I have a site that contains user/external application generated content (content from SMS messages).

I want links to be clickable for user friendliness, but I don't want any potentially "spammy" links affecting my SEO negatively. Is adding rel="nofollow" enough, or should I take other precautions?

  • 4
    It isn't just the links you have to worry about. What do you do about spammy content? Feb 14, 2018 at 9:38
  • 1
    Links are the least of your worries :) SMS messages are going to be 'thin' and low quality, you will be punished regardless. Feb 14, 2018 at 10:59

4 Answers 4


Nobody could even imagine, for what topic could rank a page with content from user SMS messages.

But one thing is for sure - such content will never ever help somebody to solve any issue. Don't make a mistake to think, just because it is a content it should be indexed.

Set the whole page with SMS messages to noindex and all in- and outbound links to nofollow. Google doesn't excuse useless content in index.


According to google's recommendation : any link on your site for which you don't care about indexing/ranking or you don't have to help its search ranking you should add no follow.

Example : All paid links on your site should be no follow as having them without no follow gives a false indication to search engines about them being relevant to the page. There are other use cases as well where no index is a must.

But adding no index does not help your seo ranking in any way, its just a standard practice that needs to be followed in order to help search engines define relevant content and create good reputation around your site.

Adding user generated content generally helps in enriching the SEO of your page if the content is relevant to the page topic else it might hurt as well. Example if a page is about Apple and user generated content is talking about Mango, this page would not rank well for search queries related to apple due to low keyword density for actually targeted keywords set. So if your user generated content does not match your page topic/quality you should prevent submitting that to search engines.


If you want Google to index these SMS messages, definitely use rel="nofollow" on all links. If you don't, not only are you going to be passing all of your link juice to those links, you're also going to get penalized hard whenever those links are linking out to sites that are spammy, low or bad content, or malware.

If you're posting people's SMS messages onto your website and are trying to rank those messages with Google, please make sure that your users know that their messages are going to be made public on Google. It would be unethical for you to publicly display private messages online. At the same time, if your users know that their SMS messages are being made public, then that is a great tool that you're offering. An easy way for people to publish their original content.

  • @BadCash ... make sure that your users know that their messages are going to be made public on Google ... I'm all for ethical working practices. To follow on from Michael: you may want to ensure that you include such activities within the relevant ToS and/or Privacy Policy pages. I am not sure of any legal obligations but it is worth doing so, even if just in the name of ethics. :-)
    – Craig
    May 17, 2018 at 15:42

You could always do an internal redirect for external domains, redirecting them to an internal page set with a <meta name=robots content=noindex,nofollow/> or something similar. For example, you could rewrite all links on page that do not match your domain and append a http://mydomain/internal-redirect?url=http://external-link-somewhere. This will remove any hurtful outbound links and Google will generally ignore anything leading to/from this page.

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