What Is a No-Follow Link in SEO?
A nofollow link is a type of hyperlink that does not contribute to the page’s ranking, PageRank, or positioning in search engine result pages (SERPs). Approximately 15 years ago, the introduction of the nofollow attribute served as a mechanism to combat comment spam. Subsequently, it became one of Google’s recommended approaches for identifying advertising-related or sponsored links.
A nofollow link is established through the utilization of the HTML tag for nofollow links, which appears as follows:
<a href="http://www.website.com/" rel="nofollow">Link Text</a>
Types of no-follow links
Typically there are three types of no-follow tags or links, which are as follows:
- rel=”nofollow”: When you want to link to a page but don’t want to suggest any kind of endorsement or pass on ranking credit to that page, you can use the “nofollow” attribute. It tells search engines not to consider the link for ranking purposes.
- rel=”sponsored”: When you have links on your website that were specifically created as part of advertisements, sponsorships, or other compensation agreements, you can use the “sponsored” attribute to identify them.
- rel=”ugc”: The abbreviation UGC stands for User Generated Content. If you have links within user-generated content like comments or forum posts, it is recommended to use the “ugc” attribute to indicate them.
Do nofollow links help with SEO?
Nofollow links do not directly influence Google’s ranking algorithm. Their main purpose is to instruct search engines not to assign them additional weight or ranking value.
Previously, Google treated nofollow links as a strict directive, meaning they would not crawl or index links marked with the nofollow attribute. However, in a recent official announcement, Google stated that starting from March 1, 2020, nofollow would be treated as a hint for crawling and indexing purposes.
Now, all link attributes, including ‘sponsored,’ ‘ugc,’ and ‘nofollow,’ are considered hints by Google. These hints help Google understand which links to take into account or exclude when analyzing and utilizing links within their systems. These hints are used in combination with other signals to improve the understanding and handling of links by search engines.
When should you use no-follow links?
You will find a lot of reasons to use nofollow links throughout your website. They may all be in different spots, too. Let’s break down some of the most common places and why you will keep search engines from using the link for SEO.
- Paid Links and Sponsored Content: If you are engaging in paid link placements or sponsored content, using the rel=”nofollow” attribute on those links is important. This includes any form of advertising or promotional content where there is an exchange of value for the placement of the link. This helps search engines understand that the link is not a natural endorsement and should not influence rankings.
- Advertisement and Affiliate Links: If you are displaying advertisements or using affiliate links on your website, it is recommended to mark those links as no-follow. This includes any links where you may earn a commission or financial benefit from the clicks or purchases made through those links.
- Untrusted Content or Unreliable Sources: If you are referencing or citing content from sources that are not reputable or trustworthy, using the rel=”nofollow” attribute on those links can help indicate to search engines that the linked content may not be endorsed or verified.
How Do You Check If a Link is Nofollow?
Here are the step-by-step instructions to check if a link is nofollow:
- Step 1: Right-click on your browser and select “View page source” (or a similar option) to access the HTML source code of the webpage.
- Step 2: In the HTML code, locate the specific link you want to check.
- Step 3: Look for the presence of the rel=”nofollow” attribute within the link’s HTML code. If you find this attribute, it means the link is marked as nofollow. If the attribute is not present, the link is considered as dofollow.
An alternative option is to use the “Strike Out Nofollow Links” Chrome extension. Install the extension in your browser, and it will visually highlight and strike through the nofollow links on the webpage, making them easily recognizable.