Tips to Add Nofollow Links in WordPress Navigation Menus

At some point, you may decide that you want to add nofollow links in WordPress navigation menus. However, before you do that, it’s important to understand what are follow links and what are nofollow links, and how using them can benefit your website. That’s exactly what we’ll explain further in this post and hopefully, make this task as simple and as easy as possible for you. Of course, the easiest way to keep your website in great shape is to get in touch with the WP Full Care team. They’ll ensure your website is running smoothly while you can focus on improving other aspects of your business.

No follow vs. follow links

In order to fully understand what follow and no follow links are and how to add nofollow links in WordPress, you first need to learn how most links work in the realm of SEO. What happens is when a website page gets an inbound link (a hyperlink pointing to that page), that page gets a small SEO boost.

A photo of a man writing with a red marker on a glass and explaining Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Knowing when to use follow and nofollow links can help you boost SEO on your website.

Google (and many other search engines) take note of these points and track how many inbound links a specific page gets and from what websites. By their logic, the more people are linking to a certain webpage, the better and more quality the page is. As Google wants to deliver the best results to search engine users, they will give preference to that page. In fact, Google created a metric based on link points – PageRank and the more reputable the website is that publishes your link, the more points it will get.

So what are follow links exactly? Follow links are those links that count as points and that help you boost the page rank and get a higher spot on the search engine results page (SERP).

On the other hand, we have nofollow links that were introduced in 2005 to combat spam and improve the quality of SERP. Even though nofollow links don’t look any different to follow links to your readers, they have an extra attribute in the HTML. This attribute lets search engines know how to treat links. Basically, it tells search engines not to follow the link and not to let it influence search engine page results.

Why add nofollow links in WordPress?

You might be wondering why bother adding nofollow links when they don’t give any SEO value? Even though they don’t boost SEO, they help Search Engines create search result pages that are made up of organic results and ads. This means that the highest organic results are from the most popular are trusted websites, not from the ones who paid the most for links.

A cup of coffee next to a laptop with WordPress admin page opened on it
When you link any external website, search engines will pass a small portion of your authority to that website so it’s important to add nofollow to any external websites you don’t trust.

So when to add a nofollow attribute to the link? Here are the most common scenarios:

  • Paid links
  • Comments
  • Forums
  • “Untrusted content”

How to add nofollow links in WordPress navigation menus?

Now that you know why and when is recommended to use nofollow links we’ll let you know two methods to add nofollow links in WordPress navigation menus. It’s easier than you think, even if you’re a beginner.

#1 Add nofollow links using WordPress menu editor

The first method we’re going to explain is adding nofollow links using WordPress menu editor. First, go to your WordPress admin area, click on “Appearance” then “Menus”. The next step is adding the external link to your WordPress navigation menu. The process is the same as adding any custom links.

To do this, click on the “Custom Links” tab and you’ll be able to see the URL and Link Text options where you should enter the information referring to the website you’re linking to. After this, click on the “Add to Menu” button and you’ll successfully add this link to the “Menu structure” column.

As you want to add the nofollow attribute to the link, the next step is to click on the downward arrow located on the right of the menu entry. This will show you all relevant information about the external link you’ve just added. However, you’ll need the Link Target and Link Relationship options. In case you don’t see them, you’ll have to manually add them. It’s very simple – click the “Screen Options” button (top right corner). Simply check the boxes next to fields you’d like to have displayed and you’re done.

As you’ll now be able to see these two new options, simply enter nofollow in the link relationship field. You can also click the “Open link in a new tab” checkbox as this will help you improve engagement. Also, it will prevent visitors from leaving your website.

Don’t forget to click on the “Save Menu” button and you’re done. You can now preview your site and test your new nofollow links in the navigation menu. You can also inspect the link and confirm if the nofollow attribute has been added.

#2 Add nofollow links using WordPress theme editor

First of all, keep in mind that this method is only available if you’re using WordPress 5.9 or later. Also, you need to have a them that supports the new WordPress theme editor. If that is the case, you’ll now be able to click on “Appearance” and then choose “Editor” instead of “Menus” as in the first method we’ve explained.

Adding a new link to the navigation many is now slightly different than before. On the left side, you’ll see the Custom Link block which you’ll be able to simply drag onto your navigation menu. You’ll be able to paste the URL you want and even add the “Open in new tab” option in the same place. Once you click on Submit icon, you’ll successfully save the changes you made. To rename the URL displayed on the navigation menu, simply start typing.

A blonnd woman adding nofollow links in WordPress navigation menus
Make sure to take advantage of WordPress 5.9 and all of its amazing new features.

The next step is to add the nofollow attribute. Make sure to click on the menu item you want and you’ll be presented with a toolbar. When you click on the link icon in it, you’ll see a settings pane on your right. There you’ll see the link relationship field where you should simply type nofollow. Click save and you’ll successfully add a nofollow link to your navigation menu.

Final thoughts

We hope our article helped you understand why and how to add nofollow links in WordPress navigation menus. As you can see, it’s very simple and even if you’re a WordPress beginner, you’ll easily get it done on your first try. For everything else, we definitely recommend hiring reputable professionals with extensive experience in WordPress website maintenance. If you give your website the support it needs, you’ll ensure your business is running in the best way, too!

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