What Is Nofollow Tag And How To Add Rel Nofollow To A Link

Nofollow tag and “rel nofollow” are two mysteries for bloggers. Today I’ll explain what is nofollow tag, how to add “rel nofollow” to a link and which links should have this tag added to them. Please read this article, because it is very important that you should start implementing this strategy on your blog or a website.

What Is Nofollow Tag

Very simply, nofollow tag is a way to let the search engines know not to follow a link. In a more complex way, it is an HTML tag that is added inside your link to tell search engines that the link is not important and that it should not be followed by the bots. It tells the search bots to drop the link and not to give it any linking credit or link juice from the page where the link appears.

You will also come across the term rel nofollow or rel=”nofollow”. The “rel” stands for an attribute that specifies a relationship between the current document (your page or post) and the linked document (for example, a website where your link redirects the readers) (Source).

Google endorses nofollow. In the video below Matt Cutts answers two questions about nofollow links. This video is quite old but the content of this video is just as relevant today as it was then.

Which Links Should Have A Nofollow Tag

  1. Promotional links. These are the links that lead to an advertising page. You certainly don’t want to transfer any link juice from your page to an advertising page. As well, Google frowns on dofollow promotional links and they consider them a spam. Your site may be demoted and even removed from Google database if you continue to do it.
  2. When you don’t want to give credit to an external link. There are certain situations where you want to mention a site and you want to link to the site if you are using it as a bad example. You certainly do not want to give that website any link credit. In this instance you will add the rel-nofollow to the link and the search bots will overlook it.
  3. Use it whenever you do not want to endorse a site, bad or good. This scenario is suitable for sites that you want to reference, but they are not sites that are specifically contributing to the content of your article.

How To Add Rel Nofollow To a Link

There are couple of ways to add this tag to your hyperlink.

  1. Use a plugin. There is a plugin called Rel Nofollow Checkbox. It adds a prompt in your WordPress editor’s hyperlink window to add this tag to your link . By simply ticking off the checkbox, the plugin adds the rel=”nofollow” to a link. This is the simplest way to do it, however, it means that you have to add another plugin to your WordPress blog for something that could easily be added manually.

rel nofollow checkbox

  1. Manual insertion. To manually add this tag to a link is very simple.
    1. First, create a regular hyperlink, as you would normally do. I will use “Blogging Spree” as my anchor text, and I will link it to the home page. As well I’ll make sure to add the “open in new window” option
    2. Regular link: <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Blogging Spree</a>
    3. Access Text editor
    4. Add rel=”nofollow”
    5. Link with rel=”nofollow”: <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Blogging Spree</a>
Make sure to include ” (quotation mark) behind the link URL before the rel=”nofollow” tag if that is all you are going to insert into the link. So your link would look as follows:
<a href=”“rel=”nofollow”>Blogging Spree</a>

Now the search engines will not follow the link. This attribute is not visible on the page. To the viewer modified links appear exactly the same as the regular links.

Now that you know what is nofollow tag and how to add rel nofollow to a link, take time to go over your blog, particularly the posts where have advertised links and widgets where you show advertisements, and add this attribute to them.

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17 Responses to What Is Nofollow Tag And How To Add Rel Nofollow To A Link

  1. Nisha Pandey April 19, 2015 at 6:23 am #

    Hi Dita,

    I knew about the no-follow but had little knowledge on how to implement one.

    Thanks to this guide now I’ll be able to do it. Generally I always make the links used in my post a do-follow. Of course they are worthy of following.

    But it never hurts to know a few details, the situation may arise when I have to use one. Thanks for this extremely simplified guide.

    A real help for all bloggers. Have a great week ahead!
    Nisha Pandey recently posted…BOOM! An awesome talk with Ritesh Sarvaiya, the founder of DefencelyMy Profile

  2. Mark April 6, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    Thanks so much Dita!

    Your explanation was easy and non techie enough, that even a self confessed non techie
    such as myself could actually follow it!LOL!

    I saw one of your comments over at my Coach & Mentors blog, Adrienne Smith. So I
    thought, I’d better check this out.

    And I’m glad I did, although typically, whenever I would see this type of topic covered, I would simply head in the opposite direction asap!LOL!

    By thanks to your extremely helpful images and your explanations. I think even I could do it.

    Although, I think I’ll just go the plugin route!LOL!

    Thanks for sharing some excellent information and I’ll definitely share it!
    Mark recently posted…Why Sometimes Even Savvy Entrepreneurs Just Gotta Cut Loose And Have A Little Fun!My Profile

    • Dita Irvine April 12, 2015 at 9:55 am #

      Hi Mark,

      nice to see you here. I am glad, you were able to follow this nofollow article (lol). I am chuckling as I write this response. But honestly, I feel good that you were able to follow my explanation. It always makes me feel good to know that when I write on a more techie topic it comes across simple enough for other people to follow even if they dislike techie subjects.

      So your comment is really appreciated as it makes me feel that I did a good job of it.

      Take care
      Dita Irvine recently posted…The Millionaire’s Brain – What Is It About: ReviewMy Profile

  3. Naveen Kumar March 27, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    Hey Dita,
    Fantastic cover on the topic.
    As most of us aware of the no follow links, what they do not aware of the real meaning and it’s working as well as insertion on your their blog.
    You have explained it so clearly that any can understand and implement it.
    Thanks for this update.
    Have a great day 🙂

    • Dita Irvine March 31, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

      Hi Naveen,

      sorry to get back to you this late. Thank you for your comment. It is true, many people know about nofollow links, but don’t know how to address this issue. I am glad this was of help to you
      Dita Irvine recently posted…21 Inspirational Quotes About ProductivityMy Profile

  4. Shamsudeen March 26, 2015 at 9:41 am #

    Hi Dita,

    This topic you raised is such an important one in the SEO arena, many blogs have fell under the big “G” hammer for such thing as passing many do follow outbound links juice.

