We create links in our content all the time, for a number of good reasons: Because they provide a reference point for facts or quotes we use. They link to relevant content around the web, helping search engines assess our own site’s area of expertise. We Link to high authority websites to increase trust in our brand. And many more reasons.
But sometimes, you might not want the source website’s search ranking to benefit from the link. This is where the “nofollow” value comes in handy.
In today’s tutorial, I’ll cover how to add nofollow links in WordPress as well as the tools needed to automate and streamline the process.
Why Should I Add Nofollow Links?
Before I get into the options for adding nofollow links to WordPress content, let’s quickly examine why you’d need the nofollow attribute.
Reduce comment spam: WordPress automatically marks all links submitted through comments as “nofollow” for this reason.
Prevent link building scams: If someone uses an opportunity to publish content on your site as part of a link building scam, you can mark it as nofollow so the source can’t reap the search ranking benefits.
Protect your site from user-generated content: If you publish unreviewed content, but don’t want to deal with the consequences of potentially bad links within it, you can automatically flag all links as nofollow.
Protect your ranking: If your embeddable content (like an infographic) appears on a less than reputable website, you wouldn’t want search engines dinging your search ranking as a result.
To let search engines know when an entire page is irrelevant or shouldn’t be ranked: This may be rare, but you may have reason for it.
How to Add Nofollow Links in WordPress
Now, let’s review how you can go about adding the nofollow attribute to links.
Option 1: HTML Update
This is what hyperlinked text looks like in the WordPress text editor:
And this is how HTML typically reads for a link:
Finally, this is how HTML should read if you want to flag a link as nofollow:
In other words, add:
in between the URL reference and the anchor text. That’s all the search engines need to see in order to not give the source credit.
Option 2: Use a Plugin
For users who prefer to use the Insert/Edit Link box, here is what that looks like in the WordPress visual editor:
Note how there is now an Add rel=”nofollow” to link option. If you don’t currently have this enabled in WordPress, then you won’t be able to see that checkbox.
For those of you who want to avoid having to update the HTML every time you want a nofollow link, you can a plugin to create this Insert/Edit Link option for you. It’s also a good idea to use it if your clients manage their own content and want to be able to do this, too.
Here are a few plugins that will help you add nofollow links in WordPress:
Rel Nofollow Checkbox
If all you need is to add the checkbox to the visual editor link box, then the Rel Nofollow Checkbox plugin will do the trick. Although it hasn’t been updated in a couple years, it’s still the best-reviewed WordPress plugin for adding nofollow links and it’s also a simple solution that makes the nofollow update more user friendly for non-coders, that is.
Price: Free | More Information
WP External Links
For more control over your links in general—both external and internal—the WP External Links plugin is a good choice. Although this plugin will not give you the Insert/Edit Link checkbox, it provides more universal control over link settings, including:
- Setting a default action for opening links (e.g. within same tab, open in new window, etc.)
- Automatically set all external links as “nofollow.” Same for internal links.
- Add an icon before each link to make them more clearly visible.
Price: Free | More Information
Having the ability to add nofollow links in WordPress is a no brainer for anyone who takes protecting their visitors, website, and brand seriously.
This is an easy change to make to your WordPress content, and one that can have a serious impact on your website as a result. Be sure you and your clients know your options for adding nofollow links to your content going forward.
Do you use nofollow links? Do you manually code them or use a plugin? Feel free to share your experiences below.
Article thumbnail image by Line – design / Shutterstock.com
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