Recently, we released an article covering the latest link attribution update by Google and introduction of 2 new attributes sponsored and ugc.
And after the release, some of the common questions asked were
- How can I add nofollow links?
- Which links should be attributed as nofollow?
- Is there a plugin to implement nofollow in WordPress?
- How can I add it in Gutenberg using plugin?
- How can I check if a link is nofollow?
In this article, I will answer all of the above questions + will tell you how can you add nofollow links easily (Using a plugin and manually)
But before we move forward, it is important to understand what the update was. Here are some key points
- Nofollow is longer a directive. It will be used as a hint.
- Introduction of 2 new attributes sponsored and ugc.
- These attributes along with nofollow will help Google understand links better.
- If you are already using nofollow, it is up to you if you want to use these attributes or not.
- You can use one or a combination of these attributes on a single link.
You can read more about this here- Impact of Nofollow, Sponsored and Ugc on SEO
Having said that, it’s time to dive deep into the article.
Nofollow links are the ones that have the rel=”nofollow” attribute.
Nofollow attribute was introduced 15 years back to fight again comment spam. Back in the day and still today blog commenting is one of the most abused link building tactic.
To ensure spammers cannot benefit from this Google introduced nofollow alongside Yahoo and Bing.
Later on another update was released where Google used nofollow to fight against link schemes wherein links were bought to manipulate page rank.
It was advised to mark all such links as nofollow or it can lead to a penalty.
Following these announcements, quite a lot of sites used a blanket of nofollow links to avoid link scheme penalties.
It is important to understand when you apply nofollow to a link, it used to tell search engines to ignore and not pass the credit to such links. This resulted in a situation where half of the web (not literally) was not visible to Google.
This means valuable resources were also not getting the credit. To tackle this problem Google changed nofollow from a strong instruction to a hint.
Making nofollow a hint will allow Google to understand the nature of links and linking patterns. Although you can use nofollow on links that you don’t want to vouch for or endorse, this includes passing page rank. But these attributes along with other factors will be used as a hint for ranking purposes.
<a href="https://example.com" rel="nofollow">Nofollow syntax</a>
As mentioned above, to avoid link scheme penalties a lot of sites use nofollow on all external links. However that is not recommended.
If you are linking out to trusted sources or content, you can link without using nofollow and when you link to pages that you don’t want your website to associate with you use nofollow.
Here are a few types of links that should be marked nofollow
- Link submitted by users– These links generally include linked anchors or naked links submitted in comment section or forum discussions. On many occasions, the links dropped in comments lead to malicious resources and as mentioned above such links are irrelevant and are just submitted to abuse the linking system.
- Money making links, affiliate links and Ads– One of the ways, bloggers make money online is by posting sponsored content or adding sponsored links in existing posts. Often brand or companies abuse this tactic wherein a link will be placed in existing or new content in exchange for money or free products. This is basically done to manipulate page rank. To avoid that, you need to mark all such links as nofollow.
- Non-trusted Sources– This is a rare scenario but still while creating content you may have to link out to sites that you may not trust. In this situation, it is better to attribute such links as nofollow. However, it is advised not to link to sources you don’t trust.
With that said, it is important to keep in mind, nofollow should be applied only to external links and not internal links and should be used properly as it is an important factor in on-page SEO
Finding if a link is nofollow or not is very easy. As we already know, nofollow links contain the rel=”nofollow” attribute which makes it easy to find and identify this link.
There are 2 ways to check it
To check if a link is nofollow or not using inspect, all you need to do is go the place on the page where the link is >> Press right click >> a menu will appear that will give you the option to inspect
When you click inspect, it opens the console and divides the screen into 2 parts. This new window will appear either on the right of your screen or bottom.
Using this you will be able to see the code of your website.
The next thing you need to do is select the element that you need to inspect. You can do this by using the selection tool available on the console menu bar.
Once the selection tool is active, it will change its color from Grey to Blue. Now, take your pointer to the link or the anchored text and you will notice a code will get highlighted simultaneously in the console.
As you can see in the screenshot above (click the image for better viewing), I have marked the anchor “knowem” on the left and on the right is the highlighted nofollow attribute and the anchor text again. That is one way of finding out if a link is nofollow.
Another way to do it is
Using View Page Source
The second method to check for nofollow tags is using the view page source. For this, all you need to do is press CTRL + U if you are a windows user
If you are using mac for Firefox the shortcut is Command + U, and for safari and chrome you need to press Option + Command + U
And it will take you to the page source that will open in a new tab.
Once you have opened the page source, it will show you all the code for the web page. Now, scanning the complete code of a web page for a small code snippet can be a difficult process.
For this you need to use the search function. Press CTRL + F if you are a Windows user and Command + F if you are using Mac.
It will open a search box and in this box either you need to add the anchor text or the naked link. or just a fragment of it and press enter.
Here I will be searching using the anchor text “knowem”.
Once you press enter, it will show you all the words containing it. (Click image to see clear picture)
As you can see in the image above, I have highlighted both the words “knowem” found using search and also it shows the nofollow attribute as well.
These methods may look complicated at first, but once you start using them you will notice these are very easy to use.
There are 2 editors in WordPress, the old one is the classic editor and the latest is the Gutenberg. If you are using the Classic editor, you can add nofollow manually and using a plugin as well.
And, if you are using the Gutenberg editor you can only implement this manually. However, I did find a workaround for this using a plugin which I will be sharing in this post.
After the release of WordPress 5.0, the old Classic editor was replaced by the new Gutenberg editor. This editor is totally different from the Classic one as it uses blocks.
This was a huge update and after this update was released a lot of plugins were not compatible with the new WordPress editor and that is what happened to the nofollow plugins.
The only way to add nofollow was manually. But after a little trial and error, I found a way to add nofollow in Gutenberg using plugin.
But first it is important to understand how to do this manually as currently it is not possible to update links in existing posts to nofollow using plugins. The plugin method can only be used on the new posts.
Also, if you are in the process of starting to use Gutenberg and your posts are still in Classic editor, let me tell you once you move to Gutenberg all your posts will be changed into a block called Classic which is nothing but the classic editor and it allows you to add nofollow using plugin.
For adding nofollow manually in Gutenberg editor WordPress, the first thing you need to do is create a new post by navigating to Post >> Add new
If you are looking to add nofollow to an existing post, click the edit button below the post title.
Here I will be using a random paragraph for demo purposes.
After you enter the Gutenberg editor, the first thing you need to do is create an anchor link. You can easily do that by selecting the word or phrase and when you select, a toolbar will appear that will have the option to add link.
All you need to do is click the link icon and a box will appear. Enter the link in the box and click the enter or apply icon.
Once you click apply button, you will see the anchor text looks different from the plain text.
The next step in the process is selecting the block that has the link that you want to add nofollow to. When you select the block, it will show you 3 dots on top. Click it.
It will open a drop down menu wherein you need to click “Edit as HTML”
On clicking Edit as HTML it will show you the code of the block and the next thing you have to do is locate the link.
Once you locate the link, the next step is to add rel=”nofollow” to it as shown in the screenshot below.
After you are done adding the attribute, click Save Draft or Update to save the changes you have made and the last thing you need to do is again click the 3 dots on top and this time you need to select edit visually.
And that’s it. You have successfully implemented nofollow in Gutenberg manually.
If you enable the “open in a new tab” option, the Gutenberg editor automatically assigns noopener and noreferrer values to the rel attribute. In this scenario all you need to do is add the nofollow and a space.
In the next part, I will be explaining
Adding nofollow in Gutenberg using a plugin is very simple. Originally most of us while creating paragragh block go for the standard paragraph block.
However, there is another option available named “Classic” that you can go for and it works exactly the same way as the classic editor.
You can find this block under the formatting options in the menu. When you will use it once or twice, it will automatically start showing under the Most used.
I personally use this block as it makes life so much easier while typing or editing and it resembles daily use applications such as MS Word or Gmail.
Now, if you are using Yoast SEO
You need to download and install a plugin called Ultimate Nofollow. This is the free plugin that will help you add nofollow to links. For downloading and installing plugins you can follow our guide on How to install a WordPress plugin.
Once you have installed the plugin, the next is to create a new page or a post. For this you need to navigate to Post >> Add new and when you enter the editor, this time instead of selecting the regular paragraph select Classic.
Once again let me tell you, you can find this block under formatting or you can search for it in the block menu.
When you select classic, it will show you a block that looks very different from a standard Gutenberg paragraph block.
Now, all you need to do is select the word or the phrase that you want to add the link to. Add the link by clicking on the link icon in the toolbar.
It will show you a box where you can enter the link. Enter the link in the box and click the gear icon right next to apply or enter button.
Once you click the gear icon, it will show you additional link options where you will find the option to add rel=”nofollow”.
Select add rel=”nofollow”to link and click Add Link in the bottom of the popup. The final step in the process is to click save draft or update to save the changes you have made.
It is important to understand Yoast SEO does not offer the functionality of adding nofollow to a link.
However, if you are using Rank Math, you do not need an additional plugin for this. Rank Math provides you with the ability to add nofollow.
Here is how you can add nofollow using Rank Math plugin.
If you are using Rank Math and want to add nofollow links, the first few steps are the same as mentioned above for Yoast SEO.
The first step is to create a new post or a page. Again you will have to use the Classic block instead of the Gutenberg paragraph block. Then you will have to create an anchored link. Now, while you are creating the anchor link, click the gear icon right next to apply button and it will take you to the additional link options that gives you the option to add nofollow.
