How Do I Use Nofollow Tags Successfully?

According to the experts, the nofollow tag is a useful little tool that can help you manage your SEO campaign effectively by blocking some tags from being picked up on by search engines.  While this may seem counterintuitive, there are good reasons not to count certain links as “votes” for search engines.

In The Old Days . . .

In the early days of SEO, getting the highest number of links possible was the name of the game.  It did not matter if these links led to high quality content or if they were simply there to “run up the score.”  Soon, Google and other search engines found that it was much easier to simply ban these types of websites than to check up on the links continually, and a new era was born:  that of websites being punished for having substandard or too many links.

Many SEO experts responded by cutting way back on their link numbers, but this also led to problems.  They wanted to impress the search engines but still leave valuable links in their web pages.  The nofollow idea was born:  a way to mark these links so that search engines would ignore them but others could still benefit from them when visiting a website.

How Does Nofollow Work?

“Nofollow” is a tag that is embedded into the HTML code of a link to tell the search engines to ignore that link for purposes of “votes.”  The other links on a page are not affected by a nofollow tag; each link must be individually coded if the webmaster wants them to be nofollow links.

A nofollow link may be added if the SEO expert decides that the link has value on the page but does not need to count in the search engine’s assessment of the page’s links.  This might be the case, for example, if the link leads back to further information about a particular topic but does not link to content that can be considered valuable, such as an article reprinted on another website.

Using Nofollow Correctly

It is very important for webmasters to understand how nofollow tags work and apply them correctly.  There is a fine balance between using nofollow indiscriminately and using it wisely.  If you use it too much, you will not have enough valuable links to push up your search engine rankings.  If you use it too little, Google may penalize you for substandard or too many links.