rel="nofollow" is an HTML attribute that allows you to tell Google and other search engines not to pass any SEO value to a specific link. Essentially, as the name suggests, it tells Google’s crawler robots not to “follow” the link.

Here are some situations where you might want to use the nofollow attribute for external links:

  • Sponsored links/ads: If you’re receiving payment for a link, either directly or via something like an affiliate program, it’s a best practice to apply a nofollow tag to avoid seeming like part of a link scheme.
  • Untrusted content: Nofollow lets you say “I’m linking to this page, but I don’t want to be seen as vouching for its content”. This is especially helpful for dealing with comment spam links, though you might also want to use it in your own content.

While some webmasters advocate using nofollow on all external links as an SEO tactic, Matt Cutts, of Google fame, has stated that using nofollow in this manner is unnecessary.

In this post, we’ll show you two ways how to add nofollow links in WordPress. You can click below to jump straight to your preferred method:

How To Add rel nofollow Links in WordPress Using Gutenberg Editor

If you’re using the new Gutenberg editor and only need to use the rel nofollow attribute infrequently, it’s not difficult to manually add the code yourself.

This method is good for any links that you add in regular WordPress content. But if you want to nofollow links in your comments, the plugin we mention further down in this article offers a simpler implementation.

First, open your page or post and highlight the text you want to turn into a link, then click the link icon in the menu bar that appears:

Highlighting text in Gutenberg to create a link
Highlighting text in Gutenberg to create a link

You’ll be presented with some options for your link. Enter the link URL at the top, then switch on the radio button labeled Search engines should ignore this link (mark as nofollow):

Selecting the nofollow option in Gutenberg's link modal.
Selecting the nofollow option in Gutenberg’s link modal

And you’re done! You’ve successfully added a rel="nofollow" attribute to your link.

How To Add rel nofollow Links in WordPress Manually With Code (Classic Editor)

This method uses the classic editor, but the steps are very similar to those for Gutenberg.

To get started, add a regular hyperlink (you’ll make it nofollow in a second!):

Insert a normal WordPress link
Insert a normal WordPress link

Then, select the link and go to the Text tab of the WordPress editor. You should see the actual HTML for your link:

Open the text tab to view the link's HTML
Open the text tab to view the link’s HTML

To add the nofollow attribute:

  • Find the part of the HTML that says href="examplesite.com"
  • Add rel="nofollow" after that part, with a space in between

"Add

And you’re done! You can now return to the Visual tab of the WordPress editor and continue with your post.

Your link will look 100% normal in the Visual tab, but the nofollow attribute will remain.

You can perform a similar process to add nofollow links in other areas that use the WordPress text editor, like a Text widget.

How To Add rel nofollow Links In WordPress With A Plugin

If you often find yourself needing to use the nofollow attribute, or if you want to automatically apply the nofollow attribute to certain types of links (like blog comments), then the Ultimate Nofollow plugin provides an easier solution to manage nofollow links in WordPress.

The plugin:

  • Adds a nofollow checkbox to the regular WordPress “insert link” interface
  • Lets you automatically nofollow all links in blog comments
  • Gives you various nofollow shortcodes

The plugin is listed at WordPress.org, so you can install it like any other WordPress plugin:

How to install the Ultimate Nofollow Plugin
How to install the Ultimate Nofollow Plugin

Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin, here’s how to use it:

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How To Add rel nofollow To Individual Links With The Plugin

To use the plugin’s functionality to nofollow a link, insert a link as you normally would by clicking the Insert/edit link button in the WordPress toolbar.

Then, click the Pencil icon to edit the link:

Insert a link as you normally would
Insert a link as you normally would, then click the Pencil icon to Edit it

Then, click the Gear icon to open the more detailed Link options interface:

Open the link settings area
Open the link options area

You should see a new checkbox for Add rel="nofollow" to link. Check that box and click Add Link:

"Check

That’s it! Your link now has the nofollow attribute.

How To nofollow All Blog Comment Links

If you want to automatically nofollow all the links in blog comments on your WordPress site, go to Settings → Nofollow in your WordPress dashboard.

Then, check the box for Nofollow all links in comments? and click Save Changes:

"How

Once activated, any links that appear in your blog comments will automatically have the nofollow attribute applied.

For more discussion on nofollow vs dofollow links, check out our SEO checklist post.


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