The relevance of a website depends on countless factors. But the part that carries more weight in terms of SEO is inbound and outbound links.
A website is relevant if the websites that link it are. For each link it receives, it also receives a fraction of the relevance of the websites that link it. In turn, outgoing links of the web will transfer the relevance of that website to the destination websites of the links.
This link scheme makes the web a cloud of points linked together, where relevance flows through the links between points. Google used this scheme to define PageRank, the original algorithm for scoring web pages and ordering them in search results.
What is a “nofollow” Link?
Returning to the topic that focuses this post, the links can have an additional attribute called “rel” whose value can be, among others, “nofollow”. If we create a link and set it to “nofollow” we will be indicating to the search engine that it shouldn’t transfer relevance from our website to the website linked.
Does this mean that to rank higher in search results we should always put
rel="nofollow" in our links? No!
Linking external content is one of the best practices you can do to enrich your content, expand, and improve the user experience. But nevertheless, there are times when you link unreliable sources or use affiliate links that have little to do with the final relevance of your website. In such cases, using
rel="nofollow" is interesting.
How to Create a “nofollow” Link in the WordPress Editor
To create a “nofollow” link in WordPress the first thing we need is to create a link as we would normally do. In the WordPress block editor we select one or more words and click on the button to create a link:
There we have the option to add the URL we want to link to. In addition, we can select if we want the link to open a new tab (something always recommended for external links).
In the current version of the WordPress block editor there is no way to add the “nofollow” value in the links directly from the user interface, so you have to go to edit the block with the link from the HTML editor. To do so, click on the three-vertical-dots button of the block and select the option “Edit as HTML”:
This will momentarily convert the block into an HTML block with the content to be edited. The link will appear as a common
<a> tag. Then we must add the
rel="nofollow" attribute inside the
<a> tag, as you see below:
Once you’re done, you can go back to edit the block visually. Just click on the three vertical dots icon again and select “Edit visually”:
This way, you have your link with the
rel="nofollow" attribute within your content. This will prevent the search engine from transferring your relevance to a linked website.
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How to Add a “nofollow” Link in The WordPress Menu
We can also do the same in our menus. In WordPress, if we go to Appearance and there we choose Menus, we enter the editor of the menus of our web page.
In this editor we have the possibility to add items to menus that are links to external web pages. To do this, select the option to add a custom link. There you can create a menu item with an external URL.
Before you can indicate that this menu is a “nofollow” link, though, you have to open the screen options found in the upper-right corner:
and activate an option named “Link Relationship (XFN)”.
Once active, if you re-edit the menu item you just added in your menu you will see that a new field appears with the name “Link Relationship (XFN)”. Add the “nofollow” value there:
Save the menu and you’re done!
How to Manage All Links in WordPress
Now that you’ve seen how to add the “nofollow” attribute in your links, I’m pretty sure you realized that doing it by hand for all your links can be pretty tedious… Fortunately, there are plugins that help you configure the behavior of your links. The one that I recommend you to look at is External Links, which will facilitate this task. You just have to go to the External Links tab and there indicate if the behavior has to be follow or nofollow:
Whether you do it manually or use a plugin, knowing the semantics behind the “nofollow” value and acting accordingly when adding links on your website is important to improve the SEO of your content.
Have you taken into account the “nofollow” behavior in the contents of your website? Leave us a comment below with your opinion about it.