Nofollow attributes in outgoing internal links

A nofollow attribute is a small bit of code that may be added to a link in order to notify Google to ignore the link. Using no follow attributes in search engine optimization (SEO) stretches back a very long time, and the practice is somewhat complicated. In most cases, this kind of thing isn’t a problem at all. When you have no-follow attributes internally it’s not that odd, but things are a little bit different when you have them externally.

Let’s go over exactly what nofollowed links are, their role in search engine optimization, and the steps that need to be taken to fix nofollow attributes in outgoing internal links.

What exactly are nofollow links?

Nofollows are a special type of relationship attribute in HTML, indicated by the tag rel=”nofollow”>. Therefore, rel properties specify how the current page relates to the linked content or page.

To illustrate, a simple no-follow link could look like this:

<ahref=”” rel=”nofollow”>this</a> product type.

According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, a link with the above rel property will instruct crawlers not to transmit through PageRank. However, remember that the nofollow attribute only affects the particular link you’ve added it to. A former Google software engineer, Matt Cutts, has also said that employing nofollow to improve your PageRank has no big effects.

How to determine if links have nofollow properties

The instructions below will show you how to determine if a link has the nofollow property:

  • Right-click on the browser window of the web page with a questionable link and click the source code button to display it.
  • Next, look for the URL you’re interested in checking within the page’s HTML code.
  • A link is nofollowed if the string containing the link includes the rel=”nofollow” attribute. If not, the link’s default attribute is “nofollow.”

There are some alternatives to this time-consuming manual process. The easiest solution is to use evisio. The evisio tool will analyze links for you to identify all links with the nofollow attribute. You can also use a browser with a nofollow extension or plugin to denote links that should not be followed.

How to fix nofollow attributes in outgoing internal links

Before fixing nofollow attributes, check to confirm that the action wasn’t performed on purpose for search engine optimization reasons. If not, proceed with fixing the nofollow links.

To resolve the issue, you will typically need to: 

  • Switch to the editing mode of a particular page.
  • Activate the code editing mode that is indicated by symbols <>.
  • Locate the link that is nofollow.
  • Remove the nofollow tag of the link using the rel nofollow attribute.

BEFORE: Link with nofollow attribute

<a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Anchor</a>

AFTER: Link without nofollow attribute

<a href=””>Anchor</a>

Check out this example of how nofollow links are fixed using the Yoast plugin in a CMS like WordPress.

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