Nofollow Is Not A Substitute For Noindex
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Nofollow Is Not A Substitute For Noindex

Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller advises that the nofollow hyperlink attribute isn’t an alternative choice to the noindex directive.

Googlebot is able to can discovering and indexing nofollowed hyperlinks. So it shouldn’t be utilized in hopes of conserving a web page out of Google’s search index.

This subject is mentioned throughout the Google Search Central search engine marketing office-hours hangout recorded on January 7.

Mueller addresses a submitted query asking if rel=”nofollow” can be utilized as noindex.

The one that submitted the query notes they’ve been nofollowing inside hyperlinks to pages that they don’t need listed in search outcomes.


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Whereas there gained’t be any points brought on by doing that, including a nofollow attribute to inside hyperlinks gained’t forestall the pages from being listed in search outcomes.

See extra from Mueller on this topic within the part under.

Nofollow Does Not Equal Noindex

When requested if rel=”nofollow” can be utilized to maintain a web page out of Google’s search index, Mueller says:

“No. Basically, nofollow tells us to not cross any PageRank to these pages, but it surely doesn’t imply that we are going to by no means index that web page. So should you actually desire a web page to be blocked from indexing, make certain it has a noindex on it.

Don’t depend on us not by accident working throughout a random hyperlink to that web page. So I’d not assume that these two are the identical.”


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Mueller goes on to reference an article from Google Webmaster Tendencies Analyst Gary Illyes, which explains the distinction between nofollow and different sorts of hyperlink attributes.

Within the article, Illyes explains how nofollow is handled as a trace and never a directive.

Meaning it might’t at all times be relied upon to do what it’s designed for.

Nofollow tells Google {that a} website doesn’t wish to cross PageRank from one URL to a different, however Google could determine to take action anyway.

With that being the case, it’s typically utilized by Google as a sign for hyperlink discovery.

Mueller continues:

“And particularly, with reference to new content material on the net, I feel Gary did a weblog submit possibly a yr or so in the past about rel=”nofollow” and the several types of different rel attributes, the place he talked about that we do typically use this for discovery of URLs as properly.

So on the one hand we’d see that hyperlink with out a nofollow. We’d see it with a nofollow and nonetheless form of have a look at it anyway. In the event you don’t desire a web page listed, then make certain it’s noindexed.”

Not like nofollow, which is a touch, the noindex attribute is a directive.


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Meaning Google will honor the request of the web site to not have a selected web page listed.

It’s the a technique to make sure a webpage stays out of Google’s search outcomes.

Hear Mueller’s full response within the video under:

Featured Picture: Screenshot from, January 2022.


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