How Much Do You Know About Nofollow Links?

Digital Marketing Agency Discusses When to Use Nofollow Links

Just when you thought you might be grasping the complex world of SEO, something else gets thrown your way. So here we are, throwing that something new your way! But we promise you’ll thank us down the road when someone asks you to create a nofollow link on your website. So what is a nofollow link, you ask?

The Basics of Nofollow Links

The concept was launched in 2005 and has not really changed since. Yet, despite its unaltered ways, a nofollow link seems to be throwing the SEO industry through a little loop. When you make a link a nofollow, you are essentially making it invisible to search engines, as the link now points to nothing. This means the nofollow links cannot increase or decrease your page rank.

The concept originated because back when SEO started gaining traction in the early 2000’s, people went crazy overusing links, knowing Google’s algorithm used them. Google decided to create the nofollow attribute (<rel=”nofollow”>) so users could let the search engine know when they didn’t want them to count the link when evaluating the user’s site. Google actually began penalizing users for having too many links that were deemed “unnatural.” This included press releases, guest posts, directories, and more.

It was confusing at the time because links are what the Internet was once built upon, and before search engines came into power, links were the number one way people found websites. However, now that search engines are alive and well, Google can command link building all they want. Have you caught on yet that Google rules the digital world?

Why Bother with Nofollow Links?

When you create a nofollow link, it will fail to pass something called PageRank which Google uses to measure the quantity and quality of links. So, Google cannot penalize you for links that take users to what they consider a low-quality site or for linking out too much. This allows you to link a bit more freely.

When to Use a Nofollow

Although they aren’t any exact rules when it comes to using a nofollow link, we helped break down some common occurrences that may help you understand the concept a bit more.

  • Links Found in Press Releases

Actually, most press release centered websites today are defaulted to make all links nofollow. The reason is because links, in this case, are often abused and Google is not a fan.

  • Advertisements, Paid & Sponsored Links

Any sponsored content, text, image, and run-of-site advertising must be a nofollow. This also goes for any links you charge for, such as directory submissions and reviews. If you fail to make them a nofollow, you run the risk of being penalized by Google as they don’t want these links to influence search results or negatively impact user experience.

  • Links Found in Comments or Forums

Even if you spend a good amount of time and effort monitoring your user-generated content, there is most likely going to be some sort of spam. Even with a nofollow, things may slip through the cracks, but without them, you are setting yourself up for more work.

Sites like WordPress or Blogger come with your comment section set to nofollow by default. There are plugins you can use to reverse this, but it is not recommended.

  • You Don’t Want to Endorse the Site

If you believe the site you are linking to is low quality or unfavorable in Google’s eyes, consider making it an unfollow to avoid hurting your page rank. There also may be cases where you don’t want to influence another sites page rank.

It seems like a lot, but the important thing to remember is that nofollow links exist and there may be times you need to use them. The most important thing to remember is to use them when you are receiving money from a link or when you aren’t a fan of the site you’re linking to. If you need help with your links, content, or SEO strategy, contact Kraus Marketing today.