Google’s John Mueller: nofollow links really don’t influence your rankings

In an online discussion, Google’s John Mueller answered the following question:

“I had got a webmaster notice of unnatural links in webmaster tools 1 month back, from that day am working to analyze and remove links which are look like unnatural. I would like to know if some site linking to my site with rel=nofollow is i need to remove those links to file a reconsideration request?”

As expected, nofollow links do not influence the position of your website and your site won’t be penalized for these links. Here’s what John Mueller said:

John Mueller“Having links (even a large number of them) with rel=nofollow pointing to your site does not negatively affect your site. We take these links out of our PageRank calculations, and out of our algorithms when they use links.”

This confirms another statement that John Mueller made 12 days ago:

“Using the rel=nofollow microformat prevents PageRank from passing. It’s useful for potentially untrusted links (eg in UGC), it’s useful for advertising, and to some extent, for crawl prioritization. There are some good examples listed in this thread – such as event sponsors, etc.

They aren’t taken into account when we review sites with regard to paid links or other link schemes, nor are they used for things like authorship. We generally still show them in Webmaster Tools though, since these links may be bringing users to your site.

If you’re seeing issues with your site with regards to paid links, link schemes, or similarly, then apart from just removing those links (if they’re just embarrassing), you could add the rel=nofollow instead, especially if you feel that these links have been useful in driving users to your site.”

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Johannes Selbach

Johannes Selbach is the CEO of SEOprofiler. He blogs about search engine optimization and website marketing topics at "".