Understanding what the “No Follow” tag can do for you

**With recent event unfolding on how pagerank sculpting works with the nofollow tag please refer to Google Finally Makes Up Their Mind About PageRank Sculpting With The No Follow Tag **

Learning to implement “nofollow” tags is fairly easy. Learning how to apply them in the proper way does require some skill. This post was created in order to educate the average webmaster, or website owner, on what “nofollow” tags can do for your site.

The use of “nofollow” tags can serve many different purposes. They can be used to limit the amount of link juice that flows out of a page to external pages of different domains, or they can be used to control where the link juice will flow to within a site and its internal pages.

Today, we’ll talk about the use of “nofollow” tags to control the amount of link juice flowing within a site and its internal pages. To better explain this I came up with an illustration that should help the “not so technical” crowd understand this process.

If you would, please visualize your homepage as a bucket, and the subpages as sub-buckets. See the image below:

Nofollow Tag

Your total search engine authority can be represented by what I’m going to call “SEO Juice”.

Now, imagine that every link you have, in every page of your site, is a hole in the bucket. Once the different Search Engines pour their “SEO Juice” into your homepage bucket, the juice leaks out to your sub-pages, and external pages, through every link you have.

Picture of no follow tag

The problem is that some of your sub-buckets (sub-pages) don’t need that “SEO Juice” as much, while others need a lot of it. A good example is having those “Privacy Policy”, “Shipping Info” types of pages that really don’t need to rank highly in any SERP. So, instead of spreading your “SEO Juice” thin, you’d direct it to where it is most needed. Your site could have an extremely relevant, and high converting sub-page that you want to boost, this would be a good place to start.

The “nofollow” tags help you plug the holes of different buckets and let most of the juice flow where you want more Search Engine authority. See the image below:

Image of no follow tag

Once you’ve drawn the “nofollow” strategy map for your site, and decide on what pages need more search engine authority, the implementation part is quite simple.

Now that you understand what “nofollow” tags can do for your site, make sure you look into taking advantage of this awesome tool, and take control of where your “SEO Juice” is flowing!

Still confused? Let us help you out! Check out our full list of search engine optimization services.

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10:16 am Design, Media, Paid Search, SEO

86 Responses

  1. Internal Use of NoFollow Tag Says:

    [...] please visualize your homepage as a bucket, and the subpages as sub-buckets. See the image below: NoFollow Tag [...]

  2. Matt Ridout Says:

    Brilliant diagram and explanation of nofollows!

  3. Bruce Cat Says:

    Thanx for a clear explanation of the “nofollow” tag.

  4. Jaan Kanellis Says:

    I can’t not believe everyone is buying into this PR sculpting idea. First, why in the world would you not want Google to visit your about us or contact us pages? Denying spider accessibility to these pages is ludicrous. Second if you think that denying access to those pages is going to give more “juice” to other OBL’s then I feel your wrong. Please show me proof that this works in anyway. Millions of websites don’t even recognize or know what the nofollow attribute is and do perfectly fine. I personally feel sculpting PR in this manner is nothing more than a band-aid for poor internal navigation to begin with.

  5. Funcionamiento de nofollow con imágenes | Posicionamiento en buscadores Says:

    [...] puede ver en el blog de Evisibility , que guardando el “jugo” para ciertas páginas y no para otras , representado mediante [...]

  6. Stephen Peron Says:


    In a perfect link siloing or page sculpting scheme every page would be get some amount of link juice, this includes About Us or Contact Us. But the majority of the your link juice would go to your most important pages you want to competitively rank for.

    An about us page or contact us page will be easier to rank so why give it the same amount of link juice as a competitive product or service page?

    Even when I was at SMX West Matt Cutts endorsed the idea of page rank sculpting.

    Remember, SEO is all about the large amount of small things that add up to a large result.

