A tag that tells search engines not to follow or give credit to a specific link.


The NoFollow attribute (rel="nofollow") is an HTML tag applied to hyperlinks to indicate to search engines that the link should not influence the ranking of the link's target in the search engine's index. It was introduced to deter spam and manipulate search engine rankings by preventing the passing of PageRank or link equity to the linked page. Essentially, it’s a way for website owners to tell search engines not to trust a specific hyperlink.

Usage and Context

Originally, the NoFollow attribute was widely used to combat spam in blog comments and user-generated content, where users might create links to irrelevant or low-quality sites. In addition to deterring spam, the NoFollow tag is also used when linking to untrusted content or in sponsored or advertising links to explicitly signal to search engines that the link was paid for, and shouldn't influence search rankings.

Over time, search engines like Google have evolved how they understand and treat NoFollow links, using them as "hints" for ranking purposes but not direct ranking signals.


  1. Does adding NoFollow to links harm my site’s SEO?

    • Adding NoFollow to outbound links does not directly harm your site's SEO. It helps you manage which external sites you pass link equity to.
  2. How does NoFollow differ from DoFollow?

    • DoFollow is the default state of a link without any rel attribute; it passes link equity. NoFollow, on the other hand, does not pass link equity by instruction.
  3. Can NoFollow links still drive traffic?

    • Yes, despite not influencing SEO directly, NoFollow links can still drive traffic to a site from users clicking on them.
  4. Should all external links be NoFollow?

    • No, not all external links should be NoFollow. Trusted, authoritative links can and should pass link equity to support a healthy web ecosystem.
  5. How does Google treat NoFollow links?

    • As of recent updates, Google treats NoFollow links as hints for crawling and indexing purposes but typically does not pass PageRank or link equity through these links.


Using NoFollow selectively helps maintain the integrity of your site's SEO by controlling the flow of link equity to trusted sources and reducing the impact of spammy or low-quality links.


The NoFollow attribute plays a crucial role in SEO by providing site owners with a tool to manage the flow of link equity, combat spam, and maintain the quality and trustworthiness of the web. While it has evolved over time, understanding and using NoFollow correctly remains a vital skill for SEO practitioners and website owners alike.

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