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.