  7. Ricardo Figueiredo Says:

    @Jaan - The nofollow simply tells the crawlers that you don’t want to pass link authority from the link with the nofollow, to where it is pointing. The pages are still visible, getting indexed and still receiving links from any other place you want within your site, or externally. The purpose of this isn’t to cut every page off your site and only keep the highly converting ones. the use of nofollows gives you some control of where you want the link authority to flow to within your site, nothing is being blocked. Typically, I like to use it with pages that truly don’t need to rank, like a “Terms of Use”, or “Shipping Policy”, etc.. I wouldn’t want to nofollow tag links to an “About us” page as mentioned above. I hope this helps clarify this further.

    I have personally seen awesome results using this strategy.

  8. Barbol » De qué va el SEO Says:

    [...] Comentario de Stephen Peron en Understanding what the “No Follow” tag can do for you [...]

  9. Mike Bradbury Says:

    I also think its important to note that the page upon which the links reside will not lose ‘rankability’ (if you will) whether the links are no-followed or not. Only the page where the links are pointing will lose ranking if no followed.

    I would compare it to a lamp and a laser. If you put your hand near a bulb in a lit lamp you’ll feel some degree of warmth, however, if you were to concentrate all of the light that it is emitting into a single organized beam, the light is much more powerful.

  10. Internet Marketing Joy Says:

    Your visual representation is brilliant and easy to understand..^^..now it’s very easy to explain to newbies including me of what no follow attribute really is..^^

  11. spostareduro Says:

    Great explanation. Thanks!

  12. Paris Paraskeva Says:

    let see if i got this right!

    if i am dealing with a property website

    we have a main menu to various pages and 1000 pages of properties.

    IF in my home page my main menu has normal links the juice will flow town to these pages right?
    now if in sub pages (those 1000 property pages) my main menu items have a nofollow tag except the home link then alll the juice from all these 1000 property pages will flow back to the home page right? and not the other menu links which are not so important

    am i getting this right?

  13. Katinka Hesselink Says:

    Personally I use rel-nofollow internally to get less google juice to the homepage. I mean: every page on my site links back to the homepage, but it’s only relevant for people looking for my specific (not very famous) brand - for which it ranks automatically anyhow as it gets a ton of external links.

    I do feel though this silloing of google juice is only for websites that are already optimized in other ways.

  14. Kalman Says:

    We ran a similar test and did find that PR did adjust when updated, but it was hard to see difference in traffic to the pages we were trying to push.

    On another note, we think it will affect the sitelinks which are generated by the search engines. So far there is real no way to control sitelinks except in the webmaster tools where you can block a specific sitelink, but we think placing “nofollow” tags could help generate good sitelinks.

  15. Suhrud Says:

    Excellent! if anyone still cant follow the “nofollow” concept, I think its time to replace the juice itself! :)

  16. Linkjuice im Eimer - Bandscheiben-Blog Says:

    [...] zum Thema Linksaft, Linkjuice, Seo-Juice - oder wie immer man ihn nennen mag - hat, kann sich bei evisibility näher [...]

  17. Carlos del Rio Says:

    Kudos on the graphics, they make me laugh.

    Jaan has a very good point, that I agree with, if you NEED to nofollow internal links it is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong.

  18. Ricardo Figueiredo Says:

    @ Carlos de Rio - I’m glad you liked the graphics! haahahha, they made me laugh to, though they sure do a good job at getting the point across don’t they?

    “if you NEED to nofollow internal links it is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong.”

    I would like for you to elaborate on that. The nofollow attribute is something to be used sparingly and wisely, to assist rather than change the direction of your internal link authority. Tell me, would you like to have more link authority in your “Privacy Policy” page, or in the page that you have the bulk of your content? If you could, wouldn’t you give more link authority to the content page?

  19. ITrush Says:

    Very informative post.

  20. Lydia Says:

    What a great diagram to help describe this process!! Just add some spill over to show how some can be wasted to external links when over doing it or shipping it off to non-authoritative sites!

    I do wish we could diagram the process of effective internal linking this easily so that we wouldn’t have to “no follow” anything!

    Nice analogy!

  21. Does PR Sculpting Work? - WebProWorld Says:

    [...] Does PR Sculpting Work? Another post on one believes this PR Sculpting would work: No Follow Tag | Internal Use of No Follow Tag __________________ KBK Marketing | Jaan Kanellis Search Marketing Blog | Be the best and a link [...]

