No-Follow Internal Links: A Tactical Approach To SEO Enhancement

No-Follow Internal Links: A Tactical Approach To SEO Enhancement

It's crazy that 60% of SEO experts think that no-follow links make websites more trustworthy. So come along with us as we learn how nofollow internal links work and how to use them wisely.

Find out how nofollow links can change your SEO story and help you rank higher.

  • This is what no-follow unknown SEO performer is all about
  • What nofollow links mean for tactical implementations
  • When and how to use a nofollow link

To make SEO work better and faster, learn how to use nofollow internal links.

A nofollow link is a type of link that includes a rel="nofollow" attribute. This tells search engines like Google not to pass PageRank or anchor text through that link.

Nofollow links differ from normal links in a few key ways:

  • Normal Do-follow links pass PageRank and anchor text to the linked page. This helps search engines understand relevancy and can boost the rankings of the linked page.
  • Nofollow links do not pass any PageRank or anchor text signals. The linked page does not gain any SEO boost from a nofollow link.

The purpose of the nofollow attribute is to tell search engines when not to count in linking strategies for SEO. It was created to combat spammy links from low-quality sites. Historically nofollow links did not provide any SEO value.

However, Google has changed how it handles no-follow vs. do-follow links over the years. While nofollow links still do not directly influence search rankings, they can provide indirect SEO value in some cases.

How Nofollow Links Help SEO

No-follow links can provide both direct and indirect benefits for SEO when used properly as part of an overall internal link optimization strategy. 

Here are some of the key ways no-follow links can potentially help with search engine rankings and traffic:

Crawling And Indexing

Nofollow links allow webpages to be crawled and indexed by search engine bots, even if the links don't pass page rank or anchor text. Having more pages from a site indexed can lead to better SEO-friendly internal linking opportunities and more keyword targeting options. While nofollow links don't directly influence rankings, they help search engines discover new pages on a site.

Although nofollow links do not pass direct "link equity," they can still confer some indirect SEO value by demonstrating popularity and trust to search engines. A site with many quality nofollow backlinks from other trusted sites may be seen as more authoritative than a site without those links, showcasing the importance of SEO link juice distribution and linking strategies for SEO.

User-Generated Content

Nofollow internal link attributes are commonly used for user-generated content like blog comments and forum posts. Allowing UGC to be crawled, indexed, and associated with a site's domain can be beneficial, even if those links are no-followed. This allows more of a site's content to be discovered, highlighting the importance of understanding no-follow vs. do-follow links for effective SEO strategies.

Search engines recommend using nofollow on paid links to avoid passing artificial link equity. While no SEO power is directly passed, paid/sponsored nofollow links can still drive qualified traffic and increase brand visibility. They are also crawled and indexed.

There are several common situations where using nofollow links can be beneficial:

User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content (UGC) like blog comments and forum posts often contain links. By default, search engines will follow and index these links, passing on link equity and influence to other sites. Using nofollow prevents search engines from following UGC links which helps control the flow of PageRank sculpting.

Paid links should always be no-followed to avoid passing artificial link equity. Google penalizes sites participating in paid links networks so using nofollow protects against manual and algorithmic penalties. The same applies to advertising links since they are essentially paid placements.

If you are syndicating content from an untrusted source or linking out to a low-quality site, using nofollow ensures search engines don't associate or pass value from your domain. Always vet sites before linking out.

Affiliate links are intended for monetization purposes rather than editorial recommendations, so they should be no-followed. This prevents artificial inflation of affiliate sites in search rankings.

Sometimes you may link out to other sites not because you endorse them but simply to cite a source or provide context for readers. Adding nofollow indicates that it's just a reference link without endorsement.

Similar to untrusted content, no-following links within UGC that appear spammy or irrelevant safeguards your website's authority and prevents search engines from misinterpreting your link profile. This helps maintain a clean and trustworthy link structure, which is essential for good nofollow link best practices in SEO.

Situations To Avoid Page Rank Sculpting

While nofollow links don't directly pass PageRank, excessive use can be interpreted as PageRank sculpting, a manipulative SEO tactic. This can raise red flags for search engines and potentially harm your website's ranking. Use nofollow judiciously to avoid sending unintended signals and focus on building a natural link profile through high-quality content and organic partnerships.

To Comply With Guidelines

Always follow search engine linking guidelines for webmasters regarding nofollow links. Google's Webmaster Guidelines provide clear instructions on when and how to use nofollow. By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure your nofollow strategy is aligned with search engine expectations and maximizes its SEO benefits.

Implementing Nofollow Links SEO

The first step is to identify which links on your site should be converted to nofollow. Audit your internal links and categorize them. Links in footers, sidebars, and navigation menus are usually candidates for nofollow. You'll also want to look at user-generated content like comments and forums. Any links that you don't fully trust or endorse should likely be no-followed.

To implement nofollow on a link, you need to understand HTML internal link attributes. The rel="nofollow" attribute is added to the HTML anchor tag like:

<a href="" rel="nofollow">Example link</a>

This signals to search engines not to follow that specific link.

Focus on adding nofollow link best practices to links you don't trust or want to vouch for. Avoid over-optimizing by no-following all internal links. Be selective and strategic with which links you choose to nofollow, particularly in the context of SEO link juice distribution.

Manually Add Nofollow Attribute

You can manually add the rel="nofollow" attribute to HTML links in your content management system or web editor. This takes more time but allows precise control. Double check that the attribute is added correctly.

Leverage CMS Features Or Plugins

Many content management systems like WordPress have plugins to automatically nofollow links. This saves time and makes it easy to update at scale. Find a reliable plugin that works with your CMS.

Monitor And Update Regularly

New links get added all the time, so you'll need to periodically scan and update nofollowed links. Check monthly for new user-generated content links or paid links to nofollow. Stay on top of linking guidelines for webmasters to maintain good site hygiene.

Use Google's "Sponsored" And "UGC" Attributes (Optional)

For more granular control, you can use rel="sponsored" for paid links and rel="ugc" for user-generated content. This provides clearer signals according to Google's recommendations. However, the core nofollow attribute accomplishes the same SEO effect.

Linkbot's Guide To No-follow Links Is Your Key

Organic traffic is what every website needs, and SEO-friendly internal linking is its secret tool. It's hard to understand SEO, so how can you be sure that your links work? With nofollow attribute impact on SEO, Linkbot, an automated internal linking helper, can improve your SEO!

Picture a technology that examines your website's content, identifies crucial connections, and generates meaningful internal links automatically, all while understanding the strategic impact of no-follow. Witness the functionality of Linkbot in action.

It can make 675,404 links for 14,573 websites (and growing!) and works great with Blogger, WordPress, and other HTML platforms

Yes, nofollow links can still drive traffic, even though they don't pass authority. They contribute to a diverse link profile and can attract valuable visitors.

Yes, strategic use of nofollow links, such as in user-generated content links or paid promotions, can indirectly contribute to SEO by enhancing the overall quality and credibility of your website.

It's not necessary to use nofollow for all external links. Reserve them for situations like untrusted content, paid promotions, or scenarios where you don't want to pass authority, emphasizing the nofollow attribute impact on SEO and the importance of internal link optimization for enhancing your website's structure and SEO.

Regularly review and update your nofollow links, especially when there are changes in user-generated content, sponsored posts, or external links. Keeping it current ensures alignment with your SEO goals.