    Well, is sad sometimes even when Google themselves can’t tell if a link is passing link juice or not – I mean sponsored link and editorial link – sometimes is hard to tell which is which.

    I can’t remember the last time I ever no-follow a link in the body of my copy going to a site I reference. Though this is because I tried as possible I can to make sure I only cite authority blogs related to the topic.

    Only affiliates links I do add the no-follow tag with the help of “thritsy affiliate wp plugin”. And thanks for mentioning “add nofollow check box” in this post, I once saw it on a friends dashboard but forgot to inquire more about it.

    So thanks for sharing, have a nice day.
    Shamsudeen recently posted…5 Advance SEO Techniques 2015 That Really WorksMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine March 26, 2015 at 10:48 am #

      Hi Shamsudeen,

      I think that it is our responsibility to ensure that we assign the nofollow to our link. As I said before, whenever I use a reference link I always leave it as dofollow.

      As far as the plugins are concerned, I am very cautious to add a new plugin for fear of affecting the load speed of my blog. This manual method is so simple and it takes just a few seconds to implement. For me it is well worth doing it that way.
      Dita Irvine recently posted…WordPress Tutorial For BeginnersMy Profile

  5. Adrienne March 25, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    Hi Dita,

    I agree, very informative and helpful post.

    This is something everyone needs to learn about because doing this the wrong way can hurt your site in the long run and we certainly don’t want to do that. A lot of the things that we learned some time ago still do apply today as you stated with Matt’s older video.

    Great lesson and I’ll be sure to share this post too.


    • Dita Irvine March 26, 2015 at 10:42 am #

      Hi Adrienne,

      The nofollow rule has been so ancient but I guess it is not the most sexy or glamorous topic and it is not discussed often in the blogging circles. Yet it is so important as we have many affiliate links on our blogs which needlessly take away the link juice.
      Dita Irvine recently posted…3 Simple Steps To Increase Productivity And ProfitabilityMy Profile

  6. Mustafa Gaziani March 25, 2015 at 10:44 am #

    Oh wow dita … fantastic post. In this post, you’ve shared some great nuggets. Yes, I agree with Matt cutts, It is very important to make all the links (low valuable and low authority) no follow by adding a tag rel=”nofollow” with it and you’ve present it in very great manner.

    It’s my time on your blog. I hope I’ll come to your blog continuously to find more nuggets.

    Mustafa Gaziani recently posted…Case Study: How to turn Your Search Traffic from Blah into Fantastic in 2015My Profile

    • Dita Irvine March 25, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

      Hi Mustafa,

      Thank you for stopping by. I am glad you found the post helpful. Not too many people use nofollow, especially for their ads links and that could prove dangerous for them because their site may be considered spammy.

      By the way I went ahead and checked the link to your post and the post is awesome. Congrats to you!
      Dita Irvine recently posted…3 Simple Steps To Increase Productivity And ProfitabilityMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine March 25, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

      Hi Mustafa,

      Thank you for stopping by. I am glad you found the post helpful. Not too many people use nofollow, especially for their ads links and that could prove dangerous for them because their site may be considered spammy.

      By the way I went ahead and checked the link to your post and the post is awesome. Congrats to you!
      Dita Irvine recently posted…3 Simple Steps To Increase Productivity And ProfitabilityMy Profile

  7. Cararta March 23, 2015 at 9:43 pm #

    Hi Dita,

    Good advice.
    If I remember Google also doesn’t like cloaked links,
    so that might be something to consider.

    Know many think a cloaked link is no follow, but don’t think that is so!
    Will have to go look up to decide!

    Some of the old Matt Cutts’s videos are loaded with sometimes simple, but very good information that you can use.
    Cararta recently posted…Review: 7 Indispensable Content & Website GradersMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine March 25, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

      Hi Cararta,

      I always use a redirect script for my links simply because some of the affiliate links are so long and ugly. Plus my script allows me to edit my links if I want to without needing to change anything on my site. Redirected link is not nofollow. You have to make it nofollow.

      As far as I remember, Google does not have an issue with regular, cloaked links. There are some cloaking techniques that they don’t like, but since I am not using them, I am not concerned.
      Dita Irvine recently posted…WordPress Tutorial Table Of ContentsMy Profile

  8. Sylviane Nuccio March 23, 2015 at 9:32 am #

    Hi Dita,

    I think that the do follow or no follow process is pretty much explanatory, yet, even some so called experts are confused about that.

    I was told once to make sure I include the no-follow tag on every single post I link to (even those in my niche), but I was told later, and Neil Patel confirmed that in some of his posts that it would be a mistake NOT to follow a link in such case. So I do link to blog posts that are in my niche and related to my topic at hand now.

    It all actually makes sense, but people are making it confusing for others at times.

    Thanks for the clarification and have a great week ahead!

    • Dita Irvine March 25, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

      Hi Sylviane,

      I never add nofollow to links which I cite in my articles. I always feel that when I use them as a reference they deserve their link to be a dofollow. I think that most serious internet marketers follow the same route. Google encourages internal reference links. It let’s them know that your article is well researched. If I remember correctly, linking to authority website was plus in their algorithmic eyes.

      Take care
      Dita Irvine recently posted…One Thousand Dollar Day Club – Success StoriesMy Profile