What is NoFollow?

“Nofollow” is an attribute that can be assigned to a webpage or a specific link within a page. It essentially tells search engines “Do not follow the link (or links) on this page.”

How is it Used?

There are two methods of using the nofollow attribute or “tag.”

No Follow Tag

The first will tell search engines “Do Not follow (ie. crawl) any of the links on this page.” This nofollow attribute should appear in the page-level meta tag.
For example:

<title>Your Title Here </title>

Rel = NoFollow

The second method is used to tell search engines “Do not crawl this specific link.” This gives webmasters control over specific links they would like the search engine robots to ignore. The “rel=nofollow” attribute should appear within the code of a link.
For example:

<a rel=”nofollow” href=”register.html”>Register Here</a>

Why use ‘em?

There are a couple of scenarios where webmasters might want to employ nofollow:

  • Paid / Advertised Links. Since buying and selling links for the sole purpose of passing PageRank violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines (and can negatively impact a website’s search engine ranking), it is recommended best practice to add the rel=”nofollow” attribute to purchased links.
  • Prevent Comment Spam. Adding the ‘nofollow’ attribute to the comments section of your blog or website will help discourage spammers trolling for a link. It will also keep you from linking to neighborhoods you don’t necessarily want to associate with.

Matt Cutts Weighs In About ‘NoFollow’

Video Summary
In this 2 minute 45 second clip, Matt tackles the question “Do you feel that the widespread and blanket use of nofollow tags is devaluing Google’s search algorithms?”

Matt interjects to explain that there is a “minuscule” percentage of links on the web that utilize nofollow.  So really, nofollows are not as common as webmasters may think.  He then goes on to address the next set of questions:

“Examples such as Wikipedia, where ALL external links are nofollow.  Does Wikipedia mean nothing to Google’s algorithms” – and – “Do Google take into account quality factors from nofollowed links when the links come from well established authority websites, such as Wikipedia?”

Matt confirms that Google does not take into account the links coming from Wikipedia because they are nofollow.  Therefore, a link from Wikipedia provides no benefit in the search engine rankings of Google.

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