What is a Nofollow Link?

Demystify the concept of Nofollow Links and learn how they influence SEO and protect your site’s credibility.

nofollow link definition

A Nofollow Link instructs search engines’ automated crawlers not to follow the path of the link in question.

Though these robots register the existence of the link, they don’t explore it further or factor it into search ranking algorithms.

The link exists for human users to navigate, but not for search engines’ benefit.

It restrains the passage of ‘page rank’ or ‘link juice’ from your page to the one you’re linking. You don’t endorse or vouch for the site you’re linking to, and major search engines, Google included, agree with this behaviour.

Nofollow vs Dofollow links

Do-follow Links allow search engines to track the link’s path and use it in ranking calculations.

Nofollow links do the opposite. They stop the crawler from visiting the linked page, which prevents the link being used in any ranking calculation.

Devise a strategic link building plan to use both effectively and boost your SEO performance. We cover this as part of our backlink audit.

How Google treats Nofollow Links

Google’s crawlers do not follow a link labelled nofollow.

As a result, Google does not pass on authority to the linked page or try to understand the contextual link between them.

How Nofollow Links are helpful for SEO

SEO isn’t just about ranking higher in search engine results. It’s equally important to maintain credibility and steer clear of potential penalties from Google.

Here’s where ‘Nofollow Links’ pull their share of weight.

Though they don’t directly influence rankings, their role in several ancillary aspects of SEO can’t be undermined.

Enables Prudent Link Distribution

Websites get chained in a cycle of ‘too many links.’ By tagging certain outbound links as ‘Nofollow,’ these links don’t count towards a site’s total do-follow links. Google’s PageRank, thereby, gets distributed only among the do-follow links, preserving your site’s link-value.

Counters Spam

Webmasters use ‘Nofollow’ for user-generated content, keeping spam at bay. It’s a universal discouragement for spammers, who leech SEO benefits from generic comments or forum posts.

Drives Organic Traffic

While ‘Nofollow’ links might not skyrocket your SERP rankings, they can drive organic traffic to your site. Remember, Google isn’t the only one following links. Users follow them too! For instance, a ‘Nofollow Link’ from a relevant, high-traffic blog gives your site exposure and brings in interested visitors.

Upholds Site Credibility

Search engines value a balance of ‘Do-follow’ and ‘Nofollow’ links. An organic mix demonstrates a natural link profile and upholds your site’s credibility. Else, a footprint of excessive ‘Do-follow’ links might make your site look suspicious, inviting potential penalties from the algorithms of Google.

How to use Nofollow Links

Define your site’s SEO objectives first.

High-quality content is your tool, with the Nofollow component acting as a safety net, guiding unwanted link juice away.

For example, your site has a blog which attracts decent traffic. Some posts may harbour links that you’d rather not share ranking power with. This is specifically where Nofollow links come into play. They still allow visitors to click and explore, without encouraging search engines to pass on undeserved ranking capacity.

Adding a Nofollow link isn’t complex either. You simply insert the`rel=”nofollow”` tag within your hyperlink HTML. Code is as follows:

<a href="http://example.com/" rel="nofollow">Example Link</a>

Search bots spot this tag, understand your preference, and steer clear.

Google introduced two new attributes similar to nofollow to better understand the context of these links


If you receive money for advertisement (be it the link or the article), you are encouraged to the sponsored attribute:


But, to be real, this attribute is rarely used by SEOs – especially when the whole point of buying backlinks is to pass the authority on.


If your websites allows users to generate content (and links within it), prevent a spam attack on your site by using this attribute on their links:


Years ago, spammers used to post comments with links to their not-so-great sites. Whilst this helped their site, it damaged the reputation of the one they were commenting on.

hatch vox logo white
We're the SEO agency you're excited to hear from. We manage the strategy and work without failing to keep you in the loop.
fb whitelinkedininstagramreddit white
The SEO newsletter for business owners.
Best SEO Blogs You Should Follow in 2024 - OnToplist.com

Hatch + Vox
4th Floor, Silverstream House
45 Fitzroy Street, Fitzrovia

Tel: 02080584737

Email: hello@hatchandvox.com

I need to chat SEO