Best Practices For Nofollow Links: What Does Google Say

January 1, 2022
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Sometimes link building, as one of the integral parts of an SEO strategy, can be confusing for beginners. A budget is allocated for link promotion, a lot of time is spent on getting backlinks. For several days after receiving the links, nothing happens. A few more weeks, a month, even a year pass – still nothing happens.

SEO Traffic

Ultimately, such a specialist comes to the conclusion that the reason for this is nofollow backlinks, which do not transfer link weight and do not affect rankings in any way. The budget is spent, the positions have not grown, the traffic has not increased. Above, we have described one of the most common fears of most marketers in the world.

Why do many people think so? It’s simple: ignorance or insufficient knowledge of how such links affect the site does not allow specialists to use them correctly. Everyone knows that link building is an important part of an SEO strategy, and 99.2% of the TOP 50 results for any query have at least one backlink. But what about nofollow links? Do they help in the ranking? And if they are not useful, then how harmful are they to the site? Should they be taken into account when analyzing donor quality? Does Google crawl nofollow links?

In this article, we will finally dot the i’s and see if it is worth using nofollow links in link promotion.

What are Nofollow Links?

You’ve probably heard about nofollow links more than once, but you don’t fully understand what they are. In order to understand this, you need to consider dofollow links first. In a simplified form, dofollow links are any links that transfer link weight to an acceptor site. Nofollow links, in turn, appear in cases where the webmaster does not want to transfer the link weight of the page to the resource that this page links to. It looks like this: The only actual difference between the two types of links is that nofollow links tell the search engine that the referring site should not be identified with the site that is being linked to. It is for this reason, mainly, that nofollow links do not convey the “authority” of the donor site’s domain to the acceptor site.

Do I then need to use such links for promotion? Let’s take a simple example to answer. We took one of the articles published on Forbes. As you can see in the screenshot, the article has a link and this link comes with a nofollow attribute.

Should You Use Nofollow Links for Promotion?

Using nofollow links is useful for website promotion. In this case, we are talking not only about the diversification of the link mass, which, ideally, should consist of different types of links and from different sources. Here are some reasons why you should use nofollow links. Getting More Traffic Because nofollow links don’t stop people from clicking through them, nofollow links can be a great source of traffic. For example, if you get a backlink from Forbes that has nofollowed links, you’ll get great traffic growth.

Why? Because the Forbes article that contains your link will be read by thousands of people, many of whom will go to your site. In this case, such a link can be much more useful than a few dozen dofollow links received from irrelevant resources.

Improving Your Website’s SEO Performance

The headline sounds very controversial – how can you improve your SEO performance by getting an internal link? Ultimately, the nofollow attribute tells Google that the donor’s page weight should not be passed to the accepting site. This is true, but not entirely. The developers involved in the development of Google’s ranking algorithm are well aware that many sites use nofollow links precisely in order not to increase the SEO performance of other sites.

400;”>At the same time, the search engine still sees that despite the presence of the nofollow attribute, the link still exists, especially if there are clicks on it. If you get a nofollow link from a good and popular blog, don’t think that it won’t do any SEO well. This fact has been repeatedly confirmed by many studies. In particular, SEMrush research has shown that using the right nofollow links has the best impact on site rankings: Influencer Marketing You’ve probably heard about influencer marketing, or influencer marketing.

When to Use Nofollow?

The meta tag should be used on the following pages:

  • with service information (admin panel, server logs);
  • duplicate content (pagination, archives, tags).
  • And also in cases:
  • when you should close the page from indexing, but leave the ability to view links;
  • when you want to remove a document from the index and prevent search engine crawlers from viewing links;
  • when you need to close the following links of an already indexed document.

Differences Between Meta Robots no-index and Disallow in robots.txt

Both the meta tag and robots.txt are used to prevent crawlers from indexing pages. But you need to take into account the characteristics of each in order to avoid an unpredictable result.


As we already know, there are two main ways to block a site from indexing:

  • meta name = “robots” content = “noindex, follow” /
  • the directive Disallow in robots.txt – disallow crawling.

In the first case, when the search robots see this meta-tag, they do not index the document or remove it from their index (if it was previously indexed). Only applies to the page on which the meta tag is specified.

In the second case, robots are not even allowed to enter the site. Using the Disallow directive, you can hide both one document and an entire directory from indexing by writing an assignment in the file, which ends with a slash “/ dist / profile /”.

There are 2 important points:

  • the search engine regards the robots.txt file as a mandatory directive, but for Google, it is just a recommendation. Even if Google indexes the document, its content will not have any weight and this will not affect the ranking of the site, because there was a recommendation “do not index”.
  • The robots.txt file may not be accessed by a crawler every time they visit your server. This means that if the resource has already been indexed before, it may still be in the index for some time, even if the page is closed in the robots.txt file.

