A HTML attribute used in hyperlinks to instruct search engines not to pass any authority or influence to the linked page. No0follow links are often used for user-generated content or paid advertisements.
What is a No-follow link and why are they used?
Across the internet, every hyperlink holds a unique significance, there's a term that often sparks curiosity: "no-follow link." What are they and should you be using them on your website?
The Essence of No-Follow Links
A "no-follow" link is an instruction given to search engines, telling them not to give any additional "link juice" to the linked webpage. In simpler terms, it's like putting up a sign that says, "I'm sharing this link, but it's not an official endorsement."
The Technical Side of No-Follow
To comprehend the concept fully, it's essential to understand a bit about HTML, the language that structures web pages. In HTML, a standard link looks like this:
<a href="https://www.example.com">Click here</a>
This is a basic hyperlink leading to "www.example.com." Now, if we want to make it a "no-follow" link, we add a small snippet of code:
<a href="https://www.example.com" rel="nofollow">Click here</a>
The addition of rel="nofollow" is the secret sauce that transforms a regular link into a "no-follow" link.
Why No-Follow Links Exist
The internet is akin to a bustling city where everyone is vying for attention. Websites crave acknowledgment and recognition from search engines to climb the ranks in search results. However, not all links are equal, and not every endorsement is genuine.
"no-follow" links play a crucial role in digital marketing. They serve as a tool for website owners to guide search engines on which links to treat as endorsements, and which to treat with caution.
When to Use No-Follow Links
- User-Generated Content: Websites that let users contribute content, think comments or forum posts, often use "no-follow" links. This prevents spammers from exploiting these platforms to boost their own websites.
- Paid Links: If a website is receiving compensation for placing a link, it's a common practice to mark it as "no-follow." These Include sponsored posts, affiliate links, any situation when you might exchange money for links.
- Untrusted Content: When linking to sites that may be questionable, using a "no-follow" attribute is an ideal failsafe. It signals to search engines that the endorsement is not explicit.
The Impact on SEO
While "no-follow" links don't directly contribute to the linked page's rankings. They do play a vital role in the larger SEO ecosystem. By preventing the flow of link juice, they help maintain a balanced and authentic representation of a website's authority.
If all links were "do-follow", Google may struggle to work out what is a genuine endorsement. "No-follow" links act as a filter, that ensures endorsements are organic rather than artificial.
The User Experience Angle
Beyond the details, it's crucial to consider the impact on the user experience. For regular users navigating the internet, the presence of "no-follow" links might not be immediately apparent. However, these links often play a role in steering users away from potentially harmful or irrelevant content.
The Future of No-Follow Links
Over the years, the landscape of Search Engine Rankings and link attribution has evolved. Search engines regularly refine their algorithms to better understand the nuances of content endorsement. In 2019, Google introduced new attributes, including "sponsored" and "UGC" (user-generated content), providing more control over link signals.
As the digital realm progresses, the role of "no-follow" links may continue to evolve. Website owners and SEO practitioners looking to navigate the web of link building should stay up-to-date of changes.
"No-follow" links, often shrouded in mystery, serve as silent guardians of the internet's integrity. Authenticity is important, these unassuming attributes play a crucial role in maintaining a fair and balanced digital ecosystem. The next time you encounter a link with the nofollow tag, remember that it's not just a link; it's a choice. No-follow tags guide search engines and users toward a more genuine experience.