What is rel nofollow?, What is dofollow link?

What is rel nofollow?, How to use it to protect from penalization?

Rel nofollow, dofollow, noindex are common words whenever we talk about Search Engine Optimization. Nofollow and DoFollow are the two most common spoken terms.

In this articles, I will talk about what is rel nofollow and how to use it properly to protect from penalization.

What is rel nofollow?

A nofollow tag is the most beautiful parrot in any digital marketing or the webmaster crawler.

The rel nofollow tag is an HTML attribute that instructs search engines not to follow the specified hyperlink. When you link a website without this tag, then you are instructing the search engine that the hyperlink can be followed.That means you are endorsing it.

When you add a ‘Nofollow’ tag, then you are telling the search engine not to follow the hyperlink and pass any link juice. There is no value for these type of tags and search engines will not crawl that link.

RelatedHow to remove tags from WordPress posts.

Does rel nofollow pass any link juice?

Link juice is a term used in SEO to refer to the value it passes from one site to another or from one page to another internal page. Its like you are voting for that site and telling Google this site is worth mentioning and it a recommended by you.

And when you recommend a site from your authoritative site you are passing juice to that link.

So the question is does rel=nofollow passes any link juice?

The answer is NO.

You are not passing any link juice when you are using rel nofollow link.

Basically, The rel=”nofollow” tag lets you control how search engines crawl on your website content links. Its a HTML attribute value assigned to links of your website which tell crawlers not to pass any link juice.

When you are passing the juice it helps that page rank higher in search engine results page. In certain situation, you don’t want to do that.

I will tell you in a minute, when you should use rel nofollow.

Should I care about nofollow and dofollow link?

Of course you should care. no follow and dofollow link is one of the most popular things in SEO and for the people who are trying to get backlinks for ranking of a website in search engine results page (SERP).

How to use the rel nofollow tag?

Its very simple to make a nofollow link.

As it is a simple HTML tag, anyone can use the tag while writing the content. Here is an example of a normal hyperlink which do-follow link naturally.

On the other hand, this is a no-follow tag liking method type. The hyper link will not crawled by the search engine from your site’s perspective.

Here’s is the steps to add rel nofollow manually in WordPress Gutenberg Editor:

This steps are based on WordPress version 5.0 and above using Gutenberg editor.

Generally, when you are composing your articles in WordPress Editor, the default hyperlinks will be the DoFollow link. You can easily add the nofollow attribute tag to the link.

Step 1: First, add the link as you normally do, then click on Gutenberg block where the link is. Click on “more options” and click “Edit as HTML”

Step 2: Look for the HTML tag for that link which starts with <a href=. As you notice rel=”noreferrer noopener” but there is no nofollow attribute because this link is dofollow link.

Step 3: Just add nofollow attribute on rel tag to make this link as nofollow link.

Here is the final output of this exercise.

Does rel no-follow link effects my users experience in anyway?

Readers still can reach the website by clicking the link, but search engines will not follow the link when they see the rel= ‘nofollow’ tag. The name itself says that don’t follow the link. Readers cannot see the tag at front side of the content, but Google and other search engines can see the tag.

What is dofollow link?

Dofollow link is exactly opposite of rel no follow link. When you are not using rel nofollow tag that link becomes dofollow for crawlers. That means you are telling Google or any other search engine crawlers to follow the link and also passing the link juice.

Do follow link is very important for SEO. When it comes to ranking of a keyword higher in google search link building play a important role. Of course if those links are do-follow, then it’s better for that keyword to rank higher.

But remember, when you are trying to building link, don’t spam or buy the link, sell link. Link building strategy should be natural way. Otherwise you might get penalized by google.

Why the rel=nofollow tag?

As the explanation says, links are precious to any website and Google will consider the quality linked links for crawling the site.

The external links will also perform the wheel in SEO and that would be important in SEO. If the external links are spam or low-quality links, then Google will consider it as the bad sign. Google will think you are trying to manipulate the search engine rankings.

The unnatural links may harm your website ranking as long as you keep them alive on your site. To avoid such cruel punishment, a webmaster will use the rel nofollow tag to distract the search engine from crawling the link.

You are probably using affiliate link to make more money on your blog. Or maybe you are selling your advertisement space.