  22. What Is PR Scuplting And Does It Work? - Search Marketing & SEO Blog from Cincinnati, Ohio Says:

    [...] Understanding what the “No Follow” tag can do for you [...]

  23. Links of the Week March 7th, 2008 | .eduGuru Says:

    [...] Internal Use of No Follow Tag - I nice visual layout explaining No Follow link tags to anyone. [...]

  24. Carlos del Rio Says:

    I wrote an entire post on nofollow: No Follow - Gaming A Broken System

    My graphics aren’t the same quality as yours. I’ll paraphrase the post. Nofollow is a Google only tactic that puts much of your site in the hands of the search engines. If you go the route of building a better architecture you will get value from more than just Google and have a sustainable plan for growth.

  25. Shycon Design Says:

    Haha, cute visual!

  26. sir jorge Says:

    that’s the best explanation i’ve seen about this in a long time.

  27. Tony Lindskog Says:

    That is an excellent visual aid on how nofollow works. Thanks!

  28. Josh Says:

    kickass blog post. very good post for newbies to grasp the concept of nofollow/link juice sculpting. a more technical follow up would be good :)

  29. This Month In SEO - 3/08 - TheVanBlog Says:

    [...] Understanding what the “No Follow” tag can do for you [...]

  30. Jehzeel Laurente Says:

    now I fully understand what “nofollow” tags mean :P

  31. Dexter Says:

    Nice Information about no follow tags.. Just see the drawing and it will explain all.. nice work

  32. eVisibility “nofollow” T-Shirt | (Tamar Weinberg is a) Schwag Addict Says:

    [...] sure what nofollow is? They illustrate how nofollow works on their blog, [...]

  33. Richard Says:

    Hello, i did use the no follow on all links on my home page apart from the sitemap link.

    I got a huge boost in rankings! I really think this works. though u have to do it carefully.

  34. Everyting You Ever Wanted To Know About SEO | SEOpsCentre Says:

    [...] any point trying to push the ranking of your about page or your login screen.  Plus, all those pretty pictures of buckets full of link juice can be quite convincing. On the other hand I can see a lot of sense in the opposing arguments [...]

  35. Is No-Follow the Real Google Killer? - piloSEO Says:

    [...] disregard all of the links or break the the No Follow attribute they developed and actually pass link juice to No Followed links. They could also take the link factor out of their algorithm and rank sites [...]

  36. » The Art of Sculpting, or There’s Nothing Wrong with Knowing SEO Says:

    [...] want a visual description to help you understand, then I recommended you take the time to read the bucket post (even though it ignores PR flowing back in the opposite direction, but that is a post for another [...]

  37. Professional SEO Consultant | How Google REALLY Treats Your Internal Links Part 1 Says:

    [...] that are followed would get 20% of the link juice! My good friend Ricardo, from eVisibility, has an excellent post with visuals to explain this (those buckets are now famous and have gotten that blog many reputable [...]

  38. Hypotheek voor duitsland Says:

    Hello, i did use the no follow on all links on my home page apart from the sitemap link.

    I got a huge boost in rankings! I really think this works. though u have to do it carefully. ??

    Ok, i didn’t knew this.

    I always thought that it will decrease your ranking.

  39. Shine A Light - How to explain link-theory to a layman | SEOpsCentre Says:

    [...] sorts of metaphors and analogies you can use to illustrate various aspects of link theory, from the buckets full of link juice used to explain PR flow and sculpting, through to examples where [...]

  40. How to create nofollow links | BlogWell Says:

    [...] Understanding what nofollow can do for you from an SEO point of view [...]

  41. is outgoing links weakening me ? - Page 3 - WebProWorld Says:

    [...] is using the nofollow tag to control the internal flow of PR juice. Here is an article on it No Follow Tag | Internal Use of No Follow Tag and this article is linked to from sites like searchenginewatch. [...]

