Is there a way I can tell google not to follow external links ( pointing to other sites) without letting other know.

I know you can disable outbound links by putting rel=nofollow or something in robots.txt. But that's something others can see as well.

I'm just wondering if there's a way to tell google not to follow those links without letting others know that... like a setting in webmaster tools or something similar

( there's definetly one way. I could set an exception in my conf file for my server to check the user agent to be "googlebot" and then serve a different version of robots.txt. So that when a different user would check that link it would return a different robots.txt thant the one served to googlebot. However I'm not too sure google would be too happy about this)

Thank you

  • Why would you want to do this? Apr 3, 2012 at 21:47
  • there's a lot of people posting content ( that's actually not too bad) tp my site just fot the purpose of link spamming, although I clearly specify the site should not be used for that purpose. So I don't want to lose those people posting stiff to my site by putting a rel=nofollow, but I still don't want google to think my site is a link spamming site
    – tadoman
    Apr 3, 2012 at 21:59
  • 2
    I had to vote this down. There is no good reason to do this and can only be used to disceive other webmasters.
    – John Conde
    Apr 3, 2012 at 22:00
  • 2
    @tadoman there really isn't a way to achieve what you want to do without using black hat techniques - and what you want to do is basically deceptive. No follow is your only option Apr 3, 2012 at 22:58
  • 3
    @JohnConde there's no reason to down vote the question. It's a valid question which can be answered. You shouldn't down vote a question because you dislike the question being asked and possible reason behind it. If that where the case you could down vote any question you simply didn't like. I dislike windows, IIS, ASP but don't go looking to down vote them.
    – Anagio
    Dec 19, 2012 at 9:28

2 Answers 2


Here's the perfect solution; prevent your users from using your site as a link farm. Without some morally questionable techniques and things that could sink your PR like the Titanic (But faster), the only way to not have your site flagged as a link farm is to not be a link farm.

  • toomanyairmiles pretty much answered it for me in the comments. Thanks for the effort anyway
    – tadoman
    Apr 5, 2012 at 0:23
  • Yeah, figured as much. Too bad you can't mark a comment as the answer though. Apr 5, 2012 at 3:57
  • @tadoman you can do it with a program see my answer
    – Anagio
    Dec 19, 2012 at 9:29

To me it sounds as if you want to allow people to post linking under the impressions they are followed. Yet when Google comes to your site you want them not followed. To do this you would have to write a program to monitor user agents. When Google arrives all links by users would get nofollow. You would not reasonably be able to monitor by IP since Google uses so many. Now the problem is people can set a user agent and check how your site looks when Google visits it. I don't see anything good with what you want to do but it is possible.

if (strpos($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'], 'Googlebot') !== false)
    // It's Googlebot, set nofollow on my links

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