Getting noticed through search engines can be difficult these days. There is so much competition online in every sector, meaning your website constantly has to battle for attention from the main home pages.
There is a process known as search engine optimization, which works on improving the rankings of websites on results pages to get more attention.
There is a lot of work that goes into SEO, including no follow links.
When used correctly, nofollow links and link building, in general, can increase your website’s ranking in search engines so you can get more attention.
After all, where is the first place you turn when looking for a particular service or product?
Your customers are also using search engines in a bid to find the things you can offer them, but they will not be able to make use of your work if it is not visible among the crowds online.
No follow link building is an integral part of SEO that can help get you noticed online, drawing more people to your website and therefore reaching more customers to sell to.
As there is a lot of work that goes into SEO, it makes sense for business owners to be confused regarding the separate processes of it and the best way to go about optimizing their content.
In this guide, we are sharing everything you need to know about nofollow links, how they work, and how they can increase search engine rankings.
Table of Contents
First things first, you need to understand what a nofollow link is so you can determine the best way to use them when optimizing your website.
As we have mentioned, there are many processes for SEO that are used to increase your ranking on pages, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
As search engines offer thousands of results for any keyword search, it can be difficult to get noticed online, and you could be missing out on a large percentage of customers by not being optimized for engines like Google.
Nofollow links are a part of SEO and, when used successfully, can increase your ranking on search engine results pages, gaining more attention and increasing website traffic.
A nofollow link is used as part of a wider process known as link building, which is highly valuable for SEO.
Link building, which refers to both internal links and outbound links present across your website, is used to showcase dominance in your industry.
Links are used to show connections between your own content on your website as well as with other websites in your industry.
With this in mind, when they are used correctly, links are a way of showing that you are a reliable and trustworthy source for search engines to recommend to users.
The connections you build within your community, such as through external links and outbound links, showcase that you are a source other people rely on, and there is a sense of dominance within your domain.
Likewise, links connecting your content to another page on your website, known as internal links, are a way of showcasing relevance to particular subjects.
Links are essential to SEO and can be a great tool when used correctly. This is where nofollow links come in, as they, too, are used to showcase the reliability and dominance of your website.
However, what sets such links apart from any other that you may use on your website is the fact you do not want search engines to follow them. As the name suggests, nofollow links are tagged to tell a search engine to ignore them.
By ignoring nofollow links, a search engine will not use this link when indexing your website and determining how it should rank.
As your link profile is so important for SEO, you may be wondering why you would ever use a nofollow tag and prevent particular links from being considered in your indexing.
When To Use NoFollow Tag
Using a nofollow tag for particular links prevents them from being used as part of your search results ranking. The nofollow tag tells Google to essentially ignore this data, meaning it does not contribute to your overall ranking.
With this tag, the nofollow links on your website are not seen to offer link equity (also known as link juice) which means they do not contribute to your overall website authority.
Google introduced the nofollow attribute, also known as the nofollow tag, in 2005 as a way to prevent link manipulation or spam.
Websites that use the nofollow tag are telling the search results bot that they do not want particular pages to be considered in their link juice when it comes to the indexing of their website and the subsequent ranking in results.
For users of your website, there is no difference between dofollow and nofollow links, so this will not impact the customer experience.
But it does have a major impact on search engine ranking and can ensure that only your best pages are being indexed.
There are various reasons why you may want to take advantage of nofollow attributes on your website, and this can contribute to SEO because your link juice is made up of relevant and authoritative connections.
The nofollow attribute may be used in several major instances, including:
Links to pages that you do not want to endorse
This is the main purpose of using the nofollow attribute on your website, as it is a way to tell Google to ignore certain outgoing links.
Such links may be made between your website and a company that does not necessarily align with your values or connect with your particular niche.
Using the nofollow attribute prevents Google and other search engines from using these in your overall links report, and you do not have to worry about the link properties affecting your ranking.
Sponsored or paid links
As we have mentioned, a no follow link can be useful in maintaining referral traffic without impacting your link report with Google.
Websites need to make money these days, which is why you may have several sponsored or paid links in your overall link profile, but these may not necessarily fit in with what you want to represent.
