NoFollow rule plays a huge role when it comes to search engine optimization

All You Ever Need To Know About The NoFollow Rule And How It Affects SEO

If you are ‘involved’ in the blogging industry, you would know what is rel=”nofollow” or as I call it, the NoFollow rule.

In this article, allow me to explain to you what NoFollow is and how it works out. Most importantly, I will share with you how NoFollow rule could affect your search engine optimization (SEO) techniques and planning.

Let’s see what is NoFollow tag all about in this 3 minutes plus video.

And for the record, Darrell Cherry had also asked me this question on Google+ recently.
What is the use of NoFollow for bloggers?
This question was the main reason why I decided to write this blog post

What is rel=”nofollow” or NoFollow rule?

This is what Google Webmaster Tools say about rel=”nofollow”:

“Nofollow” provides a way for webmasters to tell search engines “Don’t follow links on this page” or “Don’t follow this specific link.”

I believe there is no other explanation that could be any clearer than that.

Does the above make any sense to you?

Related article: Top 8 Link Building Techniques That Work For Search Engines

How do I activate the rel=”nofollow” or the NoFollow rule?

Basically, you can place the NoFollow code on any links or URL’s to tell Google not to crawl, transfer Page Rank (PR) or anchor text to those links.

This means that you are still linking out but are avoiding any Google penalization as you had ‘informed’ the bots not to crawl that link.

In order for you to practice the NoFollow rule, all you need to do is to add rel=”nofollow” to the URL snippet as below:

<a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Blogging Tips For Beginners</a>

Trust me … it couldn’t be any easier than that!

NoFollow is extremely useful when it comes to SEO techniques
If NoFollow is used properly, you are able to avoid any Google penalization 

Why is rel=”nofollow” important for bloggers?

NoFollow rule works in many ways for bloggers and webmasters. With all the hype and hundreds of guest posting requests nowadays, bloggers (especially you) really need to make sure that you don’t share any unrelated links on your blog.

By using the NoFollow tag, you are able to control the types of links shared and determine only links which are worthy are getting a piece of your Page Rank ‘juice’.

In other words, you wouldn’t want to ‘promote’ a blog post or article that has no or low value which could put you in hot soup. This is to ensure that you don’t get penalized by Google for breaching its terms and conditions.

This brings us to the next part of the discussion which is …

What are Google’s policies and some specific examples of NoFollow usage?

Google policies are rather general but here are two of the very distinctive factors which you should consider using rel=”nofollow” on your blog posts:

  • Untrusted content
  • Paid links

Factor #1: Untrusted content

I uses NoFollow tag especially on untrusted content. For example, I know Google has no problem with my blog when I link URL’s to popular sites such as Wikipedia, Amazon or eBay.

However, what happens if I am linking out to too many ‘new blogs on the block’?

Google and other search engines might consider my site as linking out too much and my blog could easily be penalized.

Now, let’s take an instance for easier understanding.

Do you see more credibility for linking a blog site which is 1 year old or a site which is just a mere 1 month old?

Obviously, an older domain age site would be more credible compared to a brand new one.

In this case, webmasters and blog admins who accept guest postings could also use the NoFollow tag especially when they are accepting guest posts from various bloggers. Once these bloggers have proof their worth, you could easily remove the NoFollow tag and allow them to get some link back.

Moreover, sharing is caring right?

Recommended read: Master the industry secrets with this SEO Black Book.

Factor #2: Paid links

Oh c’mon … it is a no brainer to link out to paid links.

So, what are paid links?

Paid links are links which are displayed on blog posts or articles with the ‘help’ of money instead of relevancy and therefore, it is indirectly, breaching certain part of Google policies.

Basically, this means that the blog is sharing links just for the sake of getting a backlink from your site.

What I am trying to say is that you could still place paid links on your site and that’s entirely up to you. However, what you can do is to place a NoFollow tag to avoid any issues with any search engines.

Thinking back, it makes no sense to get a paid link from you right? Some food for thoughts, guys?

