Nofollow Tag: Basics & SEO Best Practices




Updated 3/13/2024

Learn about the nofollow tag, including how and when to use it. Discover the essentials for using this key SEO tag for managing crawlers.

nofollow tag cover

There are many ways to guide web crawlers on how to treat your site. Nofollow tags are an essential SEO tool for doing so. This quick guide covers the basics of the tags and how they work.

What is a Nofollow Tag?

The nofollow tag is an HTML attribute added to a hyperlink, instructing search engines like Google not to follow the link or assign any SEO value.

These tags are important because they help you manage your site’s reputation, prevent spam, and avoid passing authority to low-quality websites.

Code Example

Here is an example of what a nofollow tag looks like in HTML:

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

Compare this to a default link without the nofollow tag:

<a href="">Example</a>

The rel="nofollow" part is what does the magic.

How to Use Nofollow Tags

To help understand when to use them, consider these scenarios:

Nofollow tags are often used when site owners need to link to another non-reputable site, but they don’t want to help the site’s backlink profile by providing link equity.

So, they use the tag to responsibly link to the irresponsible site:

This <a href="" rel="nofollow">bad website</a> reported incorrect information, which caused problems.

One way to save on your crawl budget is to add nofollow tags to links that don’t need SEO value, or those uncommonly searched for, like login pages.

Member? <a href="" rel="nofollow">Log in</a> for the best experience.

This can be an especially helpful technique if applied to site-wide links, such as navigation or footer items.

Tools for Managing Nofollow Tags

Here are some handy tools for working with nofollow links:

  1. Screaming Frog: A popular SEO spider tool that can help you identify nofollow links on your website.
  2. Yoast SEO: A WordPress plugin that makes adding nofollow tags easier
  3. NoFollow Chrome Extension: A browser extension that highlights nofollow links

Bottom Line

Understanding how to use the tag properly and when to use it is an essential SEO skill. The nofollow tag is a useful SEO tool for managing web crawlers and your crawl budget. They also provide a way to limit authority to non-reputable sites and have other uses for managing how search robots crawl your content.

For more, see Google’s documentation on qualifying your outbound links, including additional examples on when to use nofollow and similar tags.

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