SEO Myth – “NoFollow” Links Do Not Count As Links in Google

Many people fall in the trap of buying ebooks online claiming to have the secret of SEO success only to find the ebook is years out of date and has irrelevant SEO knowledge.
Another thing these ebooks can contain is misinformation such as the “NoFollow” myth.

The NoFollow tag was introduced by Google to stop blog spammers getting lots of free backlinks by commenting on peoples’ blog posts. Blogging software such as WordPress automatically implemented the NoFollow tag on comment links so (in theory) the average blogger would receive much less blog comment spam.  This also helped out forum owners whereas people were adding a backlink into their signature which was displayed under every post they made; they could make all these links NoFollow and stop anyone posting rubbish.

Suddenly a lot of SEO workers worldwide were on the hunt for blogs, forums and social networks that didn’t implement the NoFollow tag to get around this.  These awful SEO guides teach people to search for “DoFollow” blogs and then spam these people for backlinks with little mention of actually writing unique content on their sites!

Not only that, websites were ‘sculpting’ their sites by adding the NoFollow tag to drive page rank to their most important pages; you used to be able to boost your sales page and have a whole site revolve around it!

Google changed how the NoFollow tag works; it now passes on a fraction of page rank through the link and makes absolutely no promise not to index the page that has been linked to even if it’s linked to by a single NoFollow link.


Want to see the power of NoFollow links? Twitter links from profile to profile are NoFollow tagged yet having millions of followers give the profile page an incredible Page Rank, just look at these examples:

William Shatner – 0.25 Million Follower – Page Rank 7 –
Stephen Fry – 1.5 Million Followers – Page Rank 8 –
Barack Obama – 4 Million Followers – Page Rank 8 –

There’s a strong rumor that you could get sandboxed by Google by having too many DoFollow links; if you were to gain links naturally you’d have a mixture of Do/NoFollow links so always make sure to get a healthy amount of NoFollow links in your SEO strategy… just in case.

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This post has 18 comment(s).
  • No offence but Matt writes: “The essential thing you need to know is that nofollow links don’t help sites rank higher in Google’s search results.”

    And all the high Pageranks of the Twitter profiles are presumable from other links do DoFollow. Not the Twitter links.


    Posted by Taco on 30 Aug 2010
  • The examples are not the best, for example the page has more than 14.000 backlinks, one from, PR7. does not pass the PR to the profiles in my opinion, the backlinks to that page help.

    Posted by Martin on 18 Dec 2010
  • Stephen Fry’s Twitter account has 12,767,079 external followed links. How can that be an example of the impact of nofollow?

    I have to agree with the first comment, Google explicitly says that nofollow doesn’t account for anything in web rankings.

    Hard evidence for the claim that nofollow impacts rankings would be hugely appreciated.

    Posted by Nick on 16 Mar 2011
  • I’m also very interested in the impact of nofollow links on Google’s ranking. Will provide more evidence if possible? I think it will be a great finding.

    Posted by stan on 19 Mar 2011
  • It’s very hard (and a little costly) to prove the NoFollow myth, I just seem to see some quick results after creating 10,000 NoFollow links towards a website.

    I don’t think you should believe ‘everything’ Matt Cutts says!

    Posted by admin on 23 Mar 2011
  • “Another thing these ebooks can contain is misinformation such as the “NoFollow” myth.”

    “It’s very hard (and a little costly) to prove the NoFollow myth”

    Surely you can’t shun ‘misinformation’ while posting content that hasn’t been proved either way?

    Posted by Rob on 26 Mar 2011
  • Your input on the do follow , no follow debate is enlightening. Using the Twitter example really made me reconsider the value of no follow.

    There are a few other Seo topics you cover here but are you not speculating too. Strong Rumours , says one paragraph . Really . Does anyone really know the facts

    Posted by Michael Johnson on 10 Apr 2011
  • I don’t agree that nofollow links pass any fraction of page rank. But I totally agree with it being a myth that nofollowed links are worthless for Google. Nofollows only block pagerank and anchor text from passing, but they don’t stop authority and trust signals, which are way more important than pagerank.

    Posted by Grumpy Old SEO on 12 Apr 2011
  • The site is really fascinating, keep writing amazing content.

    Posted by Interior design Jacksonville on 12 Jun 2011
  • I think google are pretty clear that nofollow has no effect on your ranking.

    Posted by Andy on 26 Jun 2011
  • One question arises in my mind from many days that is if no follow link do not count as links in Google then why no follow blogs are exist ?why people published no follow blog.Little bit confusion in my mind

    Posted by Water Coolers Mansfield on 01 Aug 2011
  • This site is really facilitating the SEO users and experts in a very beloved manner. I collected a great knowledge and guidance from this site. I appreciate the site owner extremely.

    Posted by mhmd on 12 Aug 2011
  • thank you so much for clearing this up to people, It really annoys me how people here something like “no-follow are a waste of time” and then pass this information around the internet.

    “but matt curtis says…” Are you out of your mind? Because one person says something it doesn’t make it right! If matt curtis told you to jump off a cliff for some extra page rank would you listen to him?

    The reason i am sorry angry is i have spent the last year doing an experiement by trying to rank medium competition sites with only no-follow backlinks.

    And guess what.. It worked OMG what a suprise

    “I think google are pretty clear that nofollow has no effect on your ranking.”

    Do you really think that Google would just pic up a mic and say “listen spammers no-follow do work so don’t worry about it”

    Of course not! I own two SEO companys and nearly 300 websites to date, I have never concentrated on getting only do-follow links and all my websites rank high (apart from the few i have neglected”

    Now think about what i have just said above, I could be telling you this because no-follow are a waste of time and I want people to be doing the wrong thing so they find it hard trying to outrank my websites. Just like matt curtis could be telling you no-follow are a waste of time because he doesn’t wan’t you to outrink his websites. How will you ever know?

    Posted by Lee on 11 Sep 2011
  • I have just started link building and there many articles around getting links from sites like youtube, but they no follow so i take it that it’s not worth doing then, can some one let me know if this is correct.

    Posted by alan brown on 07 Nov 2011
  • This old chestnut again ??
    Look, forget about what Google or any of their puppets tells you in public. Links work, period. Nofollow doesn’t stop the value, only the passing of PageRank and anchor text.

    Posted by Grumpy Old SEO on 16 Nov 2011
  • Thanks! :)

    Posted by atomiku on 10 Feb 2012
  • Informative post.This post has a very good stuff.Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by Magento Developers on 03 May 2012
  • Good post.

    Posted by Website Designer on 19 Jul 2012

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