*If you like graphics, I had found a great infographic on Danny Sullivan’s post on Search Engine Land and great design work by Killer Infographics.

Are you using the godly but yet dangerous NoFollow rule on your blog?

I uses NoFollow on most links which don’t portray good quality articles or are too new. At times, I might be very harsh but again, it is for the good for the blog and myself.

So, how about you? Share with me your experience using the comment form below 🙂

64 thoughts on “All You Ever Need To Know About The NoFollow Rule And How It Affects SEO”

  1. I really don’t pay enough attention to the links that I use nofollow or dofollow on.

    Your tips will definitely help me better control this.

    I don’t link out to sites that can hurt my site. Other than that, I don’t really pay too much attention to this.

    • Hi Susan,

      Thanks for dropping by. How are you? Hope you are in good health 🙂

      I got to agree that NoFollow tag could be very less not useful if you are linking out correctly. But for new writers and bloggers, using the right NoFollow tag will save their blog a lot. Well at least, taking some precautionary steps.

      Have a great week ahead.

  2. Hey Buddy,

    Good one here again, well i use the nofollow rule on my blog to block loop holes. I’m still watching out for the big Gs (pagerank update), I’m always careful about any blog i link to.

    Well i used a paid link on one of my recent post. oh! of course, i slapped nofollow on it.

    Anytime i also link out, i do check if the blog has been penalized, the domain age and pagerank. I remember we once said something about that.

    Previously i was using a nofollow external link plugin, this automatically adds rel=”nofollow” to all my external links but what the use. I can do it manually on untrusted links and that a +1 plugin space, I’m a speed junkie like you 🙂

    A little question though; does excess nofollow links have any negative effect on a blog?
    Google might see it as spamming (and being selfish). 🙂

    • Hi Gilbert,

      Good to hear you are using it. Now let me see. Imagine this. You have 800 words article and there are like 10 outbound links. So, there’s a chance that you are ‘spamming’. Of course, if you are linking out like to Wikipedia etc, then that’s a different story.

      However, NoFollow tag is already good as it tells Google that not to index the link. This means that the webmaster or blog owner is aware of the matter.

      I like the part of being selfish! Haha!

      Hope this answers your question, mate 🙂

  3. Hi Reginald,

    I really admire Google as a company as all their moves and strategies are well done thought of, there was a time when Google started to enforce strict rules for not manipulating search engine results by selling links or adding non relative links into their websites so they created the No Follow rule to let bloggers and web masters to do whatever they want to do on their blogs without effecting the search engine rankings it’s like allowing you to do whatever you want and at the same time tell Google Please don’t count this! Thanks for sharing this article.

    • Hi Qasim,

      Lovely comment! In fact, I really like the idea of the NoFollow because it is simple. All you need to do is tell Google not to index that site … but you are still sharing the link!

      Honestly, this is a great way to control the number of outbound links.

      Glad you find this useful and thanks for dropping by mate.

  4. Hi Reginald,

    Nice and very informative you’ve shared. When we write blog posts we always add external links that we think they are related to our blog content.

    So there is no reason to add rel=”nofollow” tag in external links. Oh yeah you’re right it is recommend that if you’re linking to commercial site or out of your blog niche then you should add nofollow tag.

    Nothing much to say you’ve covered all things in your post.


    • Hi Bashir,

      Thanks for dropping by. How are you?

      NoFollow tag or rel=”nofollow” has various usage and it all depends on your site. For example, if your site is like PR5, then you would have the enough ‘strength’ to withstand Google’s indexing. If your site is brand new and maybe linking out to too many low quality or PR sites, then chances if your site wouldn’t be able to ‘defend’ the heat from Google 🙂

      Have a great day ahead!

    • Hi Sumanth,

      No worries and glad you find the article useful 🙂 NoFollow is a great tool if you use it carefully. Wrongly use and you basically ‘earn’ nothing from it. Haha

      Have a great day mate.

