Paid links (e.g. affiliate links) should have the rel="nofollow" attribute added them to prevent passing on PageRank. But is this necessary if the URL is already blocked by robots.txt?

Example: Let's say this is an affiliate link (served with a redirect script).

<a href="http://example.com/go/bluehost.com" rel="nofollow">Bluehost</a>

Is the rel="nofollow" necessary if robots.txt contains:

User-Agent: *
Disallow: /go/
  • I am assuming that example.com is your site and /go/ is a redirect to bluehost.com? I ask this for the benefit of our users. If so, I would personally have both even if not technically required. Better safe than sorry. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Mar 20, 2017 at 1:19

2 Answers 2


I would suggest having both. While perhaps not completely 'necessary', it will ensure there is no room for any penalties to be applied.


In this case, the rel="nofollow" attribute on the anchor is not necessary.

Since you are using a redirect script, which is blocked by robots.txt, search engine bots (eg. Google) will not crawl your script and will never see the redirect. The bots have no idea of the final target of your links and so cannot attribute any "PageRank" to the affiliate link. The bots simply see an internal link.

How can I tell if a site uses dofollow or nofollow links?

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