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There are thousands of articles explaining what rel nofollow is and what it does and how to do it. Read on to find a comprehensive list of when and why to use it.
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For information on what nofollow links are and how to add them, please see the following article from Wordstream. Follow Links Vs. No Follow Links: Should You Care?
Always Nofollow These:
A quick question to ask yourself when you’re pondering the follow/nofollow decision is; does this link add value or enhance the immediate content in this blog post? If the answer is no, then add a nofollow.
Sign in or sign up pages
Where ever there is a link to a login, registration, or signup page on your site, nofollow that link. It doesn’t add link value to your blog post content because crawlers can’t register or log into, the crawl as a whole is useless. Included types of pages are resource libraries, landing pages for signups, and membership sign-on.
Both Google and Amazon have specific policies that state any links to advertising or affiliate products must be nofollow. Both companies have penalties for not following the instructions, your site could lose its ranking, and its traffic. Other ad networks will undoubtedly have similar policies and for non-compliance.
This guideline applies to sponsored links as well. If there’s any payment of cash, goods, or services from your link, then nofollow, nofollow, nofollow.
Bad Examples / Misinformation
I know that NONE of us points to sites that have either misinformation or are just a bad example in any of our blog posts, right?
Hypothetically if we were to do such a thing, a nofollow is a must here because we don’t want to be giving invalid information any lovin’ from Google.
Spammy looking or untrustworthy websites
It begs the question of why anyone would want to link to potentially spammy or untrustworthy sites in the first place. Though news sites with all their popup ads are spammy in my eyes.
If you do want to link to one, be safe and use a nofollow. A nofollow will make sure that Google won’t associate your site with the questionable one.
Always Follow These:
Always have follow links on your site (unless they go to signup, login, or landing pages). If a page doesn’t have inbound and outbound links, it’s considered an orphan and won’t rank very well.
Internal links to your posts
- Add links in your post to relevant content elsewhere on your site “above the fold” This means to get the links into your content before a user would have to scroll.
- Link to content from websites that are relevant to your current subject; this will add credibility to your post with Google and your users.
- Internal links between your content also help the crawlers weave a web to crawl your site more efficiently.
When Either Follow Or Nofollow Is Okay
The following are categories of links that had opposing viewpoints of how to handle them. Since these aren’t links that could bear penalties from Google, use your judgment.
Social Media Links
There are two opposing views on this category of links.
- Never, EVER nofollow your own social media links. Having these shows the crawler connections to your social media.
- Always nofollow any links to social media networks that are just to the company URL and don’t connect to a specific person or place. It doesn’t pay to give the social media giants any more juice than they already have.
Vendors and agency links.
These are the links are that appear in the footer of your website pages with information about the theme or designer. Most designers embed links to their websites. There are two schools of thought about this type of link.
- They increase outbound traffic that doesn’t add anything to your content and should be nofollowed.
- The company that created your theme or designed and implemented your website deserves the credit and should get some love.
I chose the latter. By keeping that link in my footer, it recognized the creators the designed the great theme and helped my blog become successful.
Widget developers tend to embed their websites into their code.
I think this is taking the whole nofollow thing a little far. Most of us don’t want to dig through the code of every widget on our site, find the href statements and add rel=nofollow to them. I found this opinion on a couple of websites that specialize in optimizing SEO efficiency … for a price. So there’s a little self-interest involved with those companies, hoping for your business to update your widgets.
If at some point, someone can make a strong ‘why’ statement about why we should do this, I’m going to leave them alone.
A word about inbound links to your website
Some of the big sites such as CNN, NFL, Forbes, and the Huff Post have started putting nofollow on all their outbound links. If you get an article published on a large site that has this practice, you won’t get any link juice from them. However, it’s not a useless scenario; the link is still highly valuable because of the sheer number of followers and subscribers that these sites get. Nofollow links build site awareness in this case.
Here’s an excellent article on the Power of Nofollow Links from Moz.
Until Next Time …
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