  5. In the very first time when i started blogging , i was really confused between nofollow and dofollow. It took me a while to figure how it work.
    Thanks for your valuable information. I can help a lot of bloggers to clarify their targets.
    Stephan Wu

    • Hi Stephan,

      Glad you find this useful mate. At first, I wasn’t using NoFollow tag and thought it was just waste of time. Well, after being slapped with a few penalization from Google, I realized that I need to use it more 🙂 (I was linking out too much that time)

      Have a great day ahead!

      • Hey Reginald; you are right I never read before such a simpler definition of NoFollow rule. At my blog I am little confuse to do NoFollow on affiliate links or not becuase they are relevant to my post but I earn commission by linking them. I didn’t find any clear tips about it.

        • Hi Muhammad,

          You can use Pretty Links or Thirsty Affiliate plugins to place an automatically NoFollow on your affiliate codes. However, do bear in mind that ‘some’ affiliate codes won’t work well with NoFollow.

          Through my experience, no issue with NoFollow tag on affiliate codes.

          Hope this helps.

  6. Great guide on Nofollow tags, Reginald 🙂

    I haven’t particularly used No follow tag with my guest authors, perhaps that is something I should have done (I never actually thought about though). That’s something I still regret. I used to accept guest posts, but never reviewed them well, never paid much attention to them.

    I will keep that in mind when I start my new blog 🙂

    I don’t think I have used No follow tags very much. I used to allow do follow for comments (another enticement for commenters :D)

    Anyways, thanks for the tips 🙂

    • Hi Jeevan,

      Thanks for commenting. I have yet to open any guest post at the moment but I usually practise giving 2 DoFollow links on my bio and 2 other related links on my write ups. I would also tell the editors about it and it’s his/her choice to put a NoFollow. At least, fair for all 🙂

      Have a great day ahead mate!

  7. Hey Reginald,

    Thanks my friend! I finally got some quiet time this afternoon to watch your video and take my time to read your tips.

    Many, many thanks. I’ve already gone back and updated all my affiliate links to “nofollow”!

    Thanks again for digging deeper into my question!

    • Hi Darrell,

      Hope you like both the post and video (sounds abit off and I wonder why). Anyway, you may want to use plugins like Pretty Link or Thirsty Affiliate for affiliate links. You can easily enable NoFollow and bam, everything done and completed immediately 🙂

      Have a great day mate and you are most welcome. I enjoyed writing and even doing the video!

      • Hey Reginald,

        Great post – you’ve put a lot of time in making this clear and concise.

        One thing I think is important that I share with you and everyone else is that you must all remember that if another site is linking to yours (a site that is a horrible, nasty site that could potentially negatively affect your rankings) and the link to your site is nofollowed then it can still destroy your rankings.

        Even Google raters that review reconsideration requests have been known to blow out a reconsideration request because you haven’t disavowed a link from a bad site that uses the nofollow tag in it’s link to you.

        Just some food for thought.

        That being said, Google is doing this in a bad way because not everyone is educated enough to know what a followed or nofollowed link is or how a site linking to yours can even hurt it.

        Shame on Google!

        Anyways, good post buddy.

        • Hi Adam,

          How are you mate? You been extremely busy huh? 🙂

          Anyway, thanks for the kind words 😉 About the linking part ~ well said. At times, I receive some trackbacks and that is very annoying. Seeing so many small sites like a day old trying to get trackback from me.

          Now, I don’t see much of a way out for this but Disavow Tool could solve the issue in the long run. But again I submitted my Disavow report 2 months back and until date, still no changes @[email protected]

          Hey mate, have a great weekend ahead and take care!

          • Hey mate,

            Good thanks you? Yeah super busy still!

            The disavow report won’t work until Google do a penguin update or penguin data refresh which only happens a few times each year for the refresh and once for the update.

            If you had a manual penalty you could disavow and then do a reconsideration request but if it was an algorithmic penalty that was affecting you then it would only lift the manual penalty.

            I think it will just be a case of waiting!

