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What is the Nofollow Attribute?

Learn all about digital marketing, we have built this glossary to help you understand everything to thrive in online marketing and promoting your website or business.

What is the Nofollow Attribute?
The nofollow attribute is a command given to web spiders telling them not to follow the link under consideration. This attribute is often added to the HTML code of a link to prevent it from passing page rank or contributing to the link's overall SEO value.
The idea behind using the nofollow attribute is to discourage spamming as individuals or organizations won't benefit from incorporating links in ways that undermine a site's SEO ranking. Such practices include blog comment spam or unvetted guest posts.
The nofollow attribute has evolved in its usage over time, with more recent adaptations serving a plethora of roles in a broader SEO and digital marketing environment.
Nofollow Attribute's Role in Digital Marketing
The nofollow attribute plays a cardinal role in digital marketing. Firstly, it gives a website owner control over outbound links. If a website links to another webpage that it does not want to endorse, the nofollow attribute can be used. This prevents the transfer of SEO benefit to the linked web page.
Secondly, the nofollow attribute helps manage paid links. In line with Google’s guidelines on link schemes, paid links must be marked with a nofollow attribute. This is to ensure fairness and maintain the quality of search results.
Lastly, the nofollow attribute plays a part in internal link crawling. Although it's not recommended to nofollow internal links regularly, in certain cases it can be beneficial. For example, it helps in managing crawl budget for large sites.
Nofollow Attribute Examples
Nofollow attribute is implemented by adding rel='nofollow' in the HTML code of a specific hyperlink. For instance, Example is a common representation to exclude the linked page from search engine ranking consideration.
A common practical use of the nofollow attribute in digital marketing is in the comments section of a blog or forum. This is a widespread method to control spam links.
Another example is using this attribute in affiliate marketing. When adding affiliate links to your content, you should add the nofollow attribute because the linked site might not necessarily be one you would want to vouch for in terms of SEO reputation.