You may ask, “What is the “nofollow” html tag and why do I need to use it on some of my webpage hyperlinks?
The nofollow tag added to your link tells GoogleBots not to index or consider the link for purposes of improving PageRank . Google approves of nofollow links because it reduces search engine results spam.
As described in the Google Blog:
“From now on, when Google sees the attribute (rel=”nofollow”) on hyperlinks, those links won’t get any credit when we rank websites in our search results.”
For example, WordPress automatically adds the nofollow tag or “attribute” within your blog’s comments section. This discourages spammers from placing spam hyperlinks within those capsules. It tells Google you do not want to endorse the link, nor give it any credit. Of course, those spammy comments will still appear (unless you have a good anti-spam plugin), but if your comments are “nofollow”, spammers and spam programs eventually learn to pass over your blog’s comment section.
On the other hand, links that have “dofollow” attribution are recognized by the search engine bots and receive credit (or “link juice”) that contributes to PageRank.
Both PageRank and link juice are explained in more detail in my previous article “A Writers Guide to Linking, Backlinking, PageRank and Penguin”. This post focuses on the advantages of adding the nofollow HTML tag to your pages’ internal and outgoing links.
Adding the Nofollow Tag to Your Outgoing Links
Every time you place an outgoing link within one of your articles, the search engines, including Google’s Penguin algorithm, evaluate it’s worth. If it is a link that supports your article, it is looked upon favorably and Google rewards you with “link juice”, the commodity that contributes to a better PageRank.
If you place an outgoing link within your article that may be less valuable to the reader, the PageRank police look less favorably upon you.
One the flip side, the webpage you are linking to, also gets some “link juice”, or PageRank points. That may be agreeable to you if you want to help promote that site’s PageRank, but not so agreeable if you are awarding PageRank points to say, a commercial affiliate or a website who doesn’t warrant or need your support.
That’s where the nofollow html tag comes in handy. It gives you the power to create a link for your visitors to click on for more information, but it does not endorse the destination page, nor does it grant it any link juice that might contribute to a better PageRank.
Should You “Nofollow” Internal Links?
Before the April 2012 release of Google’s Penguin algorithm, the general consensus was to place the nofollow tag on internal links pointing to your user-controlled pages which may be subjected to spam such as your forum, registration page, archive page or sign in page. Search engine robots can’t sign in or register, so there was no reason to invite them to follow those internal links; however, Google’s Penguin algorithm is smart enough to distinguish those pages from regular web pages.
Penguin has changed a few things. There was a time when webmasters could place the nofollow attribute selectively within a website to funnel PageRank to other pages. That’s no longer the case since Google’s senior software engineer Matt Cutts announced that blocking PageRank transfer with nofollow no longer redirects that PageRank to other links within your own website.
Does Linking to Other Sites “Leak” My Own Link Juice?
According to a March 2012 article in Google’s webmaster tools, the purpose of using the nofollow tag on your outgoing links is more about awarding site credibility and less about saving your own link juice or PageRank.
We at savvyexaminer could not find any comment within Google’s own guidelines relating to the loss of “link juice” or PageRank by placing too many outgoing links on your own webpage; however, many webmasters maintain that if your page is filled with multiple links to the same page, and especially if the anchor word (the word that you click on) is repeated in those links, it smells like spam content rather than useful content, and that may affect your PageRank.
Google likes natural linking, so try to maintain a natural mix of both “dofollow” and “nofollow” links.
Adding the nofollow tag to your repeated outbound links (like those to your affiliate marketing partner) tells the search engines not to include them in their algorithm, so your page looks less spammy to the bots and your affiliate does not get a PageRank endorsement (which they don’t need anyway).
There Are Several Ways to Place the Nofollow Attribution.
You Can Add the HTML Code Yourself, Which Looks Like This….
Here are detailed instructions for manually placing the tag.
…Or You Can Use a Simple Plugin On Your Website.
There are many popular WordPress nofollow plugins for your posts. I recommend NoFollowr because it allows your administrator to easily see which external links are granting the dofollow search-engine benefits upon another site. The administrator can toggle between allowing and disallowing the benefit with a single click right on your preview page. The dofollow/nofollow change is instant and doesn’t even require a page reload.
LinkLove is a WordPress plugin for your comments capsules. It’s designed to share link love (dofollow) only with your commentators who have left more than “x” number of comments, (where x is any number specified by the site owner). Only users who’s comments you approve and who are actively contributing to your site receive the dofollow attribution. This plugin is excellent for encouraging genuine comments.
A Word About “Dofollow” Hyperlinks
As mentioned earlier, dofollow links tell the GoogleBots to index the link. That means dofollow hyperlinks linking back to your page from a reputable website’s page can help your webpage improve its PageRank
Finding Dofollow Sites
If you are hunting for related sites that have the dofollow attribution for links, (links that contribute to your PageRank), use a plugin called SEOQuake . It works with Chrome and Firefox and is completely free. The plugin, when active, allows you to easily identify the nofollow and dofollow links on any webpage. It also indicates whether your link will count towards your getting some link juice.
Of course the most powerful way to get dofollow backlinks is to write quality posts that inspire others to create “dofollow” back links to your post from their webpages.
Placing links and earning backlinks has become a new on-line art form that is ever evolving. As the internet comes of age, bloggers, creative writers and webmasters find they are continuously challenged to keep up with the big guys. Hopefully this article will help to make your website’s page optimization efforts a bit easier.