How To Automatically Nofollow External Links In WordPress

Adding a rel = “nofollow” tag to external links in your site ensures that the search engines that index your site (such as Google or Bing) do not follow those links and link them to your site’s ranking. Adds up.¬†However, Matt Cutts says that we should not worry too much about which links to follow or ‘nofollow’ because Google’s search ranking algorithm is changing everyday and a search engine is ‘stupid’ The old school ways of making ’em are long gone.¬†Friends of SEO will know what I am talking about, especially after the entire Google Panda 2.0 update.

A little bit about link building and SEO

Link building is one of the oldest and best practices in search engine optimization. When a website has links to your site (ie links to your site), in terms of search engine score, it is a plus point for your site. The common word you are looking for is ‘backlink’.
Get a backlink from an educational (such as a university – .edu) or a government (.gov) institution, you secure the maximum possible points. However, all backlinks you receive should be from sites related to the niche or topic of your website in general.

You might think “Hey let’s create a site where people exchange links – which are plus points for all sites in the network!”

Google is not stupid. In fact, Google penalizes sites / domains running such link exchange hubs and all participating websites.

“Nofollowing” in WordPress on external links

Webmasters have the practice of ‘nofollowing’ all external links in their site (especially links to a competing site), save some. Whether nofollowing a link is good for SEO or bad is a completely different and largely debatable.

In this tutorial we will show you how you  can automatically separate all external links in your post or page using a simple plugin –  external links .

  • First, install and activate the external link WordPress plugin 
  • Next, go to its (plugin’s) settings from Settings (External link)
  • You can choose your settings according to you. Below is a snapshot of my settings:

Once I apply my settings, the changes appear in every blog post and page. Here is the code displayed by Google Chrome’s website inspector tool.

Notice how the internal link is not given the “rel = nofollow” tag. Not following your internal links is a very bad idea – Google loves a strongly interlinked website.

If you decide to apply an icon to an external link, this is how your post will look like:

For your reference, ‘online store’ is an internal link.

Wrapping things up

We tested Nofollow for external links as well as external links in WordPress 3.6.1 and found that the latter is a (comparatively) simple plugin that adds the target = “nofollow” tag to all external links and to all links. Target = “_ blank”. You do not have a site and a settings page. If you are looking for something simple, you can consider it. Which plugins and / or code snippets do you use to noflow external links into your site?

Important: Some users have reported external link plugins, which can cause major speed issues on your site. So if you use the plugin and find that your site is now running very slow then this may be the issue.

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