            • Hi Adam,

              Well, my life? Crazy! Busy and lately, helping my fiancee to start up her business.

              Good to know the facts you shared mate. I did not get any penalty but was just curious. Therefore, took the chance to play with it at that time of release.

              Let’s see how it goes around then huh 🙂

              Thanks mate for your reply. Talk to you soon!

  8. Hey Reginald,

    I just found your blog and have to say, this was a really informative post. I’ve always wondered about the no follow rule but never really knew how to apply it or why I’d want to.

    You just gave an awesome breakdown as to how this works and why you should use it. Thanks, I’ll be using this!

    • Hi Hermine,

      Welcome to my humble blog! Hope you liked it 😉

      Glad you find this useful and thank you for your kind words. Have a great day ahead and see you around.

      Drop me a line if you have any question. Maybe I could help 🙂

    • This is the second post I’ve read today on this topic and it’s on my agenda to write about as well. I appreciate you taking the time though to explain this and I’m still going to write my post as well. I know this is a very confusing thing for most people, it did take me some time to totally understand it as well.

      I love it when someone explains and shows me what to do, it’s the way I learn the best. So once I understood that I should have the nofollow attribute on affiliate links I immediately went in and changed all of mine. I wouldn’t want Google penalizing me for that, not that they can hurt me anymore then they have in the past.

      I will say one thing though about CommentLuv Premium. I saw that you had mentioned this in your response to Mark. When you install CommentLuv Premium your blog is then a dofollow blog. Not sure if most people understand this or not but when you create your blog it’s a nofollow blog unless you install a plugin. CommentLuv Premium has that feature built in.

      You can change the CommentLuv links yourself by setting either all of them to nofollow or you can take the time to decide which links you want to give the love to and which links you don’t. It’s really easy and you can implement that on the comment itself.

      Now the links included in the comment itself like where you put your name, email and blog URL, those are all dofollow links. Those are the ones you need to be cautious about allowing to link to your site.

      Thanks Reginald for this fabulous post and again, I appreciate you making this more clear for everyone. With the way Google continues to change things we all need to be much more careful about these. We want to give everyone the love but not at our expense.


      • Hi Adrienne,

        Oh wow! Thanks for your reply. Before that, how are you? Hope you well!

        Argh about the CommentLuv. You are right about the website name but I thought Mark was talking about the links below. Nevermind, recheck that after this 🙂 Appreciate that!

        *p/s Actually this is also one of the reasons why I wrote about CommentLuv write up some weeks back. That was the main issue. But a good solution is to simple install Broken Link Checker once a week to check on those. But yes, you can’t get everything covered.

        Affiliate links are easy to set no follow if you have plugins like Thirsty Affiliate or Pretty Links installed. Easily set to NoFollow with just a click.

        Thanks for dropping by Adrienne and have a great weekend. I am looking forward to it as Monday is a public holiday here! YeeHaw~

  9. Do you have you CommentLuv setup as nofollow? I’m still undecided about using CommentLuv because you could end up linking to Untrusted content through your blog comments. What do you think?


    • Hi Mark,

      CommentLuv are by default, automatically set as NoFollow. My readers would only get a DoFollow once they do a share on social network. Linking out may have too much issue but if you are able to control by setting them NoFollow and constantly checking for broken links, you are basically fine.

      Personally, I would say it is a double edged blade and either way, you need to decide which is the best way for your site.

      Hope this helps and drop me a line if you have any questions.

  10. Hey Reg,
    Thought I’d stop by your blog since you came by to visit me! 🙂 And found a gold mine! I always have trouble understanding this no-follow, do-follow. This is perfect and gave me some better insight. I have to study it a bit more though so I can get a handle on it and use it better.

    I appreciate you coming to my blog otherwise I could’t have found this gem. I’ll be back 🙂


    • Hi Barbara,

      Oh my … thank you for your kind words. Of course, welcome to my humble blog 🙂

      Glad we connected and I had a great time reading your write up as well.

