What is a no-follow link?

To understand what is no-follow link, you will first have to understand what a do-follow link is. The do-follow link is a normal link, which gives the page it is referencing an extra link juice. Google uses these links to determine which websites to rank and which not to rank. These are known as backlinks. There are two different kinds of backlinks—no-follow and do-follow. One helps the search engine optimization (SEO) ranking of a page while the other does not.

Do-follow links are “normal” backlinks in that the coder does not fiddle with them. No-follow links are created when the person doing the linking plays with the HTML code to intentionally signal to Google not to give the linked site any additional link juice for a ranking boost.

Difference between no-follow and do-follow links

Site users would find it impossible to point the difference between a no-follow and do-follow link. One can click, copy, and use a no-follow link just like any other link on the Internet.

However, where SEO is concerned, there’s a substantial difference between no-follow and do-follow links.

The difference is that do-follow links help your search engine rankings and no-follow links don’t. Google and other search engines use links as their key ranking parameter. However, they only consider do-follow links in their ranking algorithm. As per Google, no-follow links don’t receive any page rank.

History of rel=”nofollow:” links 

The No-Follow attribute was brought about in January 2005 with the aim to prevent comment spamming. In September 2005, Google recommended no-follow tags to be used for paid links as well. As it would appear, some commenters were trying to trick Google’s ranking algorithm by adding links with several over-optimized keywords in them. A few websites were over-ranked in Google’s search engine results because of the high number of artificial links leading towards them.

No-Follow is a value that is assigned to the “rel” attribute of the HTML code. It tells search engines not to consider a link in the search engine index and hence to not distribute a page rank to the destination it is pointing towards. It helps avoid problems such as influence-selling or cheating SEO best practices.

How to check a rel no-follow tag? 

Here’s how to check if a link is a no-follow one:

  • Right-click on the browser and click “View page source”.
  • On the page source document, search for the link in the HTML code of the page.
  • Find the link in your page’s HTML code.
  • If you find a rel=”nofollow” attribute, that link is no-follow. If not, the link is do-follow.

You can also take the help of the “Strike Out No-follow Links” Chrome extension. 

Strike Out No-follow Links is a handy tool that automatically strikes through any no-follow links on a page. This way, you don’t have to manually check the HTML code.

When should you use no-follow links? 

Here are some scenarios in which the use of no-follow links is advisable.

  • In case you do not want Google to disqualify you for using paid outbound links, but know that these quality links will drive traffic to your site.
  • If you are not moderating comments they could hold harmful links. Using No-Follow prevents your website from people commenting with bad links.
  • If you let people contribute user-generated content to your site without moderation, no-follow can help you avoid fake links.
  • Use the rel no-follow tag if you are embedding videos or infographics you don’t want to promote.
  • You can use no-follow for duplicate links while not wanting to see your PDF ranked by any search engines.

Types of no-follow links

  • Inbound links

  1. Blog comments
  2. Forum posting
  3. Press releases
  4. User-generated content
  5. Social media
  •  Outbound links

  1. Quora
  2. YouTube
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Reddit
  5. Medium

Benefits of no-follow links 

  • Drives traffic

No-follow links also help to drive traffic to the desired Web page.

  • Part of natural links

They form a natural part of links and hence are needed as part of the overall content.


We see that no-follow links in SEO can improve your site quality by removing spam comments. Now that you know what is a no-follow link, we hope you can implement the tag better in your Web page content.

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What is a no-follow link?