Since we are on the topic of internal links, let’s discuss what the nofollow tag is. What is its importance?When do you use the nofollow attribute on links? All that and more will be discussed on this blog post.
In 2005, the nofollow attribute was introduced, but it appears that people are still unsure about its purpose and usage. Google’s Nathan Johns even made sure that nofollow has not changed since its conception.
In this article, I hope to eradicate the confusion and explain what the nofollow attribute really is. So, let’s start with the most basic question…
What Is the Nofollow Attribute?
The nofollow tag is an indication that search engines should NOT follow an external link. This is implemented when a certain website does NOT endorse another website.
In HTML, the code rel=”nofollow” is added to indicate the nofollow attribute.
The History of Nofollow
Before we discuss further, let’s go over its brief history. The nofollow attribute start during the early 2000s. People already had an idea that links were an integral part of Google. Because of this, people took advantage of adding links. In fact, people added too many links; it was not about the quality of links anymore. The links became a quantity game!
As a result, Google had to formulate a solution to the increasing number of spam links. The solution that Google came up with was the nofollow attribute. This will signal Google that you don’t want the search engines to follow or count this link.
Aside from this, Google wanted users to implement the nofollow attribute for paid links. Also, the nofollow attribute will tell Google that you have NO control over the link.
Gradually, Google decided to penalize people who kept inserting too many links. Anytime the links seemed unnatural, Google will automatically penalize the website. Prior to the invention of search engines, people knew of new websites through linking.
Today, as you can see, search engines have been an essential part of our daily lives.
Nofollow Links Has a Purpose
Using the nofollow tag would mean that you transfer the existing website quality to another site. Moreover, Google cannot reprimand you for linking a low-quality website. Also, Google has not set a number of allowable links in a page.
If you remember the YouTube video of Matt Cutts that I previously mentioned, he clarified that too many links do not typically hurt a website. For as long as you are not exaggerating, then your website should be okay. Watch more of Matt Cutts’ explanation here.
Most of the popular websites nowadays always toggle the nofollow attribute on their external links. So, the next time you wonder about the nofollow attribute, remember that this feature is important.
At the end of the day, you are linking a website to raise awareness. You are linking it for additional reading and for people to widen their search. There are NO exact rules provided by Google on whether you should nofollow or follow a link.
However, there are some guidelines to follow on when to specifically use the nofollow tag. Read more about this on When to Use the Nofollow Tag on Links?