Jun 29, 2022

What is a No Follow Link? Definition, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Suman Samal, Asst. Marketing Manager
Suman Samal
What is a No Follow Link? Definition, Advantages, and Disadvantages
Suman Samal, Asst. Marketing Manager
Suman Samal
Jun 29, 2022

What is a No Follow Link? Definition, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Nofollow links help maintain a healthy link profile on your website and rank better. Read on to know more about no follow links in detail.
What is a No Follow Link? Definition, Advantages, and Disadvantages

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If you're an SEO executive or content marketer interested in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), then you've probably heard of nofollow links. Nofollow links are one of the many complexities of search engine rankings and content marketing, and as such, they need a blog post of their own.

In this blog post, we'll explain what nofollow links are, what they do and why they were created, as well as discuss some of the benefits of using such links. We'll also share some tips on how to use links on your site so that you can improve your online marketing efforts. We hope you find this post helpful!

What Are Nofollow Links?

Nofollow links are outgoing links on a website with a rel= "nofollow" HTML tag. These links do not pass on the SEO juice to the linked source from your website. They are a great way to reduce spam on your website and maintain your web pages’ rank. 

To comply with Google's link spamming guidelines, an ideal linking profile should have a mix of dofollow and nofollow links.

Nofollow vs. Dofollow Links — What’s the Difference?

It's no secret that link building is one of the most important aspects of on-page and off-page SEO. Without links, your website will miss referral traffic and rank lower in search engine results pages (SERPs). Links can be nofollow or dofollow. Let’s look at the difference between them.

Nofollow links have no direct impact on the SEO of a website, whereas dofollow links increase the page rank and domain authority of websites. This is because dofollow links pass on the page rank and thus increase the website's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Example of a nofollow link in HTML code: <a href="https://scalenut.com" rel="nofollow"> This is a nofollow link</a>

Example of a dofollow link in HTML code: <a href="https://scalenut.com"> This is a dofollow link</a>

The only technical difference between the two is that nofollow links have an additional rel= "nofollow" tag, whereas dofollow links don't.

How Do You Check if a Link is Nofollow?

Here are the steps to checking if a link is nofollow:

Step 1: Right-click the anchor text and select 'Inspect' or 'view page source.’

Step 2: Check the highlighted code. If it has the tag rel = "nofollow," then your hyperlink is a nofollow link.

If you're a Google Chrome user, you can use the 'Strike Out Nofollow Links’ extension to automatically identify nofollow links on webpages.

Why Did Search Engines Create the Nofollow Tag?

Nofollow tags have been around for a while now, and their purpose is pretty simple - to help search engines differentiate between genuine value-adding links and spam or non-valuable links.

By default, all links on a website are followed by search engine spiders unless the link has a rel = "nofollow" tag, or the header of your webpage has a nofollow tag. This way, search engine spiders won't index and crawl the spam links, and users won't see spammy sites in their search results. These links help search engines with crawl prioritization.

What Types of Links are Nofollow?

Nofollow links are links that do not add SEO value to the webpage. It includes links to functional anchor texts such as ‘Sign-in’ or ‘Start your free trial.’

The following is a list of different sources that tend to have a nofollow tag when you link from them:

  • Blog comments
  • Social Media Posts (Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube, etc.)
  • Forum links or other user-generated content websites
  • News Websites like the Huffington Post
  • Widget Links
  • Press Release Links

Apart from these common types, a few popular websites that use the rel= "nofollow" tag by default are as follows:

  • Quora
  • Youtube
  • Wikipedia
  • Reddit
  • Twitch
  • Medium

According to Google, dofollow links should appear organically, and the search engine giant continues to find advanced ways to track and penalize websites that practice link buying or selling.

What are the Benefits of Nofollow Links?

Nofollow links are an important part of an effective SEO strategy. They are a great way to improve organic traffic for your website and stop spammers from misusing your comments sections.

By marking links as nofollow, you will stop them from polluting the search engine results pages (SERPs), social media results pages (SMPs), and most importantly, your comment sections. This way, you can ensure that your valuable comments remain untouched and uncluttered by comment spam.

Do Nofollow Links Help With SEO?

The answer to this question is a little cloudy. Some believe that they do, and some believe they do not. Google does not follow them. 

No follow links do not help directly with SEO, however they do help you in other ways. For starters, they help distinguish between links that you want search engine crawlers to index and the ones that you do not. This is important because it allows you to focus your link-building efforts on the most relevant part of your site.

Additionally, nofollow links may help bring traffic to your website from forums like Quora and Reddit. Make sure to do your research before implementing nofollow links on your site to ensure that they are effective for your particular situation.

