Yahoo! has recently launched the robots-nocontent tag. What this tag allows webmasters to do is specify portions of their pages that are not relevant to the content on that specific page. The biggest effect will likely be in the area of paid links and advertising. At least, I’m guessing that’s what Yahoo! is hoping.
In their blog post on the subject they note many possible uses for the robots-nocontent tag including using it for universal navigation that may contain terms and links unrelated to the topic of the page, headers (for similar reasons), legal disclaimers, and – of course – advertising.
As with their launch of the noodp tag I find myself wanting to pat Yahoo! on the back for another good tag developed. This tag allows webmasters to further control how content is read by the search engine without penalizing them for the need to tailor to the human visitor (universal navigation for example). It also allows for webmasters to remove advertising from the calculations thus further increasing the control we have over what types on content are calculated in our onsite factors.
A note however, Yahoo! has noted that links contained within these sectors that don’t have the rel=”nofollow” tag on them will still be counted so this isn’t a ticket to slap up some poker link ads on your site thinking Yahoo! won’t see them. They will and unless you have a gaming site of your own, it’s not going to end well.
Down the road I’m betting we’ll see this go further with links within these areas that aren’t pointing to other resources within the same site being devalued. They’re not related to the page content remember?