Will untracked internal links impact your SEO?


Editor’s Note: “Ask an SEO” is a weekly column from a technical SEO expert Jenny halasz. Ask your toughest SEO question and fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO article!

Welcome to another edition of Ask an SEO! Today’s question comes from Dianne in California:

One of my SEO tools gave me the following error alert:

“Internal link with ‘nofollow’ attribute

Using the nofollow link attribute indicates that you don’t know if you trust a link, so using it on internal links will make Google suspicious.

The following internal links use the nofollow attribute: “

From the links they display, it looks like my “Reply To” button for comments has a “nofollow” tag on it. Will this affect my SEO for Google?


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No. It will not impact your SEO for Google, Bing or any other search engine.

This is the problem with using only tools for SEO. They tend to show a lot of false positives.

This is necessary because the tools cannot understand the nuances that humans can, but it can be difficult when the explanation given is not entirely accurate either.

You can absolutely use nofollow on an internal link.

In fact, if you don’t want pages like login screens or comments on your blog to show up in search, nofollow is a good way to do that *.


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In your particular case, it looks like your comment plugin is removing comment reply links. There’s no good reason to allow people to link directly to these pages, and you wouldn’t want them to show up in search, so nofollow is a perfectly acceptable way to manage them.

My advice with all the tools is to research the term definitions yourself (on Google or Bing) and think about the purpose of these commands in a larger context.

The story of “Nofollow”

Many people think that Google invented “nofollow”, but in reality it is not.

Nofollow is a microformat that Matt Cutts (formerly of Google) and Jason Shellen (formerly of Blogger) collaborated on. According to official specification, no following:

“… indicates that the referenced resource was not necessarily linked by the page author, and therefore this reference should not give the referenced resource additional weight or ranking by user agents.”

There are two important keywords in this definition.

The first is “author of the page”, which states that nofollow should be used in cases such as blog comments or advertising, where the author is not directly responsible for the linked content.

The second is “extra weight”. While SEO pros have gotten used to nofollow, which actually means ‘don’t follow the link’ because that’s what Google says they’re doing, it’s not in the original spec.


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So, it probably also surprises people that Yahoo, Bing, Ask, and Baidu don’t treat the nofollow attribute the same as Google does.

Final result

Nofollow is a useful (although sometimes overused) tool in the SEO toolbox.

The implication of this tool provider that “using it on internal links will make Google suspicious” is false.

* Note that nofollow only works to keep pages out of search results if it is also associated with a noindex command on the landing page and there are no other followed links to the page.

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita


Rosemary S. Bishop