Wikipedia defines the nofollow link attribute as “an HTML attribute value used to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index.” So why is this important to us as bloggers, and when would you want to use this attribute when linking to other sites?
Why are nofollow attributes important?
At their most basic, nofollow attributes control the flow of page rank or “link juice” between sites. When you allow your link juice to flow through to another site, a search engine takes that as kind of a personal endorsement from your site.
Where this gets tricky is in reviews, giveaways, affiliate links, and any other kind of sponsored content. Google’s algorithm does not look positively on follow links (any link not using the nofollow attribute) to any form of sponsored content because it is perceived as a paid endorsement which has all kinds of inherent problems.
When should you use the nofollow attribute?
That brings us to which instances you should use a nofollow attribute. You generally will want to use a nofollow attribute on your links in all of the instances named above: review, giveaways, affiliate links, basically any instance where a case could be made that you were influenced to link to a site by being compensated in some way.
How do I insert the nofollow attribute?
The nofollow attribute means you are simply inserting rel=”nofollow” within the HTML when hyperlinking to another site:
<a rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.yourlinkhere.com” target=”_blank”>Link Text Here</a>
If you’re really interested in this attribute, a quick search will turn up even more instances where you may want to use it to control link juice within your own site, but that’s really a little deeper than most of us will want to delve into this topic. My personal policy is to use nofollow on the instances I’ve outlined and to always use follow links for my fellow bloggers in my posts, and I believe that should be sufficient for most blogs.
Tara Kuczykowski blogs daily at Deal Seeking Mom where she helps others pay less for everyday necessities, with the occasional tip for saving on a splurge tossed in!