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Do Nofollow Links Affect Your Google Ranking?

15 phút
Written by
29 Oct 2022
Do Nofollow Links Affect Your Google Ranking?

The average website user cannot tell whether a link is Nofollow or Dofollow, but there is a big difference between the two types of links. Nofollow can be copied or clicked on just like any other link on the web, but they don’t transfer any link juice to the destination site. Dofollow, on the other hand, do transfer link juice and can help improve the destination site’s search engine ranking.

Google considers Dofollow links a vote of confidence in the information shared on that webpage. These links are ranking factors that help Google determine which websites to rank higher in search results.

Nofollow links are a bit more nuanced. As to whether or not Nofollow is a ranking factor, that’s up for debate. Some experts believe that Google does take these links into account when evaluating a website, while others believe that the search engine essentially ignores them. However, there is general agreement that Nofollow links can still be beneficial to your website, as they can help increase traffic and engagement.

So, what’s the truth about these Nofollow links? Let’s find out!

Are Nofollow Links A Google Ranking Factor?

In 2005, Google, MSN Search, and Yahoo joined forces to create an initiative to help combat comment link spam. This new initiative was called the Nofollow attribute.

The blog post mentioned that links with the tag would not be given any “credit” when ranking search results. This means that anything with the tag would not be “followed” by Googlebot and passed less SEO value. In other words, Googlebot would essentially ignore those links when crawling the website.

By implementing the “nofollow” tag, webmasters were able to effectively discourage link spamming by making all links placed by bad actors worthless. This also helped to ensure that sponsored links were not in violation of Google’s quality guidelines.

The business of buying and selling links was greatly affected as a result.

Website owners sought to safeguard their sites against Google updates by blanketing all external links with the Nofollow attribute. However, this had little interest for SEOs as Nofollow links are not useful for ranking purposes.

Many SEOs have assumed that Nofollow links are entirely worthless. If you’ve ever run a blog, you’ve probably had a few arguments with contributors about it.

And it still remained that way until Google updated how it handles the Nofollow tag in 2020.

The Evidence shows that Nofollow Links are A Google Ranking Factor

To determine whether or not Nofollow links are a Google ranking factor, we need to have a clear understanding of what rel=”nofollow” means and if it actually transfers PageRank or any other ranking factors to Google.

Rel Nofollow Defined

The rel=”Nofollow” attribute is an essential microformat or a solution to a single problem. The solution was devised by Matt Cutts (Google) and Jason Shellen (Blogger, Google).

By adding rel=”Nofollow” to a hyperlink, a page indicates that the destination of that hyperlink should not be afforded any additional weight or ranking by user agents which perform link analysis upon web pages (e.g. search engines).”

There are two primary use cases for No follow links: user comments and links to content the author doesn’t want to endorse.

Google later added two additional functions to help with organization – rel=”sponsored” for ads and sponsored links, and rel=”ugc” for user-generated content that the site owner doesn’t have control over, such as comments and forum posts. They advise developers to use rel=”Nofollow” as a catch-all for any links that they don’t want to endorse or have control over.

Do Nofollow Tags Pass PageRank?

In 2009, Matt Cutts published a blog post stating that No follow links do not pass PageRank or anchor text. This was in response to questions about an outdated SEO practice known as PageRank sculpting.

It seems like the topic of Nofollow links as a ranking factor has been fully resolved, with the final word being that they don’t help sites rank higher in Google search results.

Then, Google re-opened the debate on how the Nofollow tag should be handled with an algorithm update on March 1, 2020.

2020 Google Algorithm Update

According to Google’s official announcement, Nofollow links will now be treated as a hint, rather than a command, as of March 1, 2020. This means that Google will now crawl and index links that are marked as Nofollow. Previously, Google did not crawl or index any links that were marked as Nofollow.

According to Google, the Nofollow link attribute will now be treated as a hint.

When asked for further clarification on the update, Martin Splitt, the developer advocate at Google, responded with a tweet.

Source: Twitter

Undoubtedly an important nuance.

Danny Sullivan, Google’s public search liaison, recently said the following on Twitter:

Source: Twitter

It seems like the 2020 algorithm update permits the crawling and indexing of Nofollow links. Even so, the links are not connected with (endorsed by or given more importance from) your site.

Final Verdict about Nofollow Links 

The final verdict is that Nofollow links do not factor into Google rankings. Its main purpose is to tell search engines not to weigh them heavily when determining PageRank.

Nofollow links are not an effective way to block search engines from finding a webpage because they may still decide to crawl and index them. However, that’s all they will do – they won’t follow them to the page they’re pointing to.

The question of whether or not the anchor text of Nofollow links has any weight is still up for debate and has yet to be confirmed. I haven’t come across any arguments or case studies yet that prove anything beyond correlation. That’s not to say you should steer clear of Nofollow links, they’re actually a vital part of any strong digital marketing strategy.

Final thoughts

For many years, there has been a debate over whether Nofollow links are a Google ranking factor. In reality, it is NOT a Google ranking factor. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep your eyes on it anymore, it’s still a vital part of any strong digital marketing strategy.

So, if you want more information on this topic, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us anytime at EverRanks. Thank you for reading, we are always excited when one of our posts is able to provide useful information on a topic like this!


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