Use Cases for Meta Robots no-index and Disallow in robots.txt

The robot’s meta tag is used when we want to remove a specific document from the index, even if it has already been indexed before. For convenience, so as not to overload robots.txt.

It makes sense to write Disallow when your site has not yet been included in the index. This is done to prohibit scanning of documents, service files, and dynamic parts of the resource.

Common Mistakes

We have considered different methods of closing from indexing, but difficulties are encountered with each path with nofollow external links. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones.

Wrong ways to close from indexing:

  • use the noindex tag and forget that for Google the content will be fully indexed.
  • try to remove a site from the index using Disallow in robots.txt. Yes, the search robot will no longer come to you, but it will not go anywhere from the search either. For complete removal from the index, use Google Search Console.
  • try to remove a site page from the index using robots.txt + robots meta tag. We have closed the page from crawling by robots, but it is already in the index. On the next scan, they will not be able to go to the resource and see the meta tag to remove it from the index. As a result, it will remain visible to the search engine.

Why It Is Necessary to Prohibit Indexing

There can be many reasons in each case. Let’s consider some of them, which are the most common:

  • Blocking a resource or dropping out of the index of designated pages can occur due to the placement of a large number of links leading to third-party sites.
  • The ranking of a resource that is being promoted may suffer due to the use of non-thematic sites or low-quality links.
  • Exclusion from indexing of sections or pages that are not intended to be displayed in search results (entrance to the site, registration form).
  • Protection from links that are indicated by users in the comments.
  • Saving and redistributing the weight of pages or sections.
  • The need to create a natural profile with links.

Working With Nofollow Through the Site Control Panel

Calculating link weight and indexing a page are two interrelated, but not simultaneously occurring processes. Backlinks can sometimes land on your site’s dashboard. Their tags are set to rel=”nofollow meaning. Each search site uses its own scheme when working with them. But when calculating the weight, they are not taken into account. Google works pretty much the same way. Backlinks with this tag are included in the general list. In this case, they are not removed from it in the future. Links with “nofollow” end up in external hyperlink lists. But then, with the next updates, they are gradually cleaned out.


How to Improve the Performance of Closed Links

When to use nofollow links? In order for netizens to be interested in your content, click on various links, just before publishing materials and setting hyperlinks, test important elements. Leads and headlines should create motivation for the visitor. He should be tempted to go to the site. For this, it is important to use relevant, interesting, and useful content.

Maximum return. It can be achieved by following a few simple rules:

  • carefully select not only the site itself but also the installation location;
  • carefully check the relevance of your content;
  • correctly define the purpose and purpose of links;
  • be careful when optimizing your landing page.

The use of closed links from indexing. In some cases, it may be higher than that of indexed ones. Much depends on where it takes the user and where it is hosted. For “nofollow” this is extremely important, as it allows you to attract the target audience. It turns out that the tag directly affects the traffic of the resource.

Link Sites

A choice should be made in favor of those who are able to drive targeted traffic to the promoted resource. A link that can increase the number of potential visitors is considered useful. These resources include the following:

  • Social networks. The fact that links are not indexed in them does not matter much. Users themselves leave them in various comments or notes. Traffic through a closed link will be provided if the content posted on the page will be of interest to the audience.
  • Video hosting sites. YouTube links are a prime example. They are left by the users themselves. Such links are not counted by Google (the search engine), but at the same time, they can become a source of quality traffic with good behavioral factors.
  • Forums. In them, as a rule, links are closed with the “nofollow” tag. If search engines do not take them into account, then a large target audience of highly popular forums will see the links. Permanent targeted traffic will be generated by clicking on them.

Checking for Links Closed from Indexing

When looking for sites that are suitable for building a mass of links, it is necessary to accurately and quickly determine the method that the webmaster will use to install them. There are two options: with and without rel = “nofollow” tag. Various tools can be used for this.

Google Chrome. To work with a tag in it, you must first open the required page in a browser. Then highlight the checked link. Using the right mouse button, open the context menu and select View Element Code. What is rel nofollow? Check the HTML code for the rel = “nofollow tag.

Browser add-on. Find the RDS Bar add-on in the Google Chrome store. You can choose an application similar to it. Next, install the extension. After that, in the settings, you need to turn on the highlighting of links that are closed for indexing due to the use of the corresponding attributes and tags. You will see that on all pages that will open in the browser, all links that are closed for indexing are automatically crossed out.

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