How to Add Nofollow Links in WordPress

This easy-to-grasp tutorial shows how you add the rel=”nofollow” attribute in WordPress and why it matters. There are a few methods available, and they’re all straightforward. First, let’s look at this invaluable HTML tag before getting into the practical side of applying it.

Why Bother with Nofollow Links?

The answer is in the name. When search engines like Google crawl your WordPress website, they ignore (don’t follow/count) your nofollow links. We’ll look at why you might want some links ignored next. There’s no visual difference between NO and DO-Follow links. You can’t tell if there’s a nofollow tag just by looking at a link or hovering the mouse over the text.

Why Add the Nofollow Tag?

A well-optimised WordPress website is one that is easy for search engine bots to crawl. It uses white hat—meaning good and honest—search engine optimisation (SEO) methods. Inappropriate, or potentially harmful links on web pages are bad for SEO. Webmasters need to avoid those or risk not getting found in the search engine results pages (SERPS).

Types of Links to add nofollow to

Just as some links can harm a website’s rankings, others can help it. You want the search engines to notice and count all the good external and internal links on a webpage.

Not all no-follow links point to undesirable or potentially harmful sites. However, it’s wise to add the nofollow attribute to those you’re unsure of. Why? Because your reputation is based on the sites you associate with by linking to them. There are four types of links to add no-follow to.

  1. Sponsored and affiliate links
  2. Links to uncertain sources
  3. Links submitted by contributors (user-submitted links)
  4. Some of the internal (on-site) links

#1 Sponsored and affiliate links in WordPress

Many WordPress users monetise websites, blogs and forums. Popular methods use sponsored links, banners, and affiliate products or services on pages. These links are fine, but you don’t want search engines to follow them, or your site risks gaining a spammy reputation.

#2 Links to uncertain sources

You may sometimes want to share a useful resource with your readers. Consider adding the nofollow tag to any sites that you’re unsure of. That way, if the resource in question has a bad reputation, the search engines won’t associate you with it.

#3 Links submitted by contributors

User-submitted comments are one of the exciting features of WordPress. Site interaction encourages visitors or members to have their say and brings them back to the pages. But if you allow contributors to add links, they may be irrelevant, spammy, or malicious. It’s better to keep these links nofollow (WP does this by default) or disallow user links altogether (recommended).

#4 On-site (internal Links)

You don’t want Google and the other major search engines to index every page you link internally. It’s wise to keep areas like login screens, user comments, and other content out of the search results. Using the nofollow tag on certain internal links blocks the search engines from duplicated or thin content.

How to Check for Existing Nofollow Links

Your website may already have a bunch of nofollow links. WordPress makes some links nofollow by default. Or maybe you’ve bought a site and want to do a thorough SEO link audit. Either way, it’s easy to check whether on-page links are DOfollow or NOfollow.

Right-click on any blank space of the webpage you’d like to check.

Now, left-click on Inspect from the popup menu.

A new split window showing code opens at the side of your browser (see image below).

Use the keyboard shortcut ‘CTRL+F’ to bring up the search box.

Type nofollow into the search box.

This action automatically takes you to the first nofollow link on the page if there is one. Tapping the Enter Key takes you to the next one if it exists.

Repeat this process until you identify all the nofollow links on the page.

You can also see the nofollow linked text or image highlighted in the browser’s left side. You may want to take notes if there are numerous links and update any as necessary.

How to Add the Nofollow Tag Using a Plugin

The best plugin to use for this demo is EditorsKit, and it works with the Guttenberg editor. Others do a similar job, so feel free to try out the alternatives if you want to. This guide also assumes you’re familiar with installing and activating WP plugins. If not, go to How to Install New Plugins in WordPress first, then return to this page once you’re done.

EditorsKit is a Block Editor Toolkit for Gutenberg. It does so much more than add the nofollow attribute to links, so explore all its other options if you’re interested.

OK, Install and activate EditorsKit, the Block Editor Toolkit Gutenberg.

Open the WP post or page that you want to edit.

Click the link to bring up the formatting toolbar (see below).

Now click the Link Settings down arrow and select the nofollow option from the menu.

Repeat this process for all links you want to add or remove the nofollow tag. Remember to save the post or page for the changes to take effect.

How to Manually Add the Nofollow Tag

Some WordPress users like to limit the active plugins used for their website. Don’t worry; it’s not difficult to add the rel=”nofollow” tag manually in the Gutenberg Editor.

Open the WP post or page that you want to edit.

Click anywhere in a title or text block that contains the link(s) you want to edit.

Now click the More Options (3 dots) icon and select Edit as HTML from the menu.

Guttenberg now opens the block in Code Editor view.

Add the rel=”nofollow” tag after the URL in the link text (see next).

Repeat this manual process for the other links you want to edit.

Click More Options (3 dots) and select Edit Visually to return to the visual editor when you’re done. Remember to save your post or page for the changes to take effect.

That’s all there is to it.

Plugins offer the quickest and most reliable way to add or remove no-follow links. The manual method is not difficult if you’re careful and add the correct tag in the proper place.

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