When Do You Use Nofollow on Links?

When talking about the types of links that really matter in SEO, nofollow links will usually be left out of the conversation. For this, and other additional reasons, they’re a bit of a mystery to anyone who’s still new to the world of SEO. However, these links have their purpose. But in order for nofollow links to do what they’re supposed to, it’s very important to know when to use nofollow on links.

Nofollow and Do-Follow Links

Debate about follow vs nofollow links is something almost everyone encounters when they enter the world of SEO. What’s most important is how search engines view nofollow links. Basically, if you make a nofollow link, you’re giving an instruction to the search engine to ignore this link. However, this has changed a bit, after a new announcement from Google, but it’s a topic we won’t get into here in this article.

If you don’t add the nofollow attribute, Google will give the page that the link leads to, an “a point”, based on the ranking of your page. The more points the page has, the better ranking it has. However, if the page the link leads to is a page of low quality, or is a part of suspicious link activities, you might lose your “points”.

Warning sign.
Nofollow attribute gives a signal to the search engine

Use nofollow on links in these cases

There are certain cases when it’s clear that you should make a link nofollow. Read on, and you’ll have a greater understanding of these links.

Forums and comments

Forums and comments are places for users to write whatever they like. So, when they decide to put links in there, you don’t want to give these links some value. Even if you moderate manually, links will slip through. By making these links in comments nofollow, your effort against spam will be more meaningful.

A comment.
Use nofollow on links in comments

Re-appearing link

If the same link appears on the same spot of the page, on multiple pages, in these cases you should add nofollow to links. These links are usually located in the sidebar or footer on every page of the website. Every time you make a new page, you’ll make a new backlink as well. For this reason, Google might mark you as “undesirable.” By using nofollow on links of this kind you’ll avoid being penalized by Google.

Sponsored links and advertisements

Links that are the result of sponsorship arrangement and advertisements are the links where you should use the nofollow attribute. This includes ROS advertising and other type of online advertisements.

Links on any types of a press release

These links are a common way of advertising and they are quite common. For this reason, these links have nofollow attributes usually added by default.

Links that are paid

Links that someone has paid for should be nofollow links. Monetizing a blog by including a sponsored content is quite common. However, you should let your visitors know this about this content. And of course, you should let the search engine know, too. One option is to use nofollow on links of this type. Another option is to use an attribute for sponsored links, which is a part of new changes from Google.

It’s also important to understand what the sponsors are paying for. They’re paying for referral traffic. Your visitors might click on the link and will access your sponsor’s webpage. However, if you don’t make this link nofollow, you’re also giving them link juice that’s based on the ranking of your page.

Page Is Not Relevant to Your Niche

Of course, even though you usually write content that’s related to your niche, you can also write about something that’s not really related to what you usually write. It’s your choice, and you can do it for many reasons. However, if you link to different resources for this topic, that’s not relevant to your niche, Google might see it as a red flag. More precisely, Google might interpret this as one of the Black Hat tactics and you might be penalized for it. But, if you use nofollow tag on links that are not really related to your niche, you might avoid penalties from Google.

Follow Links

It might be easier to understand how your business can use dofollow links and benefit from them. However, if you use a dofollow link in a situation where you should use nofollow link, you might get penalized by Google. That’s why it’s important to make the right choice.

Editorial Links

Editorial links, are the links that are the result of good content and marketing techniques. However, it might be harder to know whether to use nofollow on editorial links or not. This is where you can find these links:

  • In a review of a product
  • When citing a website as a reliable resource
  • When making another positive association with a website
  • They are found in similar content, but there cases when to use nofollow on links even in this content

To explain the last item on the list – there are cases when the Google algorithm will recognize a “bad” use of dofollow links. For example, if a website relies on review posts, and not compare the product to another product, Google might see behind it and recognize it as sponsored content.

Guest Posting

If you trust the guest poster, and you have cooperated before, and you trust the website of the guest poster, there’s no reason for a nofollow tag. However, make sure to set the limits and that the guest poster respects them.

Guest blogging, a case when there's usually no need to use nofollow on links.
Do you trust in links in guest posts?


In short, if the link points to a website of low quality or suspicious websites, it should have the nofollow atribute. Hopefully, now you understand when to use nofollow on links. Now that this is clear to you, try to do this naturally. The rules of the SEO are changing, and after the announcement from Google about nofollow links, follow and nofollow links are becoming more similar. For this reason, it’s good to be even more cautious about the links you’re making nofollow.

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