Have you ever seen those game shows where participants have to find the designer product in a sea of fakes?
It is my favorite part of watching the participants squint to examine the products. Firstly because I love game shows, but also because you really can’t tell the difference at first glance.
Nofollow links are something like that. You can’t tell them apart from regular links just by looking at them.
Since Google continues to prioritize links in its ranking criteria, tracking those links should be on your SEO to-do list.
How do you find nofollow links and add them to your web pages? All of these answers and more below.
What is a nofollow link?
When you hyperlink text, that link is in an HTML tag. A nofollow link is an attribute within the tag that tells Google to ignore the link while crawling the page. This is widely used in comments, forums, and more recently sponsored links.
This is important as links have a huge impact on your search engine ranking. Regardless of whether you are linking internally or externally, this tells Google that the landing page is valuable. This, in turn, can increase the ranking of the page – it’s called “link juice”.
The better your link building, the better your chances of ranking higher.
So if you tell Google to ignore a link, the landing page won’t get any link juice. For example, let’s say a food blogger uploads a blog post. The blogger can add a nofollow attribute to the comments section to tell Google, “Hey, any link in here is not associated with me and I don’t vouch for it.”
As Google is tightening its link requirements, it’s important for brands to understand how they work.
This is how you can tell whether a link is not following
To find a nofollow link, you can follow one of two routes: use a tool that does it for you (jump to this section here), or check it out yourself. For the DIY option, here are the steps :
1. Right click on the page and select the Verify option.
2. Hold down Command + F or Ctrl + F to search for “nofollow” in your code.
3. Scroll to find the highlighted nofollow attributes. It should look something like this:
How to create a nofollow link
Creating a nofollow link is as simple as adding rel = “nofollow” to the anchor tag in the HTML. If that didn’t make sense, don’t worry. Here is the breakdown:
The code for a regular hyperlink looks like this:
When you add a nofollow link attribute, the attribute moves between the target URL and the linked text as follows:
Here is an example of using the HubSpot blog:
Once you have the link, you can add it to the appropriate section of the source code on your content management system (CMS).
How to create a nofollow link in WordPress
When creating a nofollow link in WordPress you have two options: manually entering a link in the HTML code or using a plugin. You can find the individual steps here.
Manually creating a nofollow link in WordPress
1. Select the anchor text that you want to add a link to.
2. Click the link icon to add a link to the field.
3. Click on the three dots and select “Edit HTML”.
4. Add the rel = “nofollow” attribute and you’re done.
If you’re using an older version of WordPress, you may need to access the source code from the Text tab.
Then add the nofollow attribute manually.
Once that’s done, return to the “Virtual” tab and continue editing the post.
Creating a nofollow link in WordPress with a plugin
When creating a nofollow link with a plugin, the steps vary depending on the plugin installed. However, here is an example of how it works with the All in One SEO for WordPress plugin.
1. First download the plugin and activate it.
2. Create or edit a post or page.
3. In your edit text field, select the anchor text and click the link icon.
4. Paste the target link into the field.
5. In the same field, you will also see additional options for the link, including the “Add Nofollow To Link” option.
6. Make sure this option is selected and you are done.
Pro tip: Many SEO plugins include the nofollow link function. So if you want to optimize your website, you can install a plugin with multiple SEO features.
Nofollow link checker tools
This free Google Chrome extension created by the SEO software company Moz highlights all the nofollow links on a page with one click.
It also tracks internal and external links and keywords that are followed on the page. MozBar identifies each link type by its color, so you can quickly scan the page and find what you’re looking for.
When using the extension, keep in mind that when you scroll down, you will not see any links under drop-down menus. You need to click the menu to see the nofollow links. Confused? See the GIF below.
With Varvy’s free nofollow tool, finding nofollow links is as easy as entering the page’s URL and clicking “Test”. It doesn’t provide a picture of where the nofollow links are on the page, but it does show you how many there are.
This is one of the easiest ways to get an idea of how many nofollow links you have. From there, you’ll need to find other tools to carry out your next steps.
3. No Follow
NoFollow is a free extension for Chrome and Firefox. Similar to MozBar, the nofollow links on the page are identified and highlighted using a red dotted box.
As long as the extension is active, it will work without prompting on any page you visit. Just like with the MozBar, if a link under a drop-down menu has a nofollow attribute, it won’t appear until you click the drop-down menu.
So imagine yourself like a game show contestant. To win the SEO game, you need to take a closer look at your website’s links. This will keep you on the good side of Google and increase your chances of landing (and staying) on the first page of the SERP.