Nofollow links are hyperlinks with the HTML tag rel="nofollow". The attribute is added to the link to prevent search engine robots from following it, which allows it not to influence the ranking of the page to which the link leads. Nofollow links visually do not differ from others, but it is quite easy to check for the presence of the tag. To do this, it is enough to open the page code and see if the attribute is present in the links. The typical format of such a link is: <a href="page address" rel="nofollow">anchor text</a>. Sometimes the tag is added to the header of the page to apply nofollow to all existing links.
The nofollow tag is usually used for links to external sources and very rarely for internal cross-links. Such links perform several important functions:
- Protection against spam — initially, Google introduced this tag to deprive spammers of the opportunity to leave links in comments on the site and benefit from ranking. The appearance of nofollow has deprived such actions of any benefit;
- Scanning priority distribution — if there are links on a page that do not carry any special benefit and are not a priority for indexing by a search robot, then nofollow can be added to them;
- Use of advertising and partner links — Google recommends indicating paid links with the "sponsored" and "nofollow" tags to avoid misleading the search robot. This will also protect you from unwarranted complaints that you are selling a link;
- Preservation of trust — if you place a link to a resource on your site with which you do not want to be associated or that does not inspire trust in Google, it is better to close it with the nofollow tag;
- Diversity of link profiles — a site cannot have only dofollow links because this can cause mistrust from Google. The presence of nofollow makes the overall picture of links more natural;
- Obtaining dofollow links — a nofollow link to your site can be placed on external resources, after which someone will click on it and decide to share the content they are interested in already in the form of a dofollow link.
Abusing nofollow is not worth it, and it is not necessary to put this tag for every external link. Also, this tag should be absent when buying links on donor sites, otherwise, your site will not benefit from it. It is necessary to check that nofollow is not on internal links leading to important pages.