What does that mean?
FYI, nofollowing is the means by which you stop SEO juice flowing out from one (your) site to another.1 In other words, it means Flickr are stopping SEO juice from flowing away from them.
On the other hand, many blogs embed Flickr images, and link back to it, thereby giving some of their juice to Flickr.
The bottom line is that Flickr has effectively become a sink for SEO juice. But they haven’t been one from the beginning. After getting everybody’s juice, the have changed the rules and stopped giving back any.
What you should know is: SEO juice is the currency on the web (alongside with respect). It’s an economic value, equivalent to real money. As with any economic value, it’s a “give and take” thing. To exchange economic values is trade. To give economic value, and not request anything in return, is a gift. To take economic value, and not give anything back in return, is robbery.
Flickr receives huge economic value in form of user contribution. The value they used to give back in return was that precious SEO juice. But all of a sudden, they changed their policy and stopped “paying back”. I don’t know about you, but I think that sucks. Badly!
For one, you can nofollow your own links to Flickr. If nothing more, then to re-establish “economical justice”. In case you don’t know, you can do that this way:2
- Open the image dialog for the image.
- Go to the “Advanced Setting” tab.
- Scroll down to “Advanced Link Settings”.
- In the field “Link Rel” enter “nofollow”.
Unfortunately, Flickr is not the only “last minute” policy switcher. Other famous non-commercial sites, Wikipedia and del.icio.us, have done similarly before. And not surprisingly, many (most?) commercial sites are routinely nofollowing thier outgoing links.
So you can also go one step further, and use the NoFollow Reciprocity plugin.3 (Note that the WordPres plugin page says it is compatible up to 2.6.1, but AFAICT it works with my 2.7.1 version flawlessly.)
The plugin will automatically nofollow links to sites you select, and comes with an already preset list of 1000 (!) “unfair” sites that nofollow their links.4 Unfortunately, that list is hard-coded, so you’ll have to change the plugin code if you want to add or remove sites, but the place in the code is quickly spotted (it starts at line 80 in version 2.1 of the plugin), and easily changed, too.
- There is an excellent introductory article about the origins of “nofollow” at inverudio.com. [↩]
- Actually, I wonder why the Insights plugin that I’m using is not providing an option to automatically nofollow image links, especially as the author claims to be a SEO expert. [↩]
- The NoFollow Reciprocity homepage gives some excellent insights about SEO juice distribution, and how “nofollow” has brought an unbalance into the SEO game. [↩]
- Of course, you can abuse the plugin to nofollow links to fair sites, too, but that’s up to your conscience. [↩]