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SEO: What Is a “Nofollow” Link?


Have you ever been reading the comment section of a website and noticed a random, totally unrelated comment with a link? There’s a reason someone posted that, and there’s also a solution to discourage spam like that.

Nofollow links do not allow the search engine bots to follow the link. Why would you want to let bots know to NOT follow the link? As mentioned above, possibly the best example to think about why “Nofollow” links are needed is when it comes to the comment section of a blog or article. Chances are, you’ve seen a random comment on a blog or news article that has a link to a totally unrelated website from the subject matter of the article. It used to be because those links helped websites rank higher. The more links there were pointing back to your site, the higher your placement on the SERP. Before long, blogs and other websites were overrun with people adding spammy comments with links in an effort to rank their site higher via Google’s Pagerank.

To combat the ridiculous amount of spam comments, members of Google’s Blogger team, Matt Cutts and Jason Shellen, introduced the “Nofollow” links. The end result is quite simple and has been adapted by many other sites like Wordpress: By automatically adding in the “nofollow” code for the comments section, people won’t add as many spam comments. After all, if Google or another search engine isn’t going to recognize a link, then why post it at all? Voila!

Dofollow links are exactly what they sound like. Search engine bots as well as people can click them, and the bots index them as well. Legitimate links are Dofollow.

To get a visual, here are Nofollow and Dofollow links compared:

Nofollow Link Example:

nofollow link example - griffin and co marketing arlington.png

Dofollow Link Example:

dofollow link example - griffin and co marketing arlington.png

Neat, huh?