Does anyone have anecdotal evidence for or against Google following internal nofollow links? (Irrespective of what they claim)

While Google officially states that they don't follow 'nofollow' links, some SEO experts believe that Google might still crawl these links for context and understanding of the site structure, though they won't pass PageRank. However, this is mainly anecdotal, and actual results might vary depending on the website's overall SEO strategy and structure.

While Google officially states that they don't follow 'nofollow' links

I'm actually going to correct you there for anyone else who stumbles upon this thread. Google announced a year or so that "nofollow" went from being a directive that they will always follow to instead being a hint that they will take into consideration, but might ignore (and therefore follow the link) if there are other signals that are indicating it might be a good URL to crawl.

The best way to ensure they don't follow your internal nofollow links is to ensure that all internal links to the URL you don't want them to crawl, are nofollow'ed, and there are no external links on any other sites pointing to the URL either.

While Google officially maintains that internal nofollow links are not followed, the reality might occasionally differ. According to anecdotal information from many webmasters and SEO specialists, Google may certainly follow internal nofollow links to some extent in some cases. The extent to which this occurs, however, varies, and it is critical to understand the dynamic nature of search algorithms.

Individual experiences may vary depending on individual events, website architecture, and Google algorithm upgrades. To obtain insights into the varied behaviours of search engines, it is always beneficial to exchange anecdotal information among the SEO community.

Please submit any particular examples or insights on Google's handling of internal nofollow links. Discussing real-world experiences can help you grasp SEO practises better.

I have none internal Google info , but my understanding always was that having an internal "nofollow" link doesn't tell Google not to crawl it , just not to follow it in the specific context / association / graph with the URL where the "nofollow" link is. Of course (in my point of view) if a Google bot realizes that there is a URL in your web app that is not in your sitemap by any mean will crawl it and maybe index it EXCEPT if you have a definite exemption for it in your robots.txt file.

Well, Some people claim they've seen positive impacts on their site's rankings by using nofollow links internally, suggesting that Google might give them some attention. Google's approach to internal nofollow links isn't crystal clear, leading to mixed anecdotes. It's like a puzzle where some pieces fit for some folks, while others don't quite see the same picture.

Google does follow internal "nofollow" links to some extent. Although "nofollow" typically instructs search engines not to pass PageRank or anchor text influence through a link, Google still crawls and discovers them due to Google's primary goal: indexing and understanding web content comprehensively. When it comes to passing PageRank or influencing rankings, however, "nofollow" links tend to be disregarded; nevertheless, they must be used appropriately if user-generated content or pages you don't endorse are present, as this can have a significant effect on how Google assesses and ranks your website's overall quality and relevance compared with its counterparts.

Despite Google's official stance that internal nofollow links aren't followed, anecdotal evidence suggests some variability. SEO specialists have observed instances where Google might follow such links to some extent. Understanding these nuances is crucial, and sharing real-world experiences within the SEO community can offer valuable insights into Google's handling of internal nofollow links.

Hello Dani! So, Google does not follow internal nofollow links. When you use the nofollow attribute on internal links, it's essentially telling Google's bots not to pass any authority to the linked pages. This can be useful for directing the search engine's attention to more critical pages and preventing the dilution of link juice within your site. Remember, while external nofollow links work similarly, they won't impact your site's internal link structure. So, feel free to strategically use nofollow tags for better control over your site's SEO. Hope this help! Have a good day!

Thanks for the tip on internal nofollow links! It seems using them helps focus Google on key pages and prevents link authority dilution. I'll keep this in mind for better SEO control

The first thing that comes to mind is that Google doesn't, because they don't have to. They can save all the nofollows for a third party, and still be telling the truth.

Google -> follow -> done.
Google -> nofollow -> save -> done.
save <- NSA -> done.
NSA -> follow -> done.
NSA -> Google -> done.

Google has, however, noted that they simply don't follow nofollow links. So while nofollow links likely don't have a direct impact on your SEO, they can affect your website traffic

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