What are Nofollow links? And their history

Nofollow links

What are Nofollow links?

Nofollow is the value used for rel attribute in html for a tag. It was first proposed by Matt Cutts who is the head of Google’s spam team to combat link spam. In earlier days, people used to spam blogs with lot of irrelevant comments on numerous blogs for the sake of getting backlinks to their blogs or websites.

When this Nofollow value is used for rel attribute in a tag in html, it tells search engines like Google that the website which used the nofollow should not pass any value to the linking website.

This is the basic usage of nofollow value in a tag.

<a href=http://www.wikihow.com rel=”nofollow”>Wiki How</a>

In the above, the nofollow value is used for rel attribute in the a tag. This nofollow value is assigned for the link wikihow.com. For example, if this html code was used in my blog say in dheerajkumar.com.

It says that, Dheerajkumar.com is not willing to pass any value to the link wikihow.com, though it was hyperlinked in the website dheerajkumar.com. It does not want to pass any link juice to wikihow.com.

Increase in visibility of quality sites in Google:

Earlier, Google used to rank websites basing on the number of backlinks they have for their website. This has increased a lot of comment spam, because, by commenting on other blogs, you will be getting free backlinks. Therefore by knowing this, every webmaster started to comment on various blogs to get more links thinking that they can get ranked easily with more backlinks in Google.

Some advanced spammers, even started using spamming tools or bots which automatically comments on list of blogs. This has increased the comment spam a lot, like each blog which accepts comments automatically ended up with tens of thousands of comments which are commented by bots automatically. And therefore getting thousands of thousand backlinks to sites related to pharmacy and other spam sites which ranked in Google in 1st position for very high competitive keywords.

This has hurt many legitimate businesses a lot. So, finally, Google’s spam team head matt cutts introduced this nofollow attribute, which has solved this spam problem. Immediately, after the proposal of Nofollow attribute, many blogs started implementing this feature in their blogs. For WordPress blogging platform, by default all the comments will be no followed.

After the implementation of Nofollow, many spam sites which used to rank a lot with blog comments, suddenly lost their link values and hence their rankings got dropped.

According to Google, all links should be earned naturally. What spammers did here was, by using bots, they got thousands of backlinks hence they lost their rankings.

Page Rank Flow:

Nofollow tag is used by Search Engine Optimization professionals to control the flow of page rank. Since Google has suggested that, using nofollow will reduce the page rank flow from the incoming site to the outgoing site.

Suppose, if you are linking to Wikipedia.com from Msn.com with a nofollow link. Then, the page rank flow from Msn.com to Wikipedia.com is zero. That means, it won’t pass any page rank to Wikipedia.com when used with a nofollow link.

This applied to internal linking also. Some SEO professionals say that, for pages like About Us, Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy, passing page rank to these pages is not necessary and recommend to nofollow these pages as well.

One must not be afraid of passing page rank from their website to others. But consider in passing link juice to only relevant sites. Some sites like Wikipedia nofollow all of its external links. And they say why they did that because, to avoid attracting spammers whose main intention is to get a link. Since, Wikipedia is a very popular website with very high authority, getting a dofollow link will get more link juice to their site. So, they produce low quality content in order to get a backlink. Since it is also a human edited content platform, they made all their external links nofollow to get only quality content.

Final Conclusion:

  • Nofollow all your affiliate links
  • If you are selling any text links, make sure you nofollow those links in order to not to get penalized.
  • Nofollow all irrelevant external and internal links in your website.
  • Only dofollow links which are related to your topic.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this article. Please don’t hesitate to post a comment below. Happy blogging!