  42. Pittsburgh SEO Says:

    Wow, love the pictures you did a great job with them. Although I heard that using the nofollow tag within your internal pages could have some negative effects in Google - as their catching onto this SEO trick.

  43. admin Says:

    @Pittsburgh SEO

    You can not or will not get flagged by Google if you use the no follow tag internally.

  44. jump Says:

    It is a fine example of use тега ” No Follow ” in WordPress, let someone and does not agree with it, but it works on my site, and on my sites портнёров. Google really indexs pages by this principle.

  45. Abhijit Banerjee Says:

    Very interesting

  46. What do sheep and my blog have in common? - about the dofollow plugin | Andrew Kelsall | Graphic Designer | Poster and Leaflet Design Says:

    [...] credit that is given is a ‘Follow Tag‘, which is code that allows search engine spiders, such as GoogleBot, to follow the web URL [...]

  47. zrce Says:

    hey great i like the you explain it.

  48. TG Says:

    Interesting illustration and was explained in layman term! Nice post!!

  49. SEO starter: Introduce Nofollow tag | KeliKuru.com Says:

    [...] TG found an interesting post about “Nofollow” tag from eVisibility. You may find the illustration [...]

  50. Suji Praveen Says:

    wow! what an explanation about nofollow tags I don’t think anyone can explain this concept as simple as what you did. I greatly appreciate it!

  51. To nofollow or not to nofollow? Says:

    [...] (Picture credit: eVisibility) [...]

  52. Value of One-Way Links with rel="nofollow" - WebProWorld Says:

    [...] links is supposed to do. These articles should help: nofollow - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia No Follow Tag | Internal Use of No Follow Tag http://www.jaankanellis.com/what-is-…-does-it-work/ Enjoy! __________________ Printer ink, [...]

  53. Lito | TheFilipinoEntrepreneur.Com Says:

    Nice presentation. Simple and easy to understand.

  54. Steven Holmes Says:

    Fantastic explanation of the no-follow tag, it really cemented my understanding.
    However, am i right in thinking the diagram is slightly misleading because link juice can also be passed upwards, not just downwards?

  55. pay per click services Says:

    Great post!! Thanks for sharing!! :D

  56. help:What is Google PR leaking? - WebProWorld Says:

    [...] help:What is Google PR leaking? So this No Follow Tag | Internal Use of No Follow Tag article is misleading? __________________ Kjell Gunnar Bleivik:: Financial information at your [...]

  57. alok raghuwanshi Says:

    great thanks for share with us

  58. 21 SEO Articles you Must Read | Says:

    [...] Understanding what the No Follow tag can do for you - A well detailed explantion of the No follow tag and its benefits for your Blog. [...]

  59. akiza Says:

    Nice way of explaining. Impressive

  60. goacom Says:

    The depiction is really very clear cut and simply outstanding. I am keen to know how to plug the juice with a nofollow tag for individual posts.

    Good stuff

  61. sterndal Says:

    very clear explanation


  62. Back Link Building Software Says:

    I like thyis article and have shared it with various friends in the field. Thanks for the graphics as they help newbs grasp the concept a lot easier
    : ]

  63. Link Building Services Says:

    this is one hell of a good example of no follow. Recently i added nofollow tag to contact page and testimonial page at my website. hope it wont hurt my rankings :)

  64. Why your site sucks (part 4) | RogueStar.tv Says:

    [...] a legend that defines how the pages link together, components of the pages, which links are no followed and any other special information that each page might [...]

  65. The Best Says:

    I think that implementing the no follow tag in this fashion is a good idea. However, I have read that some people think google is catching on to this and, in the future, it may become a negative.

  66. The Ultimate Blogging Toolkit » Dofollow (No Nofollow) for Improved Search Engine Rank Says:

    [...] an alternate view of this link juice topic, the folks at eVisibility provide an excellent visual example of how the flow of link juice occurs.  Their point is [...]

  67. SEO Consultant Says:

    Nice work dude… It is helpful for me as well as others..

