What is a nofollow link? It’s a link with some extra code in it that tells search engines not to “follow” it to the page where it leads. They’re like a stop sign for Google’s crawlers — they say “here’s a link, but just ignore it please.”

The little snippet of code, a “rel” value, tells crawlers to skip over the link. Google says, “Use the nofollow value when…you’d rather Google not associate your site with, or crawl the linked page from, your site.”

Have you heard of the term “link juice” in SEO? It’s used to describe the ranking signals that a link to your page sends to search engines. More officially, it’s called PageRank. If a link is nofollow, it’s not going to send those ranking signals to Google because its crawlers have been told largely to ignore it.

Why would you use a nofollow link?

For example, let’s say you have a Facebook page for your business or brand. On your page, there’s a link to your website, and it’s a nofollow. So, while that link to your site is going to hopefully send some traffic over, it’s not a link that’s going to help your website rank better.

The nofollow value was created to combat spam around the internet. There were thousands of spammy comments with links in them being left on blogs, so in 2005, Google helped develop the nofollow value to apply to blog post comments.

Today, there are many links that tend to be nofollow

  • Links to your site from social profiles
  • Links on review sites
  • Links in blog comments
  • Ad links/paid links
  • Links in press releases and any paid media
  • Widget links
  • Links in forums, or just about any place with user generated comments/content

How to know if a link is nofollow:

To check if a link is nofollow, right click a link and choose “inspect.” Look at the link code. If you see rel=”nofollow” anywhere, the link is nofollow.

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