      Have a great day ahead and thanks for dropping by. See you around 😉

  11. Thanks for the article!

    Very clear with video and written content.

    I’m using nofollow rule for some internal links (in the case that the link doubles on the page, like on top menu and on bottom menu). Does it really matter to put nofollow on internal links or am i being too much of a control freak.


    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the comment mate 🙂

      NoFollow is used when you are sharing unrelated links. So for example, the article is about apple but you are sharing links that are selling pears. Chances is search engines doesn’t like that. So, placing a NoFollow could easily solve the issue.

      Internal linking as in related articles is absolutely fine but if you are trying to link articles that are not relevant, best to place a NoFollow.

      Hope this helps. Drop me a line if you need any help.

  12. Thanks for breaking this down in simple terms, especially for blogs that accept guest posts. While many online marketers seem to want do-follow links, no-follow links can play a role in your promotional efforts. No-follow links are also a way for webmasters to protect themselves as Google’s rules get more stringent.

    • Hi Jared,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes you are right. Many people drop comments or do guest posting just for the sake of getting a DoFollow link. Well, that shouldn’t be it.

      Hope you find both the article and video interesting and useful.

  13. Hi Reginald,

    Such a great post. It’s important to follow google rules today since they are dominant in this industry. The safest way (I guess) is to put no-follow on paid links, since it’s highly related to “make money online”. Paid link is the one of easy ways blogger can earn money today. If we do it, make sure to understand google rules about it.

    • Hi Okto,

      Well said mate. I know many bloggers using paid links but it is really annoying to see so many … links on just one post. Was on one site yesterday and it has over 20 links with just 800 words article. Crazy :/

      Anyway, thanks for dropping by and well agreed 🙂

  14. Hi, Reginald,
    Indeed very informative post. And nice to hear you voice. 🙂
    Yes, no-follow rule really helpful to save our blog from penalization of SE.
    I love the definition of No-follow. I am using this rule for my blog and as well as my websites.
    Thank you for sharing a wonderful post. 🙂
    Have a nice week ahead!! 🙂

    • Hi Kumar,

      Glad to you liked it!

      NoFollow is great but it has its pros and cons too. All you need to do is to ensure you place the right NoFollow tag and you should be just fine. Some readers say to do a split DoFollow and NoFollow but for me, NoFollow tag is given when the link is not ‘trust-able’ or still new 🙂

      Take care mate!

  15. Hello Reginald,
    This is indeed one nice and lovely post every bloggers should pay attention to 🙂

    I have a plugin that makes all my external links a nofollow and the plugin is indeed handy :). You know, making your blog external links a no follow is one of the best way to help your blog achieve success online. Many blogs who uses a do follow gets penalized if the page their linking to have been flagged as spam or has been considered malicious.
    Seriously, i don’t see the reason why you should make external links a do follow, unless for blogs you trust or your guest authors 🙂

    Thanks for this lovely post and do have a nice week ahead 🙂

    • Hi Babanature,

      Thanks for dropping by! I believe and agree on what you say. In fact, having too many ‘no follow’ could be a great issue. Even having just one or two pointing to bad sites is already bad.

      Of course, a simple way out is to be careful and check every single link. But that’s some crazy job right? 🙂

  16. Hi Regi,

    Your post just made me thinking since I use various guest bloggers and to be honest I don’t pay too much attention to their backlinks.

    If I accept relevant guest post somehow it wouldn’t be fair to put “nofollow” backlink to let say root domain. Of course I always check that link if it smells of spam.

    I agree with you that putting too many (dofollow) links to the new and
    suspicious sites can affect your SEO and eventually go under Google penalty.

    Thanks again for this post.


    • Hi Dragan,

      Hey mate, how are you?

      Now, guest posting is always fine but you have to be careful. At times, some bloggers might get ‘cheeky’ and try placing extra links in their blog posts 🙂 Most importantly, these links must be relevant and at least, that makes everything more ‘legit’ in the eyes of search engines.