  68. Megváltozott a nofollow értékelése # Miyazaki Jun Says:

    [...] Sokan azonban (én is) arra is használtuk a nofollowt, hogy egy adott honlapon belül kizárjuk a lényegtelenebb oldalakat, beavatkozzunk abba, hogy a PageRank hogyan áramlik a honlapunkon belül: a lényegtelen lapokra ne jusson ebből az erőből, de a valóban fontosak viszont maximális mértékben kapjanak belőle. Valahogy így, mint ezen a képen (via @evisibility.com): [...]

  69. London Relocate Says:

    Things have not been so clear with this respect but a couple of days ago Matt Cutts of Google announced in his blog that Google has chnaged the way no follow rule works for the internal links. And, the recommendation is that you do not place no follow links on the internal pages.

  70. Sluta genast med interna no follow.. | Relevansanalys sökmotoroptimering & domäner Says:

    [...] Evisibility visar hur det fungerar nu på ett grafiskt tilltalande sätt, medan Matt Cutts som vanligt är först ut att berätta om nyheten. [...]

  71. SEO: What Are NoFollow and DoFollow Links? Says:

    [...] Understanding What the “No Follow” Tag Can Do For You via eVisibility [...]

  72. Mike Says:

    I want to know, how we can use NO Follow in our website. Please someone advice me.

  73. repair pst Says:

    Can we use the No Follow in our blog as well, do i have to use any code or we need to use any tool. please suggest

  74. Mike Says:

    How we can use no follow in our website. Please suggest.

  75. Boni Says:

    Great way to explain the concept of nofollow tags in internal links of website .

  76. kolins Says:

    Looking at the drawing, eventually the home page will lose all of its link juice as the juice leaks all the way to the other sub pages.

  77. De qué va el SEO | Dictina Says:

    [...] Comentario de Stephen Peron en Understanding what the “No Follow” tag can do for you [...]

  78. praveensms Says:

    Nice pictorial presentation about the no follow tags ……..

  79. Bollywood Pictures Says:

    then i should also use nofollow tags in my sites. with my link partners then i think it will be more usefull to me to ranked high in google

  80. No Follow Tag | Internal Use of No Follow Tag « Internet marketing tools Says:

    [...] No Follow Tag | Internal Use of No Follow Tag. marketing tools    SEO 2.0 | Top 10 Fatal URL Design Mistakes [...]

  81. Windshield Replacement Atlanta Says:

    This is a really great illustration on how the nofollow tag works. I will be using this on my website. Thanks for the information, it is much appreciated.

  82. Siva Says:

    nice one..
    +1 Thumbs.

  83. Scuplting SEO with Nofollow Tag - Net Builders Says:

    [...] of pages? Here is a good explanation: Understanding what the “No Follow” tag can do for you http://www.evisibility.com/blog/no-follow-tag/ __________________ Natural Elements - Bath and [...]

  84. Perpendicular Says:

    Yeah, that was a cute demonstration of the so-called “link juice” via your pictorial display that we all should unfortunately try to pretend to discern as leaking buckets of water from these sacred “site links” albeit those same factors used to be promotional concepts for the upcoming PR shortcomings that some of us actually noticed back then, including myself, in the past, and we referred to it as “green fairy dust” on the PR meter of nothingness, and nothing more.
    Anyway, some people need to get a life; there should not be a “no follow tag” regardless of SEO reasons… If ya can’t count the link or if you think you shouldn’t link to a certain source, website or page, then don’t link to ‘em or connect to it, period!
    Besides, things have changed; and unlike many people still believe, cyberspace is full of resources and unlike what was touted before within SEO jargon of robotic jive, you shouldn’t get penalized for “giving up” and/or providing “do follow” links to related material that increases the value of your individual pages - since it WOULD enhance the value of your resource page and/or asinine post at hand!
    Most of y’all worry about some inanimate, computer-based algorithm without even knowing how the world wide web works…
    Feel free to “no follow” all y’all want to, but a link is still just a link…
    Cheers now!

  85. Elnora Says:

    Of course eVisibility always has such topics that are helpful for every learner.

    Best Of Luck eVisibility!

  86. Rick McAbee Says:

    Nice presentation about the nofollow tags

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