A rel=”nofollow” attribute can be added to links to inform search engines to ignore and not follow them. Nofollow links do not pass authority and will therefore not impact search rankings and can be used for both internal and external links. Within our SEO Office Hours Notes below, we cover advice from Google around how they manage this directive with further recommendations for best practice use of nofollow tags.
For more on nofollow directives, check out our article: Noindex, Nofollow & Disallow.
No limits to the Number of Nofollowed External Links on a Page
Google doesn�۪t have a limit for the number of nofollowed external links on a page.
Google Passes Signals Normally for Links with rel="noopener noreferrer"
Following a recent WordPress update, rel="noopener noreferrer" attributes have been added to links opening in a new tab. Google ignores these attributes and passes all signals normally for these links as long they don�۪t have a nofollow.
Google Might Nofollow Links in Widgets and Apply a Manual Penalty to the Target Site
If Google detects a significant number of links within a widget, it will nofollow them, and may apply a manual action penalty to the site where the links point to.
Search Console Backlinks Include Nofollowed Links
Google includes nofollowed links in the Search Console backlinks data to discourage a focus on followed links, and help you understand which content is generating the most links.
Google Ingores Index and Follow
Google ignores index and follow tags because it’s the default.
Search Console Shows a Sample of the More ‘Relevant’ Backlinks
The backlink data in Search Console is a sampled set of backlinks which Google considers to be more relevant. For small sites, this might include all the backlinks. The data includes links which are nofollowed and may have been disavowed.
Use Nofollow on Links to Noindex Pages to Reduce Crawling
You can add a nofollow on links to noindex pages to reduce the liklehood of them being crawled.
Noindex Search Results Pages and Nofollow Search Navigation
You should noindex your own search results pages as they are generally lower quality, but you can disallow them if they are causing a problem with the server load from being crawled. You can nofollow links on the search navigation to prevent crawling but you should probably have followed links on the results pages which can be useful for finding new pages if they are crawled.
Don’t Use Nofollow on Footer Links
John recommends against using nofollow on footer links.