What is nofollow? Explain how to set, how to use it for SEO

What is nofollow

It is important to deepen your understanding of nofollow when running a site.

However, many of you may be wondering, “What is nofollow in the first place?” and “How do you use it?”

Therefore, in this article, we will explain in detail the meaning of nofollow, how to set it, how to use it, and how to use it for SEO. Please use it as a reference and let’s operate the site soundly.

What is the nofollow attribute?

Nofollow is one of the attributes you put on your links.
Placing nofollow on a link gives a hint to Google’s crawlers not to follow the link. In other words , it becomes an action for the crawler . So it makes no difference for users visiting the site.

Ordinary links are followed by Google’s crawler and pass the site’s evaluation. Simply put, when A site links to B site, A site is recognized as evaluating B site.

Google has various rules regarding the passing of ratings on such links. Therefore, when creating links, it is necessary to follow Google’s guidelines by appropriately using nofollow.

The difference between nofollow and regular links

Passing Link Ratings SEO effect
nofollow none none
normal link can be can be

The difference between nofollow and regular links is shown in the table above.

As mentioned above, nofollow is to stop passing link ratings. Therefore, the effect of SEO is not exhibited for the link source.

Conversely, for normal links, Google’s crawlers will follow the link and pass ratings as normal. If the originating link side is a high-quality site, the back link side will be evaluated and the search ranking will rise, and as a result, the SEO will be effective.

I will explain in detail later in the chapter “No need to set nofollow for SEO effect”, but keep in mind that nofollow has almost no SEO effect on the outgoing link side .

How to set nofollow tag

There are two types of nofollow: “setting for specific links” and “setting for links on the whole page”.
Let’s set it appropriately according to the characteristics of the site.

Specific link settings

If you want to set it to a specific link, set “rel=”nofollow”” in the a tag.

<a href=”Target URL” rel=”nofollow”>○○</a>

When creating links, we often do so so that they are not considered paid links.

However, setting it for all links is not preferable from an SEO point of view. When creating content , generally only use specific links.

Whole page link setting

If you want to set the link of the whole page to nofollow, use the head meta tag.

<meta name=”robots” content=”nofollow”>

It used to be said that it was better to set it to all links, but now it’s different. If you do not set nofollow unnecessarily, it will be evaluated as a natural site, so there is not much merit in setting the entire page at once.

Do not use page-wide settings unless you have a clear reason to do so.

5 effective ways to use nofollow

nofollow is used in the following five situations.

  • Paid link
  • comment
  • user-generatable content
  • embedded
  • Outgoing links to low quality sites

Use them appropriately in each situation.

1. Paid link

The most common use case for nofollow tags is when they are likely to be considered paid links.

Paid links are paid links that affect your search ranking. Google reflects the number of links from high-quality sites in the search ranking, so if you allow paid links, you will increase the number of sites that increase the search ranking by paying money. Therefore, Google prohibits paid links and is strictly cracking down.

For example, if you create a page that introduces a specific product for a fee, if the link to the product site on that page does not have nofollow, it may be considered a paid link. Even if it is okay to introduce a product for a fee, the referral received for a fee should not affect Google’s search ranking.

If you post an advertisement and get paid for it, and it looks like it will be a paid link, be sure to set it up so that the link destination won’t get a rating.

From 2019, it is recommended that links from advertisements be sponsored instead of nofollow. The effect of not passing the evaluation is the same, but you can convey the relationship with the link destination in more detail to Google.


Set nofollow on links on pages where users can freely comment.

Users can generate links by comments. If the settings are not done at this time, malicious people who want to increase the search ranking of their own site illegally can write in order to receive backlinks and raise the evaluation.

In the comments section of blogs, etc., links are basically automatically set to nofollow. However, if there are many spam comments that post URLs, it may be that the settings are not set, so let’s check. If you set it up correctly, spammers will have less reason to comment, and your comment section will stay healthy.

3. User Generated Content (UGC)

Do the same for user-generated content, commonly known as UGC.

UGC, as the name suggests, is user-generated content, including comments. Like comments, it can be abused by people who are trying to fraudulently improve their site’s search ranking. Therefore, let’s do the same setting for UGC and deter spammers.

From 2019, ugc is recommended instead of nofollow for user-generated content links including comments. Similar to sponsored above, the effect is the same, but you can tell Google more about your relationship with the link destination.

Read Also: What are permalinks?

4. Embedding

Nofollow is also recommended for embedding blog parts.

Google regards the existence of blog parts for SEO purposes as a problem. The problem is not that the blog parts themselves are bad, but that the blog parts can easily gather backlinks and take SEO measures. In other words, if Google’s search ranking fluctuates due to the embedding of blog parts, etc., there is a possibility that the search results will not be useful for users.

Currently, it is not a penalty unless you nofollow embedding such as blog parts. However, in order to keep Google functioning properly, please set the link correctly and do not affect the link destination.

5. Outgoing links to low-quality sites

It is also a good idea to nofollow outbound links to low quality sites.

When creating content, there may be times when you have to link to a low-quality site. In such a case, set it so that the evaluation is not passed to the low quality site.

However, it is not good to make everything nofollow for the reasons described later. Just because it’s a low-quality site, it seems unnatural to not give a rating as long as the link is pasted.

So don’t nofollow and use normal links unless you have a clear reason not to pass the rating, such as an example of a malicious site.

You don’t need to set nofollow for SEO effect

You don’t need to set nofollow for SEO effect.

In the past, it was said that “It is good for SEO measures to set all links for external sites”, but now it is different.

Currently, Google officially denies that setting to nofollow leads to SEO effects. On the contrary, it is also mentioned that it is better to set up a normal link.

Google always wants to provide the best search results for its users. Backlinks are one of the indicators for that, and the site that attracts backlinks is popular, that is, the higher the search ranking, the better. That’s why I don’t like the act of setting nofollows that interfere with other companies’ sites from collecting backlinks.

If you’re thinking of using nofollow to improve SEO, it’s best to avoid it.


The nofollow setting is an important factor in managing the site.

However, if you add too many nofollow links, Google may not consider your site as natural. Only use it if you have a good reason not to associate it with the link destination.