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Is there any downside to marking a link as "no follow"?

  1. RonElFran profile image99
    RonElFranposted 2 weeks ago

    I discovered that a couple of articles (out of many others) on a website that is hidden from search engines were nevertheless showing up in search results. I finally realized that the ones showing in search when they shouldn't are ones I linked to in hubs to provide more info to readers. Google says this can happen.

    The simplest way of handling such links would seem to be to mark them as "no follow". The link tool in the editor has a box to do this. But it asks if the link is an affiliate link, a paid link, or a link to untrusted content, all of which could indicate some degree of spaminess. In light of that, my question is does marking a link as no follow have any negative consequences for the hub?

    1. lobobrandon profile image89
      lobobrandonposted 2 weeks ago

      Is this website in question yours? If it is hidden you need to edit your robots.txt file to prevent the pages from indexing.

      Regarding the no-follow, there is no harm in adding a no-follow tag. But Google does follow a no-follow tag from my tests. Not as often as a regular link, but they do use a no-follow and index webpages too.

      1. DzyMsLizzy profile image96
        DzyMsLizzyposted 2 weeks agoin reply to this

        Pfft!  Then what's the point of marking a link 'no follow?'

        1. lobobrandon profile image89
          lobobrandonposted 2 weeks agoin reply to this

          Then you do not pass on authority from your website to the other website. There are many reasons to do this:

          The other site could have spammy elements which could ruin your reputation a bit, it could be a paid link or affiliate link (in these cases if Google finds out you are not using no-follow you can get a pretty sweet google slap {yes that's the term}).

          On the other hand, you would want to retain the link authority within your own site to boost the other pages on your website. So you make external links no-follow. But there are benefits to linking to other relevant sites as this builds up your own authority in a way by letting the search engines know more about your page.  They use the context of the other website that you linked to, to help judge what your content is about.

      2. RonElFran profile image99
        RonElFranposted 2 weeks agoin reply to this

        Yes, the website was mine (it no longer is). I use it to archive old articles, some of which I've repurposed as hubs, so they can be referenced by Google or Bing in DMCA cases.

        The folder containing these files and many more is marked "disallow" in the robots.txt, and most do not show up in search. But a couple that are linked to by other pages do show in search results. What Google says can happen is that even though files are in a disallowed folder, if they are linked to by other pages that are searched, the bots follow those links when they scan those other pages and the supposedly hidden files will show up in search.

        1. lobobrandon profile image89
          lobobrandonposted 2 weeks agoin reply to this

          I'm guessing you have no chance to include a no index tag on these pages?

          A no-follow link is followed, I have tested this out recently and when I told others about it, they were surprised and one guy found out that SEMrush ran the same experiment in 2015. Nofollow are actually followed at times, just that there is no link juice passed on.

          What a disallow does is prevents the search spider from seeing that page. A link will not allow the bot to get to it, because the robots.txt blocks bots on the host level.