They say, bad news is nonetheless news that needs to be covered. In the SEO realm, this could mean coverage of spammy, unethical search engine optimization practices, which may include links to sample pages as examples.
My opinion towards nofollow links — placing a “nofollow” attribute on a hyperlink code — is never to use them unless necessary. My criteria for labeling sites unnecessary are based on factors such as whether these sites are helpful to my readers or not.
One thing that’s constant all throughout our understanding of SEO is that links are helpful signals that propel page rankings on search engine results. No wonder that we exert a lot of effort, research plenty of opportunities to acquire links from other websites. But linking out to other sites becomes a contentious issue among marketers, some of whom use “nofollow” linking method in their efforts to preserve link weight of their pages, though others, like me, think this is a bit too much. Instead of using a nofollow attribute, I prefer to open these links in new window/tab.
Understanding that Google’s new patent that described implied linking could alter the way we define citations such as links we described in the previous paragraph. It says:
An express link, e.g., a hyperlink, is a link that is included in a source resource that a user can follow to navigate to a target resource. An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource. Thus, a resource in the group can be the target of an implied link without a user being able to navigate to the resource by following the implied link.
Citations, such as mere mentions of name or organization without hyperlinks to their web address, is indeed a better measurement indicator for Google because a) link building has been overly abused that it prompted the search giant to launch Penguin algorithm in 2012; b) they are already incorporated into local SEO and; c) they are harder to manipulate than links as they are part of visible content that are understood by both search engines and human readers.
That being said, links remain an important factor in SEO, and while it’s not outlawed to link to bad sites to prove a point, it’s safer to “nofollow” them. We link to them to provide better understanding to our readers by pointing them out in the open. But at the same time, by using the “nofollow” attribute, we are not endorsing them, without, at the same time, worrying they’ll become lucky losers — getting rankings by virtue of “Google Bomb” that went obsolete a decade ago.
Google’s Gary Illyes has even confirmed this practice:
Sometimes makes perfect sense to use nofollow.
Writing about a bad site? Don't help them with your reputation! Be like Fred, use nofollow! pic.twitter.com/ouHxj7HoVJ
— Gary Illyes ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ (@methode) January 20, 2017
Thanks: Return On Now