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How to Nofollow All External Links in WordPress

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How to Nofollow All External Links in WordPress

Do you want to nofollow external links on your WordPress site? While you can easily add nofollow tag to individual links, what if you wanted to nofollow all external links? In this article, we will show you how to nofollow all external links in WordPress.

Why and When You Need to Nofollow All External Links

Automatically nofollow WordPress links

Search engines consider links as a ranking signal for the linked URL and domain. When you link to an external site, you are passing your link juice to that site.

Link juice is kind of your SEO score card. If you are linking to more sites than the sites linking back to you, then you will start losing authority.

This is why many SEO experts recommend using nofollow attribute.

Example of a link with nofollow attribute:

<a href="" rel="nofollow">Example Website</a>

By default, WordPress does not allow you to automatically add nofollow to external links. You will have to manually add this to outgoing links to external sites.

An easier way is