Understanding The Nofollow Link Attribute

October 14, 2009 · Leave a Comment  

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Understanding how the nofollow link attribute works can help your developed product domain sites stay in good form with the search engines. Nofollow is an HTML attribute value used to tell Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask if a link should be followed (voted for) or not (not voted for). These search engines use links and their corresponding anchor text as a signal of how to rank websites and pages, this tag was created to reduce web spam from comments and to allow sites to sell links without negatively affecting search engine results and not get penalized.

Example: <a href=”http://www.example.com/” rel=”nofollow”>cheap tickets</a>

Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask all interpret the nofollow tag differently see below for more information on each:

Google Yahoo Bing Ask
Uses the link for ranking No No No Yes
Follows the link Yes Yes Yes Yes
Indexes the linked page No Yes No Yes
Shows the existence of the link Only if indexed Yes Yes Yes
In SERPs for anchor text Only if indexed Yes Only if indexed Yes

Most common use of the tag include using it on affiliate links, reader comments, and off-site links to sites that you do not want to vouch for. Using the tag on internal pages such as privacy, terms of service, etc to flow PageRank to other pages on a site have been debated that it works well and that Google ignores it.


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