What is the Nofollow Link Attribute?

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It’s important to remember that you’re not the only blogger out there trying to build backlinks. Other bloggers are using the same techniques you use: They’re dropping links in your comments and they’re sending you emails trying to buy links or arrange link exchanges. There are certain times, though, when you don’t necessarily want to extend the link authority from your blog to theirs but you don’t want to remove the links, either. In those cases, you’ll want to use the nofollow link attribute.

nofollow attribute

What is the Nofollow Link Attribute?

An attribute is a bit of HTML code that you add when you’re creating a link. A standard link code looks like this:

<a href="http://dukeo.com">blog</a>

This is a dofollow link. “Dofollow” simply means that you’re telling the search engines bots that it’s OK to follow that link from your blog to the other blog. A dofollow link is more valuable because it also allows you to pass some of your blog’s authority, or “link love”, to that other blog.

A nofollow link looks like this:

<a rel="nofollow" href="http://dukeo.com">blog</a>

When you create a nofollow link it’s still a live link, meaning your visitors can still click on it and get to that other blog. However, you’re telling the search engine bots to ignore that link. Don’t follow it to that other blog and don’t pass it any of your authority.

While Nofollow links don’t do anything to directly effect your page rank, the are still valuable for traffic generation purposes. They’re live, so if another blog gives you a nofollow link the visitors on that blog can still come over to yours. And that additional traffic increases the possibility of additional sharing and linking. So don’t pass up opportunities for nowfollow links just because they’re not directly passing you authority.

Why would you want to use nofollow links on your own blog?

Most bloggers use nofollow links in their comments section. Unless you want to constantly monitor every single link that gets dropped by commentors you have no idea what they’re really linking to. It could a really poor quality site, it could be porn or it could be some kind of scam. If the search engine follows that link and sees some kind of nasty website on the other end then your site could be penalized for linking to it.

You really have no control over what happens on the other end of that link which is one reason bloggers try to look for credible sites when they’re linking to resource information. A blog or website that looks perfectly legit one minute can be replaced with garbage in a matter of minutes, but high-visibility sites like news sites or .org sites aren’t going to morph into something evil.

If you decide to participate in a link exchange always be very careful. It’s best not to do it at all and just focus on providing great content that generates its own natural backlinks – that’s what the search engines are really looking for. But if you do decide to trade links with other bloggers, make sure you know and trust the other blogger or only agree to set nofollow links.

Stéphane Kerwer
Article written by Stéphane Kerwer (1995 Posts)
Bonjour from a french guy. My name is Stéphane Kerwer and Dukeo is my blog. I do most of the heavy lifting in here but from time to time, you may see some guest posts. To receive updates from Dukeo, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.
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6 Comments (Add one)

  1. dotcomsecrets x
    dotcomsecrets x

    Very good post. Can a link to a low to no authority site get your site deleted from the google index?

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Most likely, it won’t get you de’indexed from Google. But if you have too many of these, it will lower the trust-rank of your own domain.

  2. Lewis Saka
    Lewis Saka

    I recently had an ad network ask me to add ‘no follows’ to some of my links as their software detected that there were too many outward links and the quality of these links was low. Worth remembering

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Lewis, do you know that selling DoFollow links to an AdNetwork (such as TextLinkAds) is something that can get you banned from Google?

      1. Lewis Saka
        Lewis Saka

        No idea, thank for letting me know

        1. Sté Kerwer

          You’re welcome