In 2005, the nofollow tag was created by the head of Google.com’s webspam team to help combat search engine spam.
First, what is a nofollow tag? A nofollow tag is a non-standard, meaning not normal or frequently used, HTML attribute value. This specific HTML attribute value tells search engines that when a chosen hyperlink is clicked on, it shouldn’t affect the website’s ranking. With a nofollow tag, search engines will ingore a certain link and not count it as part of your backlink profile.
How does the nofollow tag combat spam? The nofollow tag, or code, tells a search engine that a link does not have value, either positively or negatively. When spam companies overload websites with links to their websites, they outrank valuable websites. For a website creator, this can make or break your success. The nofollow tag helps improve quality of links, so when a search is conducted by a user, the results won’t be full of spam links. Nofollow tags are used by most of the major search engines including Yahoo!, Google, and MSN. Smaller search engines may not use them, but are slowly catching up as they do provide great benefits including:
- preventing spam from infiltrating your website
- preventing your website from looking like spam
- helping to build brand awareness
- leading to dofollow links
- improving domain authority
- improving search engine optimization (SEO) ranking
What are the best circumstances to use the nofollow tag? The most common uses of the nofollow tag include:
- Forums: spam websites will post their links on forums. The nofollow tag prevents this from happening allowing only quality links to be posted for users to explore.
- Blogs: the most common place for spam links to appear is in blog comments, which is why the nofollow tag was originally created. Blogs are also the most common place for the nofollow tag to be used. Website builders offer a nofollow plugin for websites and blogs.
- News websites the contain links
- Social media links
In any situation where you don’t want a link to be considered spam, you will want to use the nofollow tag. There is also a dofollow tag, which can help your search engine results page rankings. Unlike the nofollow tag, the dofollow tag will count in Google’s algorithm. The backlinks in dofollow can help you to build your domain authority. This will benefit your website and your overall conversions and revenues. To avoid looking like spam, you should use a dofollow tag on one link and the nofollow tag on multiples of that link.
How can you find out which links on your website have a nofollow tag? There is an extension on Google Chrome that will allow you to see all nofollow tags by striking them out. Another way to check for nofollow tags is to right click on a browser page and click on “view page source.” From here, search for the link you want to check on in the HTML and if you see a rel=”nofollow,” you will know the link is nofollow.