We use third party software on our website. Part of the license agreement means not modifying the "copyright" line. I have no intention of breaking this, however, because that line includes a dofollow link, the majority of our website links to a third party site.

How can we best address the SEO impact of this (without modifying the link itself - which we are not allowed to do)? I know that we can set a meta tag to instruct Google not to follow any links, but that will probably hurt more than it helps by reducing internal links?

  • The reality is the developer of the software you're using likes to have credit for his/her work and allowing link juice to flow to his site through yours may be one way for him/her to get credit. I'm not sure there's an official answer to your question in a format that works in your case but its a good question. Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 16:56
  • There is actually. Google has been targeting web template designers for years now and for a while everyone got hit for these site-wide footer links. It was a really ugly mess. It was actually written into the Webmaster Guidelines at that time. Google sees it as gaming and rightly so. Your developer is being extremely foolish with their SEO and yours. Add the nofollow and be damned! Let them sue you for this. Go ahead! It won't go far before it becomes clear that you have a defense argument that actually benefits their business. It won't get past the first rebuttal if written correctly.
    – closetnoc
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 17:49
  • Most of web developer allowed to remove their credit links, if you purchase or buy external licence for that. Just contact them, no one can help about this, because it is their product and their licence.
    – Goyllo
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 7:27

1 Answer 1


Nofollow can only be applied at the link level or the page level. I assume you don't want to nofollow every link on the page by adding this meta tag to your head section:

<meta name="robots" content="nofollow">

Otherwise, to apply a nofollow to a specific link, you will need to modify the HTML code for that link. If you are contractually obligated not to change it, you are out of luck.

It might be worth asking if you could modify the copyright line to add the nofollow. Sitewide external links can damage the site being linked to. It is more dangerous for their site than for your site to leave that link dofollow. If you explain that, they may have no problem with adding the nofollow and may even do it for you.

  • Will the meta tag have any bearing on internal links on the same page?
    – user61327
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 17:58
  • Yes, it would be the same as applying nofollow to them, which would cause Googlebot to ignore them. Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 18:37
  • +1 especially for the last paragraph. You should double check that your license explicitly states you cannot add nofollow. Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 16:37

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