Despite Google’s efforts to downplay them, links are extremely important to search engines.
Relevant links with diversified anchor text from other highly rated sites are still the number one ranking factor in Google.
I’ve written before about how to get links the right way (aka naturally). Today, we’re going to talk about how to create a nofollow link in WordPress.
How do bots crawl the web?
The way search engines index you is by sending a bot to crawl your website. That bot indexes all your content, looking at not just the words but also code. Any time that there is a plain link, the bot follows that link and crawls that site too.
That page that you linked to is now connected to your site in the web. You have basically told Google, here is a site that I like and/or am related to.
A lot of SEO experts believe that there is some benefit to linking out a lot to high quality and related sources. However, the opposite is also true. If you link out to a bad source, or something that Google doesn’t like, that can hurt your site.
What is a nofollow tag?
If a link is something you don’t want Google to relate your site with or that you think will hurt you SEO-wise, you can simply add the nofollow tag so that the bot crawling your site knows not to follow and index that link.
Links are basically doors to other sites for a bot. A nofollow tag is a stop sign that tells the bot not to follow that link.
How to add a nofollow tag
To add a nofollow link in WordPress, just add your link as you normally would. This is probably done by highlighting the text you want to link and using the link button (the one that looks like a chain link) in the WordPress visual editor for your page or post.
Next, navigate to the “text” tab on the edit screen. You’ll find this at the top right of the edit page above the toolbar. The text tab shows the code on your page or post.
Find the link you just added, which will look something like:
To add a nofollow tag, all you need to do is insert that tag into the link. The tag you are inserting is:
The final link code then appears as:
When should I use a nofollow tag?
I think you should use the nofollow tag in your links in the following scenarios:
- If you are using a referral or affiliate link. Google hates paid links and doesn’t rate sites with lots of them. Simply adding a nofollow tag to your affiliate links can help your site in terms of SEO.
- If you are linking to a low quality site that you don’t want to be related to or think will hurt you in terms of SEO. If you don’t like a site, it is probably best not to link to them at all. However, sometimes it is just necessary, such as if you are using them as a source, or if you mentioned them and just want to add the link to make life easy for your readers.
- If you are linking to a site that is unrelated to you and not a top website. For instance, as this is a site to help users with their WordPress websites, it would be a bit odd if I was linking to a gardening website that only has a Moz rating of 20-ish. In that case, I might nofollow that link so Google doesn’t think we are related. If you are linking to a top site that is unrelated to you, I think it is okay and probably beneficial to keep the link as follow. For instance, if I were to link to the New York Times. That is a high quality site that Google loves. While it isn’t really directly related to my site, it is a top site and they do kind of cover everything.
- If you are linking to a site that won’t be crawl-able by the bots. If you send a bot to a site where they need to login, register, or where they will just be stuck, it really isn’t helpful to them or you. It would be better if they just stayed on your site and indexed other stuff.
So there you have it! We’ve discussed how bots crawl the web, what a nofollow tag is, how to add a nofollow tag, and when you should use the nofollow tag. I hope this post was helpful and benefits your site.