Can I link to websites that contain similar contents to my own and not be penalised by search engines if I use the
rel=nofollow on the anchor tag?
- Linking out, unless linking to a "bad neighbourhood" (spam, malware etc), will NOT get you penalized.
- Only add
rel=nofollowto links that you can't vouch for, or that are paid links.
Other than that, there is nothing to worry about.
EDIT - for people who can't accept #1
And finally, in Matt Cutt's own statement on the matter, he specifically states that the decay is ONLY applied to OUTGOING links - not the page that is being linked FROM.
Every link you include on a page takes a little bit of your pages value and assigns it to the page you linked to, whether you put
rel=nofollow or not.
If you are linking to a relevant, good-quality page then you get some of that value back, as long as that link is not using
So indiscriminate use of the nofollow attribute can hit you a little bit, but not by much. It should definitely be on paid links, and anything that is user-generated without you approving it you first.
NB - not providing any links does not mean the page will be more optimised, as a search engine will then see it as a 'silo' page which has very little value.
If you use nofollow you are not going to get penalized by robots, but you will lose pagerank, because nofollow'd links are dropped from pagerank distribution calculation. So always try to keep the amount of nofollow'd links as low as possible compared to dofollow'd links inside a page.