No-Follow Links Explained

Even though there are quite a few posts out there regarding no-follow links, I still see loads of people posting on blogging forums asking what they are, how to use them, why you should use them and what happens if you don’t.

So I’m going to explain it in my own Holly style of writing and hope to hell I make some sort of sense! You might want to go and make a cuppa before I start… I’m going to use my recent Sleek post as an example.

So I’m happily writing my blog post about the Sleek palette and I want to add a link to the Sleek website. There are only two types of link I’d use; a do follow link or a no-follow link.

Well that’s great, but how do you do it? Well, it’s all in the html! See that red circle below? That’s important! That’s where you’d make a link no-follow! (In WordPress anyway.)

no-follow links html.jpg

Do Follow Link:

Last week, I wrote a post about the All The Fun Of The Fair palette I bought from Sleek. At the bottom of the post, I added a link to where you can buy the palette. In the html part, it looked like this <a href=””</a>

It’s a normal standard link which tells Google that I trust the website and the products it’s selling. Google will be able to “see” that link and can bump the Sleek website up a little bit on the search results and website rankings. Aww, that’s nice, isn’t it?

No-Follow Link:

Okay, but say instead, Sleek very kindly sent me (I wish) the palette and asked me write a review about it on my blog? Well, I’d write my review and add the link to their website, but in the html part, after the website address, I’d add the code rel=”nofollow” which would look like this <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”</a>

It tells Google to ignore the link because essentially, had I not been gifted a product by a company, it’s potentially unlikely I would have written about it in the first place. Sounds a bit mean, but it’s probably true!

It would be the same if I was given money by a company to write about them on my blog; it’s likely that I haven’t actually tried the service or product for myself, so I can’t really vouch for them.

Why is it important to use the right one?

Well basically, if you don’t, Google gets angry. And when Google gets angry, they can punish you by making your entire blog disappear from searches. OH NO! So if most of your traffic comes from people searching keywords on search engines “sleek palette”, “all the fun of the fair palette” etc, then by not using a no-follow link, it could seriously impact on the amount of people checking out your blog!

Anything else you need to know?

It’s not actually a law, so you can’t actually be penalised with a fine, a criminal record or prison time if you choose to use do follow links for product reviews or paid posts. But, it isΒ  a highly suggested code of practice that Google feels all bloggers should adhere to though.

If you’re not confident writing your own code, or you’re using a platform like WordPress or Blogger and you’re self-hosted, (so not at the end of your blog name) you can download plugins where you can click the option for a link to be do follow or no-follow!

If I’m given a goody bag at an event, and I write about the contents and posts links, even though they’re not explicitly asking me to write a post about it, I usually do a no-follow link for those too, ya know, just in case πŸ™‚

I really hope that all made sense, let me know if you have any further questions in the comments below πŸ™‚ x

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  1. Oh the shizz! SEO I actually understand! Thanks!!!

    So do you use no-folllow on your links then so it doesn’t follow off your blog and somewhere else and drops your view count?

    1. I have a plug-in that turns all my links into no-follow by default. Organic links can be follow links but I’m too lazy to change them lol

  2. This post has FINALLY lit the bulb for me. I’ve read so many do follow/no follow posts and left more confused than when I started. I love that you’ve written this in a simple, easy to follow way xx

    Jay |

  3. Omg this has got to be the best post I’ve read on this. It’s been confusing me for ages! Xx

  4. Oh Holly, you little lifesaver! This post was brilliant. So easy to understand. Although I’ve been blogging for a few years now I’m still finding there’s so much to learn and this is something, although quite simple when you know what you’re doing/if you understand it, it’s so confusing when it’s not explained properly and for me, personally, your post hit the nail right on the head. So thank you! x

    1. I’m so glad you found it useful! It’s so confusing when you start blogging because it’s not like getting a new job where someone trains you up, you kinda hear about things on Twitter and have to ask or look it up x

  5. Great explanation. I only recently learnt this snippit of blogger lingo. Luckily like you said I found a plug-in that lets me do this easy

    Stacey xxx

  6. Holly, this is ace! To be fair, as a hobby blogger I get very few freebies (er, none!) but this is a great explanation should I ever make that step 😁

  7. This post was actually super helpful… so in basic terms do follow for your own posts and no follow for a post where you haven’t paid for the product/content … this now makes much more sense to me. HAYLEY || Echo Luna Luxe

  8. Hooray, good post with good info. I’ve gone back through a lot of my posts since I learnt about the whole gifting thing from Hayley. It makes sense though. All the shiny pants

    Honestly Aine

  9. It’s crazy because I’ve never heard about this before. This was helpful but I think I may need to write you to further understand it😩

  10. This is the first I’m hearing about this so I’m going to have to do a bit more research as to why Google frowns upon it. Honestly, it looks like they just don’t want us giving links to brands to help their SEO and bump rankings without them paying Google, but I could just be being cynical. Awesome post!

    1. I think it’s just that fact you’d be bumping up the SEO in return for money and products, which seems a bit underhanded, that Google frowns upon.

  11. I hope everyone reads this post, it’s so helpful and the most clearly written of all the ones I’ve read. You made it easy to understand, thank you so much!!

    1. Thank you so much! I spent ages wondering if I should write one as there are so many others out there. I’m glad you think it’s clearly written πŸ™‚ x

  12. If you were gifted a product to review, but you buy from them all the time and are likely to have written about them, which would you use?

    This makes so much more sense now though! Thank you!!


    1. Ah good question Katie, I think because it’s been gifted on that particular occasion, you’d still need to use a no-follow link πŸ™‚ x

  13. Thanks this is such a helpful post. I’m really new t blogging and had no idea what all of this meant. Thanks for such and easy explanation. Whilst the plugin will be useful it’s so helpful to understand the “why” Thanks again

    1. Thanks, I’ve updated my post to say there are plugins available πŸ™‚ It’s useful for anyone who doesn’t have plugins though or knowing if yor plugin is working correctly πŸ™‚

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