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Video: When to NoFollow Links

One of the least desirable tasks site administrators must perform is responding to link-removal requests from owners of targeted domains. There are easily 50 other preferable ways to nurture a website, and yet turning one's back on what Google considers unnatural link signals is one way to get slapped with a manual penalty.

In this video from Kyla Becker, find out how to implement a rel="nofollow" tag in a link element and which links are top priority for receiving a "nofollow."


Kyla Becker: Hi. Thanks for viewing another video on the RKG Blog. My name is Kyla Becker and I am a Senior Content Strategy and Engagement Specialist here at RKG.

In light of the focus on unnatural link signals by Google within the last year or so, it's important to know where "nofollows" are appropriately placed so that you can make sure they are there from the beginning. This will also help to reduce the number of link removal requests that you receive, thus saving you a lot of time and effort down the road.

Today we're going to be going over what a "nofollow" is, how to implement it, and the areas that you need to be aware of.

Essentially, a "nofollow" tag tells search engines that link equity should not be passed from the referring domain to the targeted URL, and thus should not help it with its organic ranking. With these recommendations, please keep in mind that if links are authoritative and naturally obtained, and fall within Google guidelines, no action is required.

So, how do we implement a "nofollow" tag? Well, a rel="nofollow" tag can be placed within any link element where the targeted URL is recognized as needing a "nofollow." To make it easy to remember, you can always add the rel="nofollow" tag to the end of your link element before the closing angle bracket, right before the anchor text.

Some of the areas where "nofollow" implementations should be considered are areas where there is a human element included, such as with a guest post or a sponsored post. With guest posts there's usually a targeted link trying to be built into the content that needs to be recognized as requiring a "nofollow." Additionally, guest post author bios, which include targeted, optimized anchor text, should also be "nofollowed." These are areas where a "nofollow" implementation should be based on whether links are relevant and occur naturally within the content. With this, we also need to consider sponsored posts where product or payment has been exchanged and returned for a review or content. These definitely need to have "nofollows" implemented as they do go against Google best practice.

Additional paid placement that must require a no-follow are those paid advertisements such as image banners or contextual link ads. Some other areas that include a human element that you should look at include forum profile links, forum signatures, and comment sections on blogs. It can be very difficult to moderate all of the links that are occurring within these areas so automatically "nofollowing" these areas would be within your best interest.

Next, you want to look at some areas where automation becomes problematic. Things such as site-wide links can be problematic in that every time a new page is added, a new link is created, unintentionally, thus by nature making it unnatural. Areas such as primary navigation and footer navigation areas and blog rolls contribute to this. These are areas where you want to make sure that "nofollows" are already implemented. Additionally, automatic inclusions of links in areas such as directories or search engine scrapers can be problematic for you as there is no human vetting process to make sure that these links are relevant to the site or appropriate for the content.

Making sure that you have "nofollows" implemented on the correct links can help to ensure that your site is not penalized for unnatural link signals and can help keep you out of Google jail, such as the one that Megan Geiss mentioned in her video.

If you do have the ability to go back and change these areas retroactively it is recommended that you do so to save yourself some more time. For more specific information on link schemes go ahead and search for 'Google link scheme guidelines' and that will provide you with a lot more information on what you need to know to make sure your site is in compliance.

Thanks for joining us for another installment on the RKG Blog. We hope to see you again soon.

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