. Even so, the overactive imaginations found under dark-hats in the sector are already working on work-arounds. It will be interesting to see how this new tag works out.