Nofollow tags in WordPress and Drupal

No nofollow

Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever wanted to refer to a webpage without providing search engine ranking for the page. Perhaps you want to mention a really bad web page (or site), or a site that you find inappropriate. Using this tag won’t harm the website you refer to or your site, it just lets search robots know the page is not related to your website. (Linking to a site considered “spam” by Google may harm yoursite, using nofollow is a way to prevent this possibility).

After Google Panda 2.5 and who knows what the advertising giant will do next, the use of “nofollow” along with ‘robots’ “nofollow and “noindex” meta tags should become standard good practice. The relationship rel=”nofollow” is similar to robots nofollow, but used differently. Robots meta is used in page content and applies to the page as a whole, while rel=”nofollow” is used anywhere within the body of the page to stop search spiders following a chosen link

Here are two examples how to do this, using WordPress and Drupal CMS, and of course static HTML. For I use an example link to a page on, a source of information about using meta tags. which provides a detailed explanation of using rel=nofollow and other metatags and relationships.

The WYSIWIG editor provided by does not include a way of adding ‘rel=’ to links, so we have to use HTML.

<a href=”; rel=”nofollow”></a>

That’s it, very simple.

nofollow using CKeditor

Adding rel="nofollow" using CKeditor

In Drupal, we can do the same using HTML, however at least one of the available WYSIWIG editors, CKeditor, makes it even easier.

The first thing to do is create the link. The switch to ‘Advanced’ where we have several options. We will only use the RELATIONSHIP text field. Simply add the word ‘nofollow’ (without  ‘ ‘) and its done.

You can use this tag for your own internal website links; to some extent it helps to reduce the impact outgoing links have on your pages. (Internal links to your own content as well as external links to other websites are considered outgoing). A good example using “nofollow” for internal site links would be to a “contact us” form – why lose PR to a form, it has no real content value.

Back to Website Basics

No doubt I will get piles of remarks that using these tags is no longer of any use “It no longer counts with Google” and so on. Who really knows what counts with Google. The latest Panda update has left a vast amount sites floundering, and a ready source of income for SEO sharks who will no doubt claim to know how to fix the issues….

I would rather go back to basics! Following the traditional guidelines will not hurt your site. Every little thing we can do to make our sites optimal – without giving money to SEO sharks – is in a good cause.

Relationship not Meta tag

Nofollow is not strictly speaking a meta tag, it is a relationship telling search robots (spiders) something more about the link. There are several other relationship tags, e.g. “author”, “canonical” “copyright” and very recently “me” , which I used (somewhat inappropriately) in the link below to my Plus1 profile. (and will be using more often as an anti-plagiarism measure where possible.)'rel=me'



About Mike

Web Developer and Techno-geek Saltwater fishing nut Blogger

Posted on October 17, 2011, in HTML, Snippets and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Thanks for posting this, I’ve been looking for an article about using rel attributes on (rather than .org) for a while. Is it possible to add rel attributes to image galleries on

    • Hi Hetty
      Sorry it took so long to reply.
      The short of it is NO, you cannot add the nofollow tags to .com galleries (Not directly anyway). The reason being when you insert a gallery, the only code added to the editor is the gallery shortcode which looks something like this
      gallery ids=”6091,6071,5739,5942,5661,5941,5707″ (contained in square brackets), so there’s no HTML to edit.

      Prior to the current crop of dumbed-down WordPress versions, since they introduced this horrible image manager, you could use the “Advanced Link Settings” field (link rel), which would apply the nofollow attribute by default to image links. With the current manager you have no control over the image markup (Stupid isn’t it!).

      I’ve tried replacing the gallery shortcode with generated HTML pasted into the text mode editor, but unfortunately the HTML markup is stripped out, so the gallery function doesn’t work. There’s no way round code stripping on, it’s difficult enough to get around this with self hosted WordPress (.org) installations.

      Hope this answers your question 🙂

      • It does, that’s really helpful – thanks so much! I don’t know why they keep reducing the functionality; it’s very frustrating. Do you know if search engines index the attachment pages, now that they no longer have ‘nofollow’ in the links?

        • Search engines will crawl these pages. However, the attachment page is unlikely to get returned for a search anywhere near the top of results (maybe the millionth listing in results or something like that – at the the end of possible list).
          Image crawlers like Googlebot image search will index the image itself, no the WordPress attachment page which itself (the attachment page) is a pointless item, but is part of the way WordPress works so we’re stuck with it.

          This business of reducing functionality is annoying. But it seems it’s something developers seem to think users want. Simplifying user interfaces is something we see across many technologies – Look at Windows 8 with it’s supposedly easier to use interface…

        • Thanks so much for replying so quickly and so thoroughly. It’s interesting that they ever set WordPress up to create attachment pages, given that they don’t seem to serve much purpose. It’s a shame that the pages are indexed, but I’m glad to know it’s unlikely they’d appear very high in the results.

          Yes, I know what you mean – they seem to cater more for the casual user than someone who’s more serious. It doesn’t seem particularly fair, but I guess it’s because it’s likely that there are more causal users than serious users (so the developers are just appealing to the broadest audience). Ha! Yes, I tried Windows 8 in Beta, and removed it after less than a week. ‘Easy to use’ is not how I’d describe it…

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: