January 25, 2016

When & how to use the nofollow tag on your blog

the nofollow tag

Ever heard of the nofollow tag? Well, I hadn't in the beginning of my blogging days. And by the time I noticed that I could add a nofollow tag to the links I created in my blog posts I never used it since I didn't know what it meant. If you're new to blogging, you're already happy that you know how to create a post with images and links in it and the rest often looks like abracadabra. But using the nofollow tag can be beneficial for your blog, so let's learn what it does and how to use it!


WHAT IS A NOFOLLOW TAG?

I'm sure that a lot of you don't even know what a nofollow tag is. Please don't feel like an idiot, because it took me a while to figure it out as well ;-)

The nofollow tag was invented back in 2005 by a couple of guys from Google and Blogger in an attempt to help out bloggers that were targeted by other bloggers and website owners leaving their website and blog link wherever possible on other blogs, basically comment spam. By creating a link on your blog that leads to another website (other than your own) the Google search engine will follow that link and, to speak with the words of the guy that recently taught me about SEO: you are giving away some of your blog's life juice with that. Funny way of putting it maybe, but an understandable one.

But not only are you giving away some of your blog's life juice, if the link is leading to a scammy website that might influence your blog's ranking in Google as well. And the nofollow tag was developed to prevent this from happening. The tag basically signals that the website/page linking out is claiming no endorsement of the page it links to, nor that the link is being done because of any commercial relationship between the two pages.

The nofollow tag is a small piece of HTML coding that can be used in two ways on Blogger: either you put it in the HTML-code of an outward link manually or you use the easy option that Blogger offers. So let's take a look at both.

ADDING A NOFOLLOW TAG TO THE HTML-CODE OF A LINK

If you know a little about HTML coding you might know that the basic coding for turning a piece of text into a link to another page (whether that is a page inside your own blog, or a page on another website) looks like this: 

<a href="HTTP://WWW.THEPAGEYOULINKTO.COM/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">

The HTML code of a link always starts out with <a href= (the yellow text), followed by the domain name of the page you want to link to (make sure you put this in between " signs) and closed off with a > (in yellow).

You can expand this basic link coding with the nofollow tag and the open-in-a-new-window tag. When readers click on the link and you want the link to open in a new window/tab, then add the text in green to your link code (target="_blank").

If you want to add the nofollow tag, add the text in red to the code, which should say rel="nofollow". This will prevent search engines from following the link.

This is the way you add the nofollow tag to a link manually. But fortunately Blogger has an easier option for its users when you want to create a link in your blog posts or pages.

ADDING A NOFOLLOW TAG WITH BLOGGER'S EASY OPTION

Let's say you have written a blog post and you want to turn some of the text of that post into a link to another page or website. Let's use the following piece of text as our example:

I am a big fan of blogs and like to read quite a few of them. One of my favorite blogs to read is The Dutch Lady Designs, which is a blog about graphic design.

Never mind the shameless self promotion ;-) But it is obvious that I want to turn the text 'The Dutch Lady Designs' into a link to that website. Let's see how this is done in Blogger. First, select the piece of text you want to turn into a link. Then click the 'link' option in the menu bar.

nofollow tag on blogger

A little screen opens up looking like this:

nofollow tag on blogger

Now add the website/page address you want to link to and make sure both boxes are checked off (the one for opening the page in a new window, and the one for adding the nofollow link). Then push the 'OK' button and you're done! You have now not only created a link, but also added the nofollow tag and the open-in-a-new-window tag.

nofollow tag on blogger

WHICH LINKS SHOULD YOU GIVE A NOFOLLOW TAG?

As a basic rule of thumb you might want to give all outgoing links a nofollow tag. But you don't have to give all your links a nofollow tag.

If you are linking to a page within your own blog for example (this might be the case when you link back to a previous post or one of your menu bar pages) you should not use it, because you want search engines to follow that link in order to create a stronger 'web' for your own website.

While there is a lot more to say about the nofollow tag I decided to keep it short and simple in this blog post. I think for the majority of the bloggers it is enough to know when to use it and how to use it, and hopefully this post contributed to the understanding of that!





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