1. They help diversify your link profile

Nofollow links help diversify your link profile. This way, if a search engine crawler encounters your website for the first time and starts indexing it, it will understand which links are important and which ones are not. Having a healthy ratio of both in your link profile is essential, as search engines prefer websites with a mix of both types of links.

2. They drive traffic, and traffic drives followed links

There is a lot of speculation surrounding the supposed negative effect nofollow links have on search engine ranking.

However, in theory, they should not have an effect. What they do is reduce the importance of a link- which in turn decreases the link juice of your page. But that's only if you consider search engine ranking to be purely algorithmic- if people like what they see on your website and decide to share it with their followers, then nofollow links will bring traffic to your website.

3. They can protect against Google penalties

Dofollow paid links are typically regarded as a valuable SEO resource. Google, on the other hand, warns against buying dofollow links and believes that sponsored links are in violation of the webmaster guidelines.

Google may levy a manual penalty on you if you are discovered to have purchased or sold dofollow links on your website. Creating a mix of both helps you maintain a healthy balance and avoid such penalties.

What’s the Difference Between Nofollow and Noindex?

Noindex is a metatag used in the header section of your webpage HTML to inform Google that it should not crawl or index the webpage for SERPs.

On the other hand, nofollow is specific to not crawling and indexing links and does not impact the entire webpage.

How Do I Use Nofollow Links on My Site?

Nofollow links are a great way to improve your link profile, protect your page rank and SEO juice, and prevent Google from crawling unimportant backlinks on your website.

To use nofollow backlinks, first, make sure you understand their purpose. They can help you create a healthy link profile by reducing the number of page rank-worthy outbound links to your page.

Additionally, the nofollow HTML tag can also help protect your page rank and SEO juice from spammers. You can use these links on any page of your website - including your homepage, blog, and content pages.

Finally, nofollow links prevent Google from crawling unimportant functional links such as 'Sign-in' 'Book now' or 'Start your free trial.'

How Do I Use Nofollow Links on Other Websites?

Nofollow links are not only useful in protecting your web pages, they also play a pivotal role in marketing your content on other websites. For instance, you can answer Quora questions related to your content and generate organic traffic from nofollow links from the Q&A community. Similarly, if used right, nofollow links will bring genuine traffic to your website and create future dofollow links when they create content and link back to you.

Here are a few steps to create value-adding content that people love to read:

1. Write about topics that interest your audience.

2. Use your unique voice to spark conversation and engage your audience for further discussions.

3. If you can, find ways to connect with your audience on a deeper level.

4. Offer valuable insights and advice, or share entertaining stories.

5. Be sure to publish regular content that keeps your audience coming back for more.


Nofollow links can help improve your off-page SEO and prevent spammy link building. There is no dearth of information on the internet. To become a thought leader in your field, it is important that you offer value-adding content and protect your page rank from dilution at all costs. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking to enhance your content marketing efforts, a fair knowledge of how to extract value out of nofollow links will help you bring organic traffic to your website. We hope this blog helps you in doing both. At Scalenut, we live and breathe content. Check out our comprehensive knowledge pool to know more about various aspects of content marketing, SEO, and online marketing.


Q1. How do you make a link nofollow?

Ans: To make a link nofollow, add the rel= "nofollow" attribute to the anchored text.

Q2. How can nofollow links help in off-page SEO?

Ans: Nofollow links can improve off-page SEO by bringing in organic traffic from UGC forums with an active audience. These visits are purely due to the value addition of your content.

Q3. Are nofollow links a Google ranking factor?

Ans: Nofollow links are not a ranking factor on Google. The search engines do not crawl or index such links.

Q4. Are nofollow links important?

Ans: Yes, nofollow links are vital. Links that do not have the rel="nofollow" attribute are considered unimportant from an SEO perspective and will automatically be excluded by search engines. Additionally, they help you maintain a healthy link profile on your website.

Q5. What does nofollow link mean?

Ans: A nofollow link is a link that doesn't send traffic to the site being linked. The link is still visible on the search engine results pages (SERPs), but it doesn't promote or endorse the linked site.

Suman Samal
Asst. Marketing Manager
ABout the AUTHOR
Suman Samal
Asst. Marketing Manager

Suman Samal is a Asst. Marketing Manager at Scalenut. She is a technology enthusiast with a keen interest in content marketing and SEO. She truly believes that with the right set of tools every organization can improve the ROI of their content marketing campaigns. She spends her time managing content operations at Scalenut and ensuring that everything we publish is of the highest quality.

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