Nofollow Links: What Are They and How Do We Use Them?

You might be asking yourself what in the world is a nofollow link? We are here to tell you that it is simply a link that includes the tag rel="nofollow" within the code. Still unsure what we’re talking about? If you add this tag to the meta robots on the header section of a page, every link on that page will be nofollowed as well. This allows you to decide which pages on your site should receive the page rank flow both on and from your site. To the user viewing the page, the links look exactly the same as other links on the page.  The difference lies in the HTML website code and with this one easy addition, you can change the way your site ranks and help to rank others.

Why do we use nofollow tags? It allows us to tell the search engine robots that we do not want to pass page rank or validate or endorse a particular link on the site. However, this tag is only suggestive, Google may go ahead and still pass page rank through the link if it so chooses. This doesn’t mean that a nofollow link on a page isn't valuable. If your site gets traffic to the page, your nofollow link may still drive plenty of traffic to the site and possibly result in other nofollow links on other sites.

While nofollow links can be useful, there are a couple of instances of how NOT to use the nofollow tag. Unlike the Noindex tag, nofollow only deals with page rank passing and not specific ranking of individual pages.  If a particular page has the noindex robots tag, that page can still have nofollow links and pass page rank, even though it may not be found in the search results.  You do NOT want to add the nofollow page to any page you deem as noindex, because your site will lose valuable page rank within it.  You also should avoid adding the nofollow tag to every link on your site, as it is crucial to spread the page rank of your site to each internal page so they can receive the benefits of ranking and authority.

We've talked about instances where you should not use nofollow tags, but there are several cases where you should use nofollow links on your site

Privacy Pages

Most privacy pages are generated automatically and have a similar page out on the web somewhere. Simply adding a nofollow tag for each link on your privacy page should be enough to tell the robots you have no desire in promoting this page in the search results.

Comment Section

It's important to protect your comments from unwanted spammers. It used to be that spammers would seek out blogs that allowed comments and leave illegal text on your article just to get a link back on your page. Nowadays, you can simply make these comments nofollow links. This tells spammers not to bother and protects your site from passing page rank to and being associated with these potential spam websites.

Paid Outgoing Links

If you accept money to place a link on your site, you will definitely want to add a nofollow tag to the link in order to be compliant with the Google standards.

Be mindful of your nofollow tags and you will have better flow of your page rank through your site, as well as help avoid spammers and penalizations.