A Real Estate Discussion Blog


What is a NoFollow Link? And How Does It Affect Me?

This blog post was featured today on Active Rain.  I wanted to reBlog it because I think this is very important information for Realtors understand.  You should be spending your time and efforts on sites that do all follows. 

Zillow is one of the only top trafficked real estate sites that has a dofollow policy in place (besides Active Rain of course!).  What this means to you: you should make sure your Profile is blinged out with lots of links in the About Me section.  This can help you with Google. 

Please install the Firefox application that Lisa describes and visit other real estate sites.  I think you'll be shocked to what is, and more important isn't, followed. 

I recently read a post by Lina Robertson on linking from comments, and I wanted to divulge into the topic a little more. I have been researching this topic quite a bit lately, and I think I can add to her conversation.

What is a NoFollow Link?

A nofollow links main purpose is to tell Google not to follow a link.  That means Google does not pass PageRank,  or the anchor text for those links. Which means, Google does not count nofollow links, does not follow them, and no-following a link let's you tell Google that you don't trust a certain site. 


NoFollow link: <a href="www.activerain.com" rel="nofollow">ActiveRain</a>

DoFollow link: <a href="www.activerain.com"> ActiveRain</a>

The difference is pretty obvious, and it's really easy to add the nofollow attribute to any link you want.


Google's Suggestions For NoFollow Links

Untrusted Content - It's good practice to put the no-follow attribute on links you don't trust. ActiveRain adds the no-follow attribute to your comments section, because you never know who is going to comment on your blog, you can't really trust people you don't know, and that makes comments a good place to use no-follow.

Paid Links - It is widely known that Google frowns upon paid links, such as when a webmaster pays another webmaster for a link to increase their PageRank, this is Black Hat SEO, and could get you banned form search engines. However, links that are purchased for advertising should are ok, but you should add the no-follow attribute so Google doesn't think you are buying links for PageRank.

Read: Google's Webmaster Page On NoFollow Links

How do you tell if a link is nofollow?

There are two ways to tell if a link is nofollow that I know of.

#1. If you don't use Firefox you will need to look at the code of a webpage. This is the hard way, and I wouldn't recommend it, but I will still show you how.

Fiirst you need to go to your toolbar on your browser, click "view," scroll down to "page source" or "Source" and look at the coding on the page.



Then you can search for the links anchor text by hitting "Ctrl F" on your keyboard, and search for nofollow or the anchor text of the link.

nofollow screen


If that seems diffucult for you, your right, it is. There is an easier way, and here's how:

#2. First, you have to use Firefox, if you don't use Firefox, you can download it here: Download Firefox

Now that you have firefox, you need to get a plug in that will highlight nofollow links, you can download it here: SearchStatus Downlaod

Now that you have downloaded your plug in, you should see something like this on your browser toolbar. (Sometimes it shows up at the bottom of your browser, or the top.)

Search Status Toolbar

Now just right click the little @ button next to the left arrow, and you should get a drop down menu, click the "Highlight NoFollow Links" and voila! All nofollow links are then highlighted on your web pages. 


Highlight NoFollow Links


And this is what a nofollow link looks like:


No Follow Highlighted Link


What's the big deal of all this?

The main benefit of knowing whether links are nofollow or not is for SEO purposes.  If you know anything about SEO, you know that links are the #1 determining factor for search engine rankings. But it does no good to go after links for your search engine rankings, for Google anyways, if they are nofollow.  Nofollow links are still good links to drive traffic to your websites, like if people click on them to go to your site, but from a Google stand point, they aren't going to pass any weight for your search engine rankings.



NoFollow is for Google only, Yahoo! and Bing do not use nofollow linking techniques. This is important to know because even though a link is nofollow, it still may be a good link in Yahoo! or Bing, and I would recommend that you don't only  go after nofollow links for your SEO strategy.


Here's Why NoFollow Links Are Good

If Google notices that you only have dofollow links pointing to your website, it's going to throw up read flags. Google knows that having nofollow and dofollow links is natural, and if all of your links are dofollow, that doesn't look natural to Google. If you don't look natural, your site could get penalized.

Yahoo and Bing do not care about a nofollow link or a dofollow link, they count all links. Because they count all links, the more high quality links you have, even if they are nofollow, the higher you are going to rank in those search engines.


If you have any questions, let me know and I will try to answer them to the best of my ability. It would also be nice to hear some of the experts around Active Rain on their input of the nofollow link.




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Comment balloon 7 commentsSara Bonert • September 18 2009 09:53AM


So, does everyone use firefox even if they are on windows? Is that what is recommended for the best blogging experience?

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) about 11 years ago

Personally, I do back and forth.  But this cool app that Lisa describe only works in Firefox, not Explorer.  I usually compose my Active Rain posts in Firefox because it tends to crash on me a lot less than when I write in Explorer. 

I think I remember Bob Stewart writing a post once where he said he prefers Firefox, but I couldn't find it.  I did find this post by him though that may help.

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) about 11 years ago

Sara - I went back and added a comment on Lisa's post. When I said Zillow does nofollow I meant on the Q&A and discussions as we are starting to particate more on that front I noticed the code was <a
 class="" rel="nofollow" href="http://www..... Please do correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks for clarifying I had not looked at the main links on our profile. ~Rita

Whether the links are dofollow or nofollow we are focusing on making many more contributions on Zillow -we have been neglecting it!

Posted by Brian Burke, Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate (Kenna Real Estate) about 11 years ago

Hello Sara, thanks for the insight on getting our Zillow profile's blinged out with good lnks.  Will do!  John

Posted by Alexander- Slocum, Realty Team- Vancouver WA Real Estate (Premiere Property Group, LLC - Vancouver Washington) about 11 years ago


Ah, you are right about the Zillow Advice section.  Follows on all Agent listings and Agent profiles.  NoFollows in the Advice section.  The reason we did this wasn't a search engine play, but rather the Spammers once again ruined it for all.  When we first launched the area, we did have Follows in place.  But we got so much spam about undesirable, and non real estate (to say the least) things, that we simply couldn't manage it - and we had to reverse the decision. 

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) about 11 years ago

Fast forward a year later. Are links in the agent listings and agent profiles still follow?

Posted by Dana E almost 10 years ago

Dana - Good question.  From Zillow's perspective the answer is 'yes' - links are still followed on both listings and on agent profiles. 

The great thing over the last year is that agents have gotten better at capitalizing on the followed links.  What I mean by that is agents are creating better anchor text and linking out from good keywords on their profile (a concept that applies to any profile - espicially active rain ones too). 

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) almost 10 years ago