Sponsored nofollow links are a great way to contribute to the ranking of your own site by essentially hiding these connections from the Google rankings bots while still keeping up your end of the bargain in terms of referrals.
Much like how you may sell links to build connections and get referral traffic, affiliate links work the same way.
These are outbound links that can help website owners make money from the recommendation of specific goods and services.
While these can be a great tool to make money as a website owner and should maintain dofollow links for your audience, they do not always perform the best when it comes to ranking web pages.
Like with a sponsored link, using the nofollow tag tells search engines that you are making money from these kinds of links, and they do not need to be considered.
User-generated content is anything created by the users of your website and should be hidden to pass Pagerank.
Blog comments, including blog comment spam, and forum posts should be nofollow links to avoid affecting your natural link profile.
The nofollow tag can be an asset to your SEO strategy, but there is a careful balance that needs to be met for this to happen.
Google penalties will be given to any website that is deemed to be partaking in a link scheme.
According to Google’s guidelines, a link scheme refers to any links that intend to manipulate PageRank, which is Google’s program for ranking links on results pages or any similar program.
Links that attempt to manipulate this process go against the WebMaster guidelines and will result in a lower ranking for your website.
This is why nofollow links can be incredibly useful when it comes to SEO, as it allows you to control your links report and the way you present to Google or other engines, such as those which may go against specific guidelines.
However, it is important to avoid using nofollow attributes on all the links you may not like or want to be considered because this can also cause issues for your website.
As we have mentioned, certain nofollow links may come as standard on any website, such as comment links. This will always come with the noindex tag because it does not need to contribute to your page ranking.
For some links, such as a sponsored link, you may want to add the rel nofollow tag to showcase that you are being paid for this content.
Overusing the rel nofollow tag, however, can have negative effects on your website, and some links should remain dofollow links at all times.
To ensure the best results when using Google, you should avoid no-follow links with:
All external links
Using nofollow links for outgoing links, which are links pointing out from your pages, such as linking websites through guest posts, press releases, or similar editorial links, can harm your SEO efforts.
When it comes to accepted guest posts and similar outbound link formulas, these can be very useful in showcasing your authority within a specific niche and therefore contribute to your results page ranking.
A guest post is a way to build links, and this effort should be recognized by engines.
Similarly, connecting your content with inbound links can be a great way to show authority, so these should all be left as dofollow links.
However, over time your brand image may have changed, or there may be content that you no longer want to promote, but a rel nofollow attribute will not be useful here.
There are better ways to prevent particular links or pages from being crawled and indexed that will not impact your SEO, like meta tags.
Since Google introduced nofollow links, they have been considered when it comes to the ranking of web pages. Using the program PageRank, web pages are awarded on a point system based on their quality.
Pages with ten PageRank points are considered to be the most authoritative pages, whereas those with zero are on the other end of the scale.
Failure to use the nofollowed link tag correctly can reduce the number of points your website gets and, therefore, its ranking in results.
The rel attribute to any HTML code has a lot of bearing on the overall performance of your website, and you want to maintain a quality link profile for the best results.
This is why understanding when it is appropriate, by Google’s standards, to use a nofollow link and when this should be avoided is essential if you want to see success.
It is possible to crawl nofollow links on any blog post or web page to determine that the right link attributes are being used.
While nofollow links can be incredibly useful when it comes to your search results ranking, we have also explored the damage the rel nofollow tag can do when used incorrectly.
Being able to audit your no follow links and determine whether another HTML code can be used instead is a valuable link building strategy.
You can check for nofollowed links on any web page, guest post, or blog post through the following steps:
- Find your selected page on your website
- Right-click on your browser to launch an options window
- Click ‘View Page Source’
- Look in the HTML code for the particular link you are interested in
- If there is a rel nofollow attribute, this is a nofollow link. Without the rel nofollow, these are do-follow links
Other processes can be done to crawl for any nofollow link on your website or a particular web page, which may be easier for you to use.
Companies can offer website audits to find any nofollow link, or you can also use Chrome extensions, as well as other software, to do this work too.
Finding nofollow links gives you something to work with and determines whether improvements can be made to your SEO.
In 2019, Google introduced two new rel attributes that can be used to mark links that website owners do not want to be indexed.
Instead of relying solely on nofollow links, website owners can now use rel sponsored and UGC links within their profiles.
