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We have just launched a new ecommerce shop. At the very bottom there is an anchor linking to our company website (a little advertisement, if you like). The SEO experts told us to put rel="nofollow" to all external links.

This seems a little odd to me, will this have a negative impact on our company website's PageRank (SEO rank overall)?

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The seo experts told us to put rel="nofollow" to all external links.

Trying to massage PR (for want of a better term) in this way sounds like a very outdated concept to me. Is e-Commerce any different in this respect? If a site is worth linking to it should be "follow".

Generally, rel="nofollow" should only be used on paid-for or untrusted (ie. user-submitted) links. Unnatural links or links that only serve to advertise (comparable to "paid-for") should also be nofollow.

Should I put rel=“nofollow” on author link?

I would consider adding nofollow to your site backlink. This is of low quality anyway and is unlikely to count positively towards your sites SEO. As you openly state, it is "a little advertisement" and therefore unnatural. The reason for this link is to simply to allow the few site visitors who are interested to find out the developer, not to directly benefit the developers site SEO. If you notice on the "best" sites, they don't include such a backlink at all.

In the following Google Hangouts (at 32:35) from 5 May 2014, John Mueller is asked a similar question (backlinks to developer's site in footer) but on a much bigger scale. tl;dr It's safer to use nofollow on these links.

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    I'm still unsure what to do. The bigger website don't put "Created by X" links because they probably look after the site themselves. From my experience "Created by X" links (at least in my area) are very, very common. Everything is made by someone, why do you think it's low quality? It does have a purpose. I'm leaning towards keeping it with "follow". – gskema Sep 30 '15 at 15:12
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    Well, it's "low quality" because... it's one of many links with the same link text "Created by X". It's from a (new) site that is unrelated to your area of business. It's always in the same place... hidden away in the footer. One thing that the main (e-commerce) site doesn't want to do is link to another site that is totally unrelated to its area of business. – MrWhite Sep 30 '15 at 16:38
  • "Generally, rel="nofollow" should only be used on paid-for or untrusted (ie. user-submitted) links. Unnatural links or links that only serve to advertise (comparable to "paid-for") should also be nofollow." Is this valid for today also? – I am the Most Stupid Person Jan 2 '18 at 6:52
  • @IamtheMostStupidPerson Yes. – MrWhite Jan 2 '18 at 9:16
  • @MrWhite Thanks, you mean when we linking sites like bloggingtips.com, shoutmeloud.com, neilpatel.com, basicblogtips.com we don't want to make as nofollow? – I am the Most Stupid Person Jan 2 '18 at 10:16
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Nofollow is a value that can be assigned to the rel attribute of an HTML a element to instruct some search engines that the hyperlink should not influence the ranking of the link's target in the search engine's index.

From Google's Search Console help page: Use rel="nofollow" for specific links:

This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web. However, the target pages may still appear in index if other sites link to them without using nofollow, or if the URLs are submitted to Google in a Sitemap.

  • I read the whole article, I think I understand what's going on now. Basically if you have a bunch of external links, your website is giving away or leaking SEO rank (PageRank). To maximize the rank of the shop all external links must be blocked. So in conclusion, I think we will not put rel="follow" on our links (but on all others) – gskema Sep 30 '15 at 10:50
  • If you could update the answer witht he artcile link and a little bit of explanation that would be great - I'll accept the answer. – gskema Sep 30 '15 at 10:52
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    here's article link if you want to understand it better. support.google.com/webmasters/answer/96569?hl=en – Josip Ivic Oct 1 '15 at 11:11
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You can set nofollow to any external link, but do it noway to your author links (links with rel="author" or ?rel=author).

If author link is nofollowed, G will not be able to correctly calculate relation between the site and the author, and this causes loosing of author trust (if the page is trustful) and page trust (if the author is trustful).

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    Although G no longer supports Authorship in web-search – MrWhite Sep 30 '15 at 16:29
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    It's not a rel="author", it's just a regular link in the footer "Created by X" – gskema Oct 1 '15 at 5:38
  • then make your author link as rel="author". In other case will G not recognize it as the authorlink. @w3d: G no longer supports authorship for showing it in serp, if you areen't logged in into G+ account. If a user is logged in, authors are visisble. And, beside of the question of author visibility in serp, i would always recommend to use rel="author" because of author- and page trust, which G calculates partly on recognizing of relations author<->website – Evgeniy Oct 1 '15 at 8:32
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Putting the nofollow attribute to all those links (which are from an external source) is the best practice of SEO. You have to put the nofollow attributes. It will not effect on your PageRank because it is not updated anymore.

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