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It's with my deepest regret that I have to tell you.. people already don't care for broken links. Every other link citation on Wikipedia is broken, if it's a link to a newspaper, the probability approaches 1 as these sites just don't bother in their perpetual quest for SEO and ad value.

What's ironic because a stable link from Wikipedia must be some great way to improve one's SEO.

No, because Wikipedia citation links have rel="nofollow".

It would be irresponsible for a machine learning black box like Google's indexer to give much importance to rel="nofollow". Think about it.

Imagine you're building the perfect internet indexer. In an effort to generalize your model, you anticipate a scenario where a nofollow link shows up consistently on various Wikipedia pages where it persists for a long time. What are you going to do? Ignore the link because, sorry, them's the rules?

Or are you going to realize that nofollow is about as useful of a signal as <meta name="keywords">?

Interesting. I and everyone else I've talked to in the industry have always assumed Google just takes it on faith.

Granted, I never worked in SEO directly.

I'm still not sure what the truth is. You raise a good point.

The only reason you'd take someone's word for something is when you can't derive it yourself, like if the tech isn't there yet.

Google introduced nofollow in 2005 to either let people help fill a gaping hole in Google's tech at the time or for the smart marketing move of making people fixate on their magic attribute. Both under the guise that spammers would care.[1]

It's been twelve years.

The SEO advice industry and Matt Cutts' blog these days are probably like when I try to ponder why my cat scoots its waterdish around the room before it drinks: attempting to find backsplanations for the idiosyncrasies of a neural network that nobody quite understands.

[1]: https://googleblog.blogspot.mx/2005/01/preventing-comment-sp...

Google certainly does take nofollow into account. Probably up to the point that spamming sites that add it to links is pointless.

That said, Google probably has some heuristic for considering them. It probably errs on the side of ignoring, but it would be stupid for Google to ignore all nofollow links. Even more so because spammers don't like them.

> It would be irresponsible for a machine learning black box like Google's indexer to give much importance to rel="nofollow".

My anecdata concludes exactly the same.

A link is a link. Sure Google acknowledges that a link is nofollow but it's not going to ignore references from a giant of the web like Wikipedia just because it adds nofollow.

Maybe you'd realise that if you do follow nofollows, people will eventually realise and ruin all of your nofollow links with spam.

With the exception of links to a limited list of other Wikis, one of which is Jimmy Wales' for-profit site Wikia. (At least, they used to be exempted from nofollow, it's possible that's changed at some point.)

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