The @rel=”nofollow”@ attribute name-value pair prompted me to re-examine what link relationships really are. I found @rel=”nofollow”@ to be an exceedingly ugly hack. And I found reverse link relationships to be as exceedingly wonderful.
h3. Forward and reverse links
The @rel@ attribute describes a _forward link_. A forward link indicates that the document referenced has a special meaning to the document you are viewing. The HTML 4.01 specifcation has this to say about @rel@:
bq. rel = link-types [CI]
This attribute describes the relationship from the current document to the anchor specified by the href attribute. The value of this attribute is a space-separated list of link types.
Let’s consider the document http://example.com/story.html:
Which can be read as:
bq. The referenced document author.html contains author information for the current document; story.html.
Now that you know what a forward link is, I can tell you why @rel=”nofollow”@ is so exceedingly ugly. Example:
With the w3c definiton of @rel@, read as:
bq. The referenced document http://example.com/blogspam.html contains “nofollow” information for the current document.
Which doesn’t make sense at all. What is the “nofollow” relationship? With @rel=”nofollow”@, search engines, and some high-profile bloggers have introduced the concept of processing instructions into the link relationship. If we reread my example nofollow link as it is being treated by the search engines we get:
bq. A User Agent should not follow the link to http://example.com/blogspam.html, or index it.
This is so 1995, and no different from @
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