We have already discussed the value of sponsored links and how outgoing links like this should be marked to show that money has been made.
This applies to all kinds of paid links, and the sponsored attribute can be effective here instead of making it a nofollow link.
Likewise, UGC links are used to show user-generated content, which should also be nofollowed links.
With these other attributes, website owners do not have to rely solely on the rel nofollow tag to improve their link profile and worry about penalties from Google.
The SEO of any target website is a way of improving the way it performs on results pages.
As we have mentioned, the process of improving your website for better ranking is known as search engine optimization, and there are many steps to consider.
Link building, including nofollow links, are a huge part of this and, when done right, can directly impact the SEO of your website.
The collection of no followed and followed links is part of your link profile, which is used by Google to determine the authority of your domain.
The more domain authority a website has, which can be done through links, the higher it will rank in results and the more people it will reach.
Nofollow links are those which you have chosen to remove from the link profile, or link juice, that is considered by Google when indexing your site.
As this guide has explored, there are several major reasons why you may opt for a nofollow link as opposed to the standard dofollow link for specific links.
With this link tag, search bots will not follow nofollow links and will not include this in the indexing of the site, which is used to determine authority.
Even though many think that nofollow links have no value in terms of SEO because bots are actively being prevented from following them, this is not the case.
This applies to all kinds of nofollow links, including backlinks that refer to links on other websites to your domain.
Any nofollow link can offer several benefits in terms of SEO, as we have explored in this guide. The same rules also apply to nofollow links, which are backlinks, despite what some people may believe.
It is still worth your time to develop nofollow backlinks because they can offer benefits such as:
Even if a nofollow link is used to reference your website on other pages, this will have no bearing on the traffic it produces.
As we have mentioned, a nofollow link is highlighted to Google or similar search bots only. This link, even with the nofollow tag, will still appear as a standard do follow link to your audience.
This applies to all websites, even those which use nofollowed links as standard for external hyperlinks.
For example, Forbes is a large platform that uses no followed links for external connections.
Despite the fact this link will not be followed by Google, a backlink from Forbes to your content can still derive a lot of incoming traffic for your site, which in turn has its own benefits for SEO.
Similarly, even if a no followed link is not recognized by engines, it is still used by audiences.
Getting your website mentioned on another page, especially those with high domain authority, can do a lot for your brand.
It increases the exposure of your business and can lead to more people visiting your website, which in turn increases your search results ranking for ongoing success.
Backlink profile diversity
Your link profile is made of backlinks and internal links, both of which need to be diverse for the best results.
A diverse backlink profile is a way of displaying relevance, reliability, and authority in your particular industry, which are all factors used when determining results ranking.
By being referenced on other high-quality sites within your niche through a link to your content, it is clear to Google and similar sites that you are a website to recommend.
A link back to your content can still be highly beneficial for your brand and the SEO of your website, even if it is a nofollow link.
Link building is a vital part of SEO, and it can be a useful tool to garner more attention online.
Any standard search will lead to thousands of results, and it can be difficult to get noticed within this.
This process is a way of showcasing relevancy and domain authority, which will then lead to your link being showcased higher in results. The higher you rank, the more people see your website and the more money you can make online.
In your bid to develop a comprehensive link profile, there may be some connections that do not represent your brand well or that you do not want to contribute to your ranking. This is where a nofollow link comes in.
Nofollow links are those which are tagged with a specific attribute to prevent Google bots from following them. With the nofollow tag, these links are essentially ignored and are not considered in the indexing of your site.
Site owners can control what is shown on their website using tags like nofollow, but there needs to be a careful balance met for the best results.
As with many other SEO techniques, overusing nofollow links can result in penalties from Google and may cause more issues than you imagined.
When used correctly, however, nofollow links are incredibly useful to the website owner and can be a great way to attract more internet traffic.
Scott Calland is a highly regarded content specialist with an English Degree. He has a passion for creating compelling content as a UK journalist that engages, informs, and entertains readers. With over 10 years of experience in creating news publications as a reporter, Scott has developed a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of how to craft content that resonates with audiences. Working closely with data analysts Scott’s research on topics is unrivalled for latest news updates.
Scott is also an investor in Searcharoo.