If it falls under either one of the above scenarios or if you think the linked page is not safe, then you can add this nofollow tag. Most of the advertisement links are nofollow links, and at the exact point, you have to add rel nofollow tag.

Do nofollow links help SEO rankings?

Nofollow link does not pass any link juice as I mentioned earlier. Its a HTML attribute tag for Google not to follow and pass any value to it. That means it does not help in SEO to rank any websites.

When should I use the rel=Nofollow tag?

As we know, we can decide which link to crawl and which one should not. However, the problem is some links are spam, and we even don’t know that where to use the tag. There are some main scenarios you can use the rel=nofollow tag in your articles when they meet these following criteria.

  1. Untrusted Content
  2. Paid Links/Affiliate
  3. Crawl Optimization
  4. Penalization Protection
  5. Multi author blog site

Google wants you to add no follow tag to these links hence you cannot fool the Search engine page ranking. In most cases, these links won’t affect your search engines both positively and negatively.

Untrusted Content

There are many situations where you might not have control, and if you feel the linked page is untrusted and contains spam then you can add the rel=nofollow tag. Even the comments on your blog may produce the spam links which may affect your page.

Blog comments, forum discussions are the eye-sight places you cannot control.  If you are not using the no-follow tag on these untrusted links, then you are inviting risk, and it may affect your search engine rankings.

Paid links or Affiliate links

Google penalizes sites that do not have the break-even nofollow tag to paid links. If you are showing ads on your website and if those are paid links then you should add the no-follow tag. Affiliate links and direct ads are also paid links where you should add the rel nofollow tag.

Crawl Optimization

Crawl optimization means changing the way that any search engines crawl your website using crawlers like Googlebot. In some situations, there is a limit to how many pages search engine can crawl.

For example, if you have a blog with ten pages to be crawled by Google and if 8 pages from your blog are not important like login pages, Privacy policy pages then you have to crawl the remaining important pages. In this case, you have to add the rel=nofollow tag to those 8 pages which are not important. This is only if you want to stop crawling the pages and otherwise, this is not important.


The main reason why people use the tag is to avoid penalization from the search engines. If you do not use the nofollow for paid links, then you may get penalized.

You have to use rel nofollow in your press releases to avoid Penalization. As long as you use the rel=nofollow tag, you are protecting your site from the spam connections.

Question: So, when should I use dofollow link?

You should not use rel nofollow for either of this scenario. keep those as normal link.

  1. Relevant content
  2. Content that is useful for visitors
  3. Internal links

Multi Author Blog Site

If you are the only author of your website or blog, then you don’t have to worry about the penalization because you can use the rel=nofollow tag only for Affiliate links.

If there are many authors, then you have to check the links, and if any link is spam, then you should add the rel nofollow tag. You can use the tag for sponsored links and affiliate links in your sidebar or ad space.

How Can I Check if a Link is DoFollow or NoFollow?

Here’s how to check if link is do follow or no follow:

Step #1: Right click on one of the link’s anchor text of a website, then click on “inspect element”. (Note: you might see element after right click depending on the browser you are using. This is from Microsoft edge browser).

Step #2: Next, look for the link in the HTML of the page which starts with HTML tag <a href=”

Step #3: If you see a rel=”nofollow” HTML attribute between <a> HTML tag, that link is nofollowed. Otherwise, the link is dofollow.

How can I find out if nofollow tag has been used in my site?

There are some SERP checker tools like SEMrush which will find and detect these type of links where you have to add a NoFollow tag.

But you can download the Google Chrome browser extension which will show all nofollow tags as strikeout. This extension is called Strike Out Nofollow Links.


Google introduced the rel Nofollow tag to protect from the spam on comments and then Google updated the tag purpose to paid links protection and then added on Google webmaster guidelines.

It is very important to follow the Google guidelines else your site might be marked as spam and you will loose your rankings. If you have all the links as dofollow that might signal big G that you are a spammer.

On the other hand, if all the outbound links are nofollow link that also signals google that you are not redirecting your user to good authority sites for more related information.

A good ratio of dofollow vs nofollow would be 70:30 or 60:40. You can follow either or stay in between to maintain a healthy blog sites.


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