Have you ever watched those game shows where competitors have to find the creator’s product in a sea of fakes?
Watching the competitors squint to review the products is my favorite part. Firstly, because I love game shows, but also because at first glance you really can’t tell the difference.
Well, nofollow links are kind of like that. You cannot tell them apart from regular links just by looking at them.
As Google continues to prioritize links in its ranking criteria, tracking them should be on your SEO to-do list.
So, how do you check for nofollow links and add them to your web pages? All of the above, and more, below.
What is a nofollow link?
Every time you create a hyperlink, that link goes into an HTML tag. A nofollow link is an attribute in the tag that tells Google to ignore the link when crawling the page. This is often used in comment sections, forums, and more recently sponsored links.
This is important because links have a huge impact on your search engine rankings. And whether you link internally or externally, it tells Google that the landing page is valuable. This, in turn, can increase the ranking of the page – this is called “link juice”.
The better your link building, the better your chances of ranking higher.
So when you tell Google to ignore a link, the landing page will not receive any link juice. For example, let’s say a food blogger downloads a blog post. The blogger can add a nofollow attribute to the comments section to say to Google, “Hey, no links included here are associated with me and I cannot vouch for that.”
With Google tightening its binding requirements, it’s important that brands understand how they work.
How to tell if a link is Nofollow
To find a nofollow link, you can take either of the following two routes: Use a tool that will do it for you (skip to this section here) or check it yourself. For the DIY option, here are the steps:
2. Hold Command + F or Ctrl + F to search for “nofollow” in the code.
3. Scroll down to find the highlighted nofollow attributes. It should look something like this:
How to create a Nofollow link
Creating a nofollow link is as easy as adding rel = “nofollow” to the anchor tag in HTML code. If that doesn’t make sense, no worries. Here is the breakdown:
The code for a normal hyperlink looks like this:
<a rel="noopener" target="_blank" href="http://www.destinationURL.com">The linked text goes here </a>
When you add a nofollow link attribute, the attribute will pass between the destination URL and the linked text, like this:
<a rel="noopener" target="_blank" href="http://www.example.com/" rel="nofollow">The linked text goes here </a>
Here’s an example using the HubSpot blog:
<a rel="noopener" target="_blank" href="http://www.blog.hubspot.com/" rel="nofollow"> Head to the HubSpot Blog </a>
Once you have the link, you can add it to the appropriate section of the source code on your content management system (CMS).
How to Create a Nofollow Link in WordPress
When creating a nofollow link in WordPress, you have two options: manually entering one in the HTML code or by using a plugin. Find the steps for each below.
Manually create a Nofollow link in WordPress
1. Select the anchor text you want to add a link.
2. Click the link symbol to add a link in the field.
3. Click on the three dots and select “Edit HTML”.
4. Add the rel = “nofollow” attribute and you are ready to go.
If you are using an older version of WordPress, you may need to access the source code through the “Text” tab.
Then manually add the nofollow attribute.
Once it’s done, go back to the “Virtual” tab and continue editing the article.
Create a Nofollow link in WordPress with a plugin
When you create a nofollow link with a plugin, the steps vary depending on the plugin you install. However, here is an example of how it works using the “All in One SEO for WordPress” plugin.
1. First download the plugin and make it active.
2. Create or edit an article or page.
3. In your edit text box, select the anchor text and click the link symbol.
4. Paste the destination link in the field.
5. In the same box, you will also see additional options for the link, including the option “Add ‘nofollow’ to link”.
6. Make sure this option is selected and you are done.
Pro tip: lots of SEO plugins have the nofollow link function included. So if you are looking to optimize your site, you can install a plugin with several SEO features.
Nofollow link checking tools
This free Google Chrome extension, created by SEO software company Moz, highlights all the nofollow links on a page with one click.
It also tracks the links followed, internal and external, as well as the keywords of the page. MozBar identifies each type of link by color, making it easy to quickly scan the page and find what you’re looking for.
One thing to keep in mind when using the extension is that the nofollow links in the drop-down menus will not appear when you scroll down. You will need to click on the menu to reveal the nofollow links. Confused? See the GIF below.
With Varvy’s free nofollow tool, finding nofollow links is as easy as entering the page URL and clicking “Test”. It doesn’t offer a visual of where the nofollow links are on the page, but it does tell you how many there are.
This is one of the easiest ways to get a feel for how many nofollow links you have. From there, you’ll need to find other tools to accomplish your next steps.
As long as the extension is active, it will work on every page you visit without a prompt. Just like with MozBar, if a link under a drop-down menu has a nofollow attribute, you won’t see it until you click the drop-down menu.
So think of yourself as a game show contender. To earn the SEO game, you need to take a closer look at your website links. This will keep you on the safe side of Google and increase your chances of landing (and staying) on the first page of the SERP.