      Well, each blog admin could easily decide like provide three DoFollow links etc in the guest posting. So at least, you can easily control those.

      Thanks for commenting and talk to you soon.

  17. Here what Google says about “nofollow” links and I believe it’s true: “In general, we don’t follow them. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web.”

    • Yes, you are absolutely right mate. PageRank juice doesn’t transfer on NoFollow tag and Google doesn’t crawl on those as well. It is a great addon especially when you are trying to control the number of links pointing out.

  18. Reginald you clearly explain the important of nofollow in SEO, I am really impressed by your writing skills here. My doubts about Nofollow are cleared now. I turned of NoFollow on my blog a few weeks ago. Since I moderate all comments anyway, and use Akismet, it makes no sense to have NoFollow enabled. I didn’t even realize wordpress defaults to using NoFollow and has no way to take it off without using a plugin. If only there was a plugin that allowed selective NoFollow use, for those people who are not yet trusted.

    • Hi Jitendra,

      Thanks for commenting. NoFollow is good but having strictly NoFollow makes you pretty … ‘bad’ in the eyes of others. However, you have no choice because you need to take care of your blog and reputation.

      I make sure my site has a nice range of both NoFollow and DoFollow.

      Good luck and take care.

  19. Hi Reginald,

    I understand the concept of nofollow. My problem is related to the comments I get on my blog. They are all dofollow (this was my choice). However, there are times when I want to make only one particular link nofollow. How can I do that?
    Is it a matter of writing rel=nofollow code? Where? Maybe there is another simpler way?

    Have a wonderful day

    • Hi Silviu,

      How are you my dear friend?

      Okay let’s assume that you want to have that one link no follow. All you need to do is to use the nofollow tag. That is the easiest and fastest. Assuming you are using WordPress, just follow these:
      1. Click on the ‘Text’ button on the top right (there are two generally, Text and Visual).
      2. Search for that link like this: a (add here) href=’’ (add here also can)>Blogging Tips For BeginnersBlogging Tips For Beginners

      • Hi Reginald,

        Thanks for the reply. I made a mistake. I didn’t explain you correctly what I want. I want to make a link from a comment to be nofollow.
        When somebody makes a comment and I want to keep it and accept the link (I use Commentluv free version), but the niche of that person is very different than mine I want to make that comment link nofollow.
        So it is about the links in the comments not the links the post.


        • Hi Silviu,

          Haha no worries.

          Divided it into two parts, so dig in my friend.

          1. Now here’s something you might know (and might not). Website links are always DoFollow on comments (with or without CommentLuv). Article links shared on CommentLuv is the one that we can control. However, if my memory serves me well, I believe CommentLuv free version only provide DoFollow for registered members, everybody gets it or none at all.

          Premium has more flexibility where you can select those who shared your articles on social media or after a number of approved comments gets DoFollow.

          2. Using codes (untested but looks fine)

          * Add a rel=”nofollow” to the comment reply links
          function add_nofollow_to_reply_link( $link ) {
          return str_replace( ‘”)’>’, ‘”)’ rel=’nofollow’>’, $link );

          add_filter( ‘comment_reply_link’, ‘add_nofollow_to_reply_link’ );

          Hope this helps!

  20. Well, the talk related to NoFollows and DoFollows are indeed going to be one of the most evergreen topics to discuss about. No follows help us to get rid of the spams and I guess they work like a boon for the blogs. With each day passing by the rate of people plunging into the world of internet.
    Thanks for this write-up.

    • Hi Charmie,

      Haha thanks for the comments. Both NoFollow and DoFollow play an important role in SEO. So balance them up and you should be a-okay!

      Thanks for dropping by!

  21. thanks @Reginald Chan

    you have also provide me good content via this post. really this is very informative post now clear all doubt and also thanks @mr. Darrell you have asked this type question 🙂

    Rahul Kashyap

  22. Thanks for
    updating new information about seo. It helped me a lot to improve my
    businesses. Also share your new updated details about seo in your website.
    Thanks mate

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