No follow links, or hyperlinks that have the rel="nofollow" tag added, are HTML attributes used to inform search engines that the hyperlink shouldn't influence the page rank.

Purpose and Controversy

Originally, no follow links were supposed to reduce comment spam, a problem that was affecting the blogging community. With a no follow link, a spammer was less likely to leave spam comments because their links would not follow or count towards rankings. The idea of the no follow link was initially meant to be understood in the literal "do not follow" sense. Though, today this has been the subject of controversy since the major search engines such as Google, and Yahoo, actually interpret a no follow link differently. Ask.com has even admitted that they ignore the no follow attribute completely and Google and Yahoo interpret the no follow tag to mean "do not regard this link for page ranking" instead of "do not follow."

Even those search engines that have alleged they do not use no follow links toward page rank have been found to actually count no follow links for page ranking in some way. However, the code or system for calculating page rank is kept a secret to the general public, so to what extent a no follow link does or doesn't affect page rank is still unknown.

Using a No Follow Link

Here are some questions to ask yourself when you think you might want to use a no follow link:

• Do I trust the site I am linking to or from?
• Do I want a search engine to associate me with or use my involvement with this site towards my page rank?
• Do I want to promote this site?

If you said no to any or all of these questions, you will want to use a no follow attribution when linking. Also, if you are linking internally to a page on your own site that is of less important (for instance, the "About Us", "Contact Us", "Privacy Policy", "Site Map" pages), you might also want to use a no follow link so that you give less page ranking emphasis to less important pages.

SEO firms in Las Vegas know there are some cases when you may not want to use a no follow link. If you have a reciprocal link trade agreement with another website, you will not want to use a no follow link.

The most important thing to remember is that you will want to use no follow links on any and all sites that you do not trust and can potentially hurt your page ranking.