Understanding “Nofollow” Hyperlinks for Website SEO

“Nofollow” hyperlinks may or may not be beneficial to your SEO strategy. This article discusses how “nofollow” hyperlinks may not pass along SEO value to your website, but they can still provide benefits such as referral traffic, brand awareness, and co-citation.

By FlexMedStaff

SEO, or search engine optimization, is essential to website management and digital marketing. It involves optimizing a website’s content, structure, and technical elements to improve its visibility and ranking on search engine results pages. A higher SEO score can translate into increased website traffic, engagement, and conversions.

One aspect of SEO that website owners should be aware of is the existence of “nofollow” hyperlinks. These hyperlinks have the “nofollow” attribute added to them, which tells search engines not to follow the link and not to give any SEO value to the website being linked to. While “nofollow” links may not pass along SEO value, they can still provide other benefits, such as referral traffic, brand awareness, and co-citation. This article explores how “nofollow” hyperlinks may or may not help your website’s SEO.

Nofollow links are a blessing and a curse.

Hyperlinks can help build another website’s SEO by signaling to search engines that the linked website is valuable and relevant. When a website receives high-quality backlinks from other websites, it can improve its search engine ranking and authority. Hyperlinks can also drive referral traffic to a website, increasing its visibility and attracting more visitors. Co-citation, or the context of a website’s backlinks, can also improve its search engine ranking for specific topics.

If you place a “nofollow” hyperlink on your website, it will not boost the SEO score of the website being linked to. These hyperlinks may increase traffic to the linked website, but not that website’s SEO. This may sound unfair to the linked website, but there are several good reasons for a website to include “nofollow” links for the sake of its own SEO. The reason is that linking to untrusted, spammy, sponsored/paid, unrelated, and poorly functional websites will hurt your website’s SEO. Using a “nofollow” link tells search engines that you don’t endorse the website being linked and prevents any negative impact on your own SEO. The downside is that you don’t help other websites increase their SEO. On the other hand, linking to a high-quality website may help your website’s SEO by using “follow” links rather than “nofollow.”

Ultimately, hyperlinking should be approached as a strategic, long-term process that focuses on building high-quality, relevant, and organic links to improve a website’s SEO.

How to create a “nofollow” hyperlink.

It’s worth noting that some website builders and content management systems may have built-in tools to automatically add the nofollow attribute to external links.  

On the other hand, you can use old-school HTML to set up a “nofollow” hyperlink. Here’s an example of how to create a nofollow hyperlink:

  • <a href=”https://www.example.com” rel=”nofollow”>Example Website</a>

In this example, the “rel” attribute is used to specify that the hyperlink is a nofollow link. The “nofollow” value tells search engines not to follow the link and not to pass along any SEO value to the website being linked to.

How to identify “nofollow” hyperlinks.

It’s worth knowing if websites linking back to your websites are truly helping your SEO. To find out if a hyperlink is a “nofollow” link, you can view the HTML source code of the web page and look for the “rel” attribute of the hyperlink. If the “rel” attribute includes the term “nofollow,” then the hyperlink is a nofollow link. Here is an example of a nofollow link in HTML:

  • <a href=”https://www.example.com” rel=”nofollow”>Example Website</a>

Using Google Chrome, follow these directions to find a “nofollow” hyperlink:

#1: Click on the Chrome menu (3 dots on the upper right of the screen)

#2: Click on “more tools.”

#3: Select “Developer tools.”

#4: Click on the menu or the developer (3 dots) and select “Search.” You can also do Ctrl + Shift + F.

#5: In the search bar, type in “nofollow” to see if there are any “nofollow” hyperlinks.

Final thoughts

“Nofollow” links can impact a website’s SEO strategy by providing referral traffic and brand exposure while diversifying the backlink profile and reducing the risk of penalties for manipulative link-building practices. However, they do not pass along SEO value and should be used alongside “followed” links and other tactics for maximum effectiveness. It’s essential to balance the use of “nofollow” links with other website priorities, such as user experience and lead generation.

Just recognize that not all websites linking to yours may help your SEO, as they may use “nofollow” links.

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