The effort to educate and combat online fraud almost invariably requires bloggers, websites, and forums to use html links to talk about and expose sellers and wholesalers involved in the trade of suspect goods. This effort, which we applaud and engage in as well, is unfortunately, from a “publicity” standpoint, a double-edged sword.
By talking about an unscrupulous website, we inadvertently publicize it, and even worse, the links WE use to expose the site can ultimately count in that sites favor for search engine placement and exposure, unless we adopt a simple practice to combat it.
, and Yahoo (the big three) crawl blogs and websites regularly, checking and calculating links and factoring those links into the algorithms that will determine which websites you see when you type in a search term or keyword. A search for “Mammy Cookie Jar”, for example, performed today on Google, will return links to eBay, to TIAS, and unfortunately, to Rosso Wholesale and Glass on the first page. Part of the reason Rosso’s website is placed so high in the search results is because of many mentions on the Internet by forums, blogs and websites linking their website to the sale of (fraudulent) “Mammy cookie jars”.
One solution to this is simply to never place a live URL
link to a suspect website in any post. However, realistically, this makes education more difficult and hampers the effort to get the word out about counterfeit and mismarked pottery. Fortunately, the search engines offer a better solution, which if adopted widely, could turn the tide on over publicizing fraud sites unintentionally.
When creating a URL
, the common convention in html is to type “< a href=”http://www.yoursite.com/”>Your Link Text< /a> to create a link to the website. This link is “counted” by the crawlers to your website.
If you do NOT want a link to be counted, you can construct the same link this way:
“< a href=”http://www.yoursite.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Your Link Text< /a>
(Please note the extra space before the opening "a" and before the closing "a" in the example code to allow the html to display properly in this post)
The “nofollow” attribute tells the search engine to ignore the link. Your users will see the same link, but the search engines will not. This will allow you to talk freely about websites and link to suspect items, without giving the sellers of these items any unintentional “help” in their search engine placement.