Searchmetrics Glossary – The Dictionary of Search Engine Optimization and Content Marketing

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Nofollow Attributes

Links can be provided in HTML code together with a nofollow attribute. This attribute ensures that search engines cannot follow the link and therefore:

  • the link will not be classed as a backlink for the linked website
  • if nofollow backlinks are used exclusively, the linked website will not be included in the index


Nofollow backlinks will not improve a website’s position in the search rankings. Nevertheless, they are necessary. They ensure that search engines perceive a site’s link building structure to be ‘natural’. In addition, nofollow backlinks contribute to visitors of other websites being forwarded to your site.

For example: in forums and blogs, the history of a lot of entries and comments is published for the sole purpose of gaining new backlinks for the website. This is why forums and blogs frequently use the nofollow attribute.