Also, you can see there is an additional option available that says add rel=”sponsored” and this option can be used for paid or monetized links.
Note- For now avoid using the sponsored value alone as it is not recognized by other search engines. However, you can use sponsored with nofollow to share additional information about links with Google.
Now, once you are done adding the link and attributing it. Click add link button in the bottom of the popup and the last thing you need to do is Click save draft or update to save the changes.
And that’s it, you have successfully implemented nofollow links using plugin in Gutenberg.
As previously discussed, Classic editor is the old WordPress editor and Gutenberg is the latest one. And I’m sure if you have worked on the previous editor, you still prefer the Classic one.
However, it is always advised to move to the latest version and also, with Gutenberg you get Classic block that works exactly the same as the Classic editor.
Having said that, if you are using classic editor and want to add nofollow links here’s how you can do that
How to add nofollow in WordPress Classic editor manually
To add nofollow in Classic editor manually all you need to do is, go to page/ post >> Add new. In case you want to add nofollow to an existing post or a page click the edit button and use the process listed below.
For demo purposes, I’m using a dummy paragraph.
Now, the first thing you need to do is add a link and create an anchor text. You can create a linked anchor by selecting a word or a phrase and then adding a link to it. In the image below, I have selected the phrase “simply dummy text” and will be adding a link to it.
Once you have entered the link, that particular word or phrase will look very different from the simple text. The next part is adding the nofollow attribute.
For this you need to change the visual editor to the text editor. And you can do this by clicking text on the top right, just above the toolbar.
When you click text, it will show you the code of the page.
Now, if you have entered the link on the top of your page, it will be easy to find. But if it is somewhere in the middle or towards the bottom, use the search function to save you time.
The next step is adding the nofollow attribute. Once you find the link, add the nofollow value to the “rel” attribute as shown in the image below.
After adding nofollow, click Save draft or Update to save the changes you have made and switch back to visual composer by clicking visual.
Note– It is important to keep in mind, in the above demo, the rel attribute was already present and we just included nofollow and a space.
There are chances that you may find no rel attribute or it may contain another value or a combination of the values noreferrer and noopenner.
If you find rel=”noopenner noreferrer”, the only thing you have to do is add the nofollow in the beginning and follow it up with a space.
If the link does not contain rel attribute, then you will have to add rel=nofollow” as shown in the screenshot below.
Adding nofollow manually may seem a little confusing at first, but once you use this technique you will get used to it.
How to add nofollow in Classic editor using plugin
If you are not comfortable with editing code and want to add nofollow the easiest way, you can do it using a plugin.
This can be done in 2 ways
If you are using Yoast SEO, then you will have to install the plugin Ultimate nofollow. This is a free plugin that will let you add nofollow to a link in just a single click.
For downloading and installing plugin you can follow our guide on How to install a WordPress plugin
Once you are done installing the plugin, navigate to an existing page or post or create a new one.
To create a post, go to post >> add new and to edit click the edit button right below the page title.
After you enter the composer, select the word or phrase that you want to add the link to. In the next step, you need to add the link in the box and click the gear icon.
When you click on the gear icon, a popup will appear that will give you the option to Add rel=”nofollow” to the link.
Once you have selected the option, click add link in the bottom of the page to finish the process.
Remember, if you are missing the destination URL, do not forget to add it again.
Also, once you select the nofollow option, it will by default add nofollow to all links. You will have to deselect the option when you are adding the link next time.
The second method if for the people using
Rank Math SEO
Rank Math is another very popular SEO plugin by Mythemeshop and comes with a lot of additional features when compared with Yoast SEO.
And one of the additional features is adding nofollow attribute to links. If you are using Rank Math, you do not need additional plugin for implementing nofollow on links.
Adding nofollow using Rank Math is done exactly the same way as using any other nofollow plugin. All you need to do is create a new page or edit an existing one. Select the text to add the link.
Click the link icon on the toolbar and the next thing you need to do is click the gear icon. Once you click the gear icon, it will show you the additional link options.
And you will notice, it has 2 options
For paid links or monetary links, you can add both nofollow and sponsored. Also, if you only add nofollow, it will work just fine.
Currently, I do not recommend using sponsored alone as it not recognized by other search engines. Once it gets recognized, you can use sponsored attribute alone for monetary links.
Once you are done adding the attribute, click add link and update or save draft to save the changes.
And that’s it you have successfully implemented nofollow on links in WordPress using plugin.
Having said that,
Rank Math also allows you to add nofollow to all external links with just a single click. However, I do not recommend enabling this setting, I’m sharing it just for informational purposes.
And with that said,
I hope you find this tutorial helpful and are able to add nofollow to links easily. After you have implemented nofollow make sure to check our quick SEO tips to further optimize your blog.
If you have and queries regarding this feel free to let me know and also do not forget to share this post with your friends on social media.
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