What Is A Nofollow Link?

Nofollow links are marked with a rel= “nofollow” link attribute that instructs search engines to ignore the link as a ranking factor and not crawl the linked page.

They are designed to help combat spam and improve the quality of the search results.

Because Nofollow links instruct search engines NOT to pass any PageRank or link equity to the linked website, they have minimal impact on the search results.

Only Dofollow links pass link equity and boost SEO rankings.

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What Does Nofollow Mean?

Nofollow means the search engine should ignore the link and not pass any link equity.

It’s a directive for search engine crawlers, signalling them not to attribute any significance to the outbound link in terms of SEO rankings.

Think of it as a sign that simply tells search engines to act like the link isn’t there.

Why would you want to do that?

Links are viewed by search engines as a vote of confidence. When you link to a website, you are telling Google that the website is reliable and trustworthy.

Here’s the problem:

Sometimes you will link to a website where you aren’t necessarily sure about its accuracy or trustworthiness. This is when you use a Nofollow attribute.

It’s essentially a way of saying-

I’m linking to this page, but I don’t necessarily vouch for it.”

Keep In Mind: Linking to untrustworthy sources can damage your own rankings.

Nofollow attributes are essential to protecting your own rankings from spammy websites.

When To Use Nofollow Links

Use Nofollow links when a link is placed for profit, you didn’t put the link (UGC), or you can’t vouch for the trustworthiness of the linked website.

This will protect your website and ensure you comply with Google’s webmaster terms and conditions.

Let me explain:

There are typically three main situations where a website owner should use a Nofollow attribute:

  • Non-Trustworthy Content – When you can’t vouch for a website’s accuracy or trustworthiness.
  • Paid Links – Anytime you get compensated for a link such as display ads, paid text links, sponsored content and affiliate links.
  • User-Generated Content (UGC) – For comments, forums, or any area of your site where users can post links.

It’s worth noting that other link attributes like UGC (rel= “UGC”) and Sponsored (rel= “sponsored”) can be used in some instances INSTEAD of a nofollow attribute.

Google treats the UGC and sponsored attributes similarly to Nofollow.

The difference is that it gives Google more context about why the link is on the page.

How To Check Nofollow Links

The easiest way to check for Nofollow links is to use the browser inspection tool in Google Chrome.

Here’s how to do it:

Right-click on the link you want to check and click “Inspect”.

google chrome inspect tool

This opens Chrome’s Developer Tools and highlights the link’s HTML code.

In the highlighted HTML, look for something similar to:

<a href= “” rel= “nofollow”>

rel= nofollow link attribute

If you see rel= “nofollow”, it indicates the link is nofollow.

What if you don’t see the “rel=” attribute?

That means that the link is a dofollow backlink and passes link equity.

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