What is nofollow?

The nofollow tag is an attribute used in HTML to instruct search engines not to follow a specific link. This tag informs Google and other search engines that the hyperlink should not influence the ranking of the site’s URL in the search engine's index. Nofollow tags are often implemented to discard links that do not bring any SEO benefits, such as advertisement links and untrusted content.

Initially introduced to prevent comment spam, the nofollow attribute has now evolved to serve a broader range of purposes. Its main function however remains its ability to add a level of control over where your links lead to and how they impact the SEO.

Whether you’re a blogger, an SEO professional, or a website owner, understanding the intricacies of the nofollow tag can significantly affect your site’s visibility and ranking. Its clever use can steer the flow of link equity, aiding you in devising a more effective SEO strategy.

Why is nofollow important?

The nofollow attribute is important for several reasons. Firstly, its primary function is to stop the flow of link equity to a specific link. This prevents unauthenticated sites from increasing their SERP ranking by adding links to your site’s comment section or forum.

Secondly, nofollow tags protect your site from potential Google penalties for link schemes or bad backlink practices. With the significant role backlinks play in a site’s ranking, Google protects this measure’s credibility by heavily penalizing those who use malicious strategies to gain backlinks.

Lastly, the nofollow attribute also helps to prevent PageRank dilution. PageRank is an algorithm used by Google Search to rank websites in their search engine results. By eliminating the flow of link equity to irrelevant links on your page, you can prevent the dilution of your site’s PageRank and maintain your search engine ranking.

Types of nofollow

The use of nofollow has diversified over time and now two main types of nofollow links are recognized. These are the traditional nofollow links and the sponsored nofollow links.

Traditional nofollow links are the original form that instructs search engines not to pass link equity to the mentioned link. They are often used in blog comment sections, forums, and other areas where spamming could be prevalent. These tags help protect the website from being associated with low-quality or irrelevant web pages.

Sponsored nofollow links are a recent introduction by Google. These attributes are intended to be used for paid or sponsored links where a financial transaction has occurred. By doing so, Google can identify and handle such links appropriately during their crawling and indexing procedures.

Examples of nofollow

Blog comments

One of the most prevalent uses of nofollow links is in the comment section of blogs. To protect their site, bloggers add the nofollow attribute to links posted in comments.

Review platforms

Websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor use nofollow tags for external links to prevent manipulation of search engine rankings by businesses.

As mentioned earlier, Google recommends marking paid links with the sponsored attribute. However, nofollow can still be used if the sponsored attribute is not available.

Handy tips about nofollow

A common misconception is that nofollow links have no value. Despite not passing PageRank, nofollow links from high authority sites can bring a considerable amount of traffic.

Use with sponsored content

Remember to use the appropriate tags with sponsored content. Google now understands the “sponsored” relationship and can handle such links better.

Monitor user-generated content

It is good to monitor your website to prevent spam links. Enable nofollow for user-generated content sections like comments and forum posts to avoid linking to low-quality sites.

Conclusion

Nofollow tags have an important role in SEO strategies. Understanding its function and proper usage can greatly enhance your control over the link power, maintaining the website’s integrity, and influencing the website’s search engine ranking.

It’s important to remember that while nofollow links don’t pass PageRank, they can still bring valuable traffic especially from high authority sites. The introduction of new link attributes like “sponsored” further refines the understanding of links therefore, appropriate tagging is crucial.

Lastly, vigilance over user-generated content is crucial in current times to avoid penalties from the Google algorithm, ensuring the quality of your site is maintained.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is nofollow?

Nofollow is an HTML attribute value used to instruct search engines bots that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index.

Why use nofollow?

Nofollow tags are used to preserve your site’s link equity, prevent PageRank dilution, and avoid Google penalties for link schemes or poor backlink practices.

How do you use nofollow tags?

Nofollow tags can be added to the HTML of a webpage using the rel attribute in a link. The format is: < a href=”URL” rel=”nofollow”>Link text here< /a>.

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