Keith Brown, Search Analyst for Supermedia (aka Superpages’ parent co) just stopped by and left the following comment on my post about Superpages SEO and its use of nofollow tags on links to advertiser websites:

I just wanted to stop by and give you a quick update on things here at regarding seo love. As of last week, we will no longer be using nofollow tags when linking to an advertiser’s website from their business profile.

To follow up on what James Johnson said in late May, we will do this for advertisers and not just any business profile. In the search engines’ eyes when a site links to another, they pass part of their reputation to that site. Of course search engines are constantly monitoring both inbound and outbound links, which is why it is a priority to make sure we are not linking to any bad neighborhoods.

As you know, links are only one small part of the ranking process. It isn’t a coincidence that the websites that rank well are already optimized for their target keywords. You may have many links, but if you aren’t saying the right things in terms of titles, headings, and keywords, it won’t matter as much in the end. Get some relevant content, compliant code, and you will take better advantage of those links.

We work hard to establish a strong reputation and serve as a trusted source for consumers and businesses. Now, via follow links, our advertisers have yet another reason to trust in us and reap some backlink benefits.


Keith Brown
Search Marketing Analyst
SuperMedia LLC

Well done Supermedia.

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12 Response Comments

  • earlpearl  July 27, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Wait a minute on this one. This just blows up in the face of past Google actions where they devalued the link values from newspapers for links that obviously represented paid advertising.

    Assuming Google is still vigilant in this regard, they should devalue either the entire site; the links, the pages or something with regard to paid advertising.

    If Google doesn’t devalue these links it’s gonna be a mass move to paid advertising once again.

    This will be interesting to follow.

  • Andrew Shotland  July 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I don’t think these links should be a problem for GOOG. On the one hand you could call this blatant link selling. On the other I think branded IYPs meet the criteria for an editorially curated directory. I believe Matt Cutts has stated in the past that editorially curated links, even paid, should not be an issue.

    And the anchor text of the links says “View Website” so it’s pretty benign stuff.

    This is where the big guys get the benefit of GOOG’s trust v. a start-up.

  • earlpearl  July 27, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Could be Andrew: When was it, a year or two ago when Google addressed paid links and specifically hit some newspaper sites with regard to paid advertising?

    From a local perspective newspaper sites with well developed local visibility and IYP’s compete for the same dollars from advertisers. Additionally these IYP’s compete for the local advertising dollar with Google PPC.

    And then there is the issue of an editorially curated directory; I just believe this path intersects with Google’s effort to expose paid links.

    I think it will be interesting to follow. Will Google allow this or will they address this as they did with paid links and advertising with newspapers? Time will tell.

  • Derek  July 27, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    The names escape me at the moment, but I feel like several other companies have gone down this road and Google has consistently devalued or null-valued their links. I don’t think there is anyway around the fact that Superpages is doing this to raise revenues by selling links and I don’t think Google will view it any differently.

    I hope I’m wrong, because who wouldn’t pay for that link if it has value, but I simply doubt that it does or will.

  • Paul Jahn  July 27, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Definitely an interesting topic. earlpearl makes a good point regarding the paid links. Superpages is basically telling Google that they directly follow these advertised links.

    With that said, most Superpages advertisers are just businesses who want to advertise. 99% of them probably have no idea of the paid-link controversy.

    Like earlpearl says, time will tell.

  • ConradJohnson  July 27, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    2 things here:
    1. the PR on those business profile pages is so greatly diminished (and not a good link purchase at that) that the benefit that the commenters are alluding to is blown way out of proportion and I stand by my original true intrinsic benefit of site discovery from this enhancement.

    2. I think the specific references to penalized sites (newspaper sites among others…) were actually penalizing PR 5-7 page links to sites that were blatantly being sold as such. This is not anything close to what we’re doing here. Those are html documents (standalone pages) dedicated to that business, so it would make sense, in the true spirit of the ‘web’, to link to that other property dedicated to that exact subject matter after that content has been vetted.

    (ok 3 things…)
    Plug Time: Seriously webmasters… get your customers’ coupon content in here:



  • Menachem Pritzker  July 27, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    SuperMedia is just capitulating to public demand when they remove the nofollow, they know the links are worthless.

    How is this anything other than paid linking? If you have an unpaid profile, it’s nofollowed, if you pay, they remove the tag. Is there any editorial review whatsoever?

  • Jason  July 28, 2010 at 5:32 am

    These are paid links. No-follow links are not worthless, however. Sure, they don’t pass link juice, but how much link juice are you really getting from a SuperPages profile page anyway? Not much, unless you are building links to that page.

    All you SEOs who only use do-follow links, go ahead and leave all the no follows to me. You will see how worthless they really are. Building PageRank is vastly overrated. I’ll take a no-follow link with my client’s name/brand/keyword in an anchor over a “View Website” do-follow link any day of the week.

    Anyone who thinks SuperPages brings any value to the table from a natural search perspective besides just a Google Places citation is kidding themselves.

  • ConradJohnson  July 28, 2010 at 8:16 am

    The original request came from this webmaster community to remove the nofollow. I don’t think it’s of any value for PR either, but for discovery instead. Please read any other comment by me here in these related blog posts for more on this.

    There is an editorial review as well as a relationship with the business. We can’t put that manpower of editorial review behind a free for all link submission site as that wouldn’t make business sense.

    It would only encourage any amateur webmaster with a 2 post blog to mass submit any link they had forcing more manpower for that editorial review to combat all of the spam submissions that we would receive.

  • Andrew Shotland  July 28, 2010 at 8:20 am


    As stated above I think you pretty clearly fall into the editorially curated directory category and should be in the clear. Link away. And thanks again for listening.

  • Mike Stewart  July 30, 2010 at 9:31 am

    It is not buying links folks. It is a directory. The choice to make a link a follow or a nofollow is the choice of the website owner. Google penalizing this is the choice of Google. It is the job of the directory to choose to do as it wishes. SuperPages did a nofollow not to avoid the [paid link “rules” but to dictate what results displayed in serps.

    NoFollow links still get some “PageRank” credit. Google bot knows it is there. I don’t completely agree that nofollow’s are 100% no”follow”ed. If that were the case FLICKR, Comments, and Blogs with nofollow wouldn’t help ranking. Either way, effort is effort.

    I think this was a good move. Now if only they could train the sales reps on how to explain the value added benefit to clients.

    BTW, don’t forget that profile pages are what made directory sites popular on Google. Now Google steals the free information gathering and is deRanking the value of said profiles….. thanks Fragmentation….

    Reminds me of traditional yellow pages print and independents… yet the internet fragmented at a much faster pace! lol.

    Nice move Conrad!

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