Google: You’ll be Penalised if you annoy the ENTIRE web with no-follow links

Yesterday, in another eagerly awaited video from Google’s Head of Spam, Matt Cutts answers a question on whether no-follow links can hurt a site.

Someone from the UK called Tubby Timmy (who seems a bit of a spam merchant based on his question), asks Matt Cutts:


Tubby Timmy Question:

“I’m building links, not for SEO but to generate direct traffic, if these links are no-follow am I safe from getting any Google penalties? Asked another way, can no-follow links hurt my site?”

What is a No-Follow link?

To give it a definition, a “No-follow link” is designed to give the user a link to another site without sending any of the ‘link juice’ or PageRank to that site. It is something used throughout Wikipedia to prevent spamming SEO-ers from giving potency to their site. It is also something that Google is pushing recently to prevent sponsored or paid links being used for SEO purposes.

Mat Cutts responds that typically no-follow links can not hurt your site. However there are exceptions. If you are leaving links on “every blog in the world” or “If you are annoying the entire web we MIGHT take some spam action” he ambiguously says. For example, piggy backing on the traffic, even a no-follow, Google does reserve the right to take action.

So they MIGHT take action if you annoy the ENTIRE web. MMM seems unlikely then. But they reserve the right. Clear? No.

But fundamentally using a no-follow link should “not affect you from an algorithmic point of view” other than in very spammy, unnatural situations.

So nothing really defined there then.

Anyway here is the video and the question from the erstwhile Tubby Timmy.

Note: Is it commercially acceptable for someone so high-up in a corporation to wear a competitor’s logo on their shirt? Ordinarily i would welcome such a defiant message, but we are talking about Google here. Google and Mozilla are paradoxically competitors (in the browser market) but also work very well together, Mozilla being awarded by the mega search engine for making them the default on their Firefox browser? Maybe part of the reward is a free Firefox t-shirt. Who knows.