How Google Ranks Links Over Time
Google's algorithm is constantly evolving and one of the things that it now does is to monitor the behaviour of how people click on links. It doesn't just score a link based on relevance, authority and so on - it's now also watching to see when this link gets clicked on. Say you write a blog post and in it you include a few backlinks to some other posts. These are relevant to the reader of the original blog post and several of your readers click on these links. This is good - each click makes that link a little more valuable.
But each click doesn't just raise the score for that link - it alters them for all the links on that page. Google is saying, out of all the links on that page, this user chose to click on that particular link. The clicked link is valued more highly and all the other links are lowered a little! What this means is that if you try to sneak in a rubbish link that nobody is ever going to click on, it will eventually become worthless in Google's eyes.
How does this affect your use of IMAutomator? Well remember where these links are being posted - on social sites that real people go and visit. If you submit your latest informative blog post and visitors to the social site like the look of it then they'll click the link. This increases the value of the link and it also gives you direct traffic. But if you submit something that is of no value to anybody then it will never get clicked on and it becomes just another worthless link!
I know I'm repeating myself here but I see it so often - IMAutomator offers a maxminum number of links per day but it does not mean that you should use them all up just because you can! Submit good quality links only - the rest are worthless!
Understanding the 'nofollow' Tag
The 'nofollow' tag was added some years ago to allow the webmaster of a site to tell Google not to pass pagerank onto that link. The original idea was to use it on certain site pages that do not need pagerank - such as privacy policies, category and tag pages and so on but over the years it's use has become widespread and now it is used on many sites as a way of holding onto pagerank.
If a link has the nofollow tag it does not mean that it is bad in any way and it is not penalised by Google. It is still counted as a link - but the pagerank of the target is simply not increased by that particular link. When Google ranks pages in search results, it uses a huge number of different factors to determine the ordering and one of those factors is the total number of links that a page has so they are still valuable for SEO.
Another factor to consider is that Google does not like artificial links - it prefers natural looking links and it is always updating its algorithms to search for common linking patterns. As discussed in previous articles, it is best to avoid using the same anchor text for all links, or having all links come from just one source or having them all coe from just high PR sites. Similarly, if the only backlinks you obtain are from do-follow links, it is one more thing that could possibly cause a red flag. Mix it up and include a mixture of nofollow and dofollow links in your backlinks!
You have to remember that when Google is trying to determine how to rank sites and how to value each backlink, it is asking itself the question (in an algorithmic way of course), "would a human click this link?" Does a human care about the nofollow tag? No, of course not.
I'd also like to explain a special consideration regarding the nofollow tag when it comes to Social Bookmarking sites. These sites are big directories of links so they link to thousands of sites. Some of them (like the sites that we own for use with IMAutomator) will automatically publish all links immediately as dofollow. (Actually there is no 'dofollow' tag as such, it is simply the absence of a 'nofollow' tag.) However what we see more and more often these days is a two-phased system breaking the links into a section of the most popular, and all of the others in a 'new upcoming links' section.
Bear in mind that the vast majority of Social bookmarking sites only carry a single copy of each URL. (which is one of the reasons why we do not allow duplicates) Visitors to the site may vote on links that they like and those with the most votes tend to get put on the home page or a list of the most popular links and so on. For popular sites like Digg, getting your link on the home page in this way can actually drive a massive amount of direct traffic to your link. But I digress... what we are seeing more commonly these days is that new links that get posted will start out on the upcoming page with a nofollow tag. If they get enough votes (which varies from site to site) then they are moved to the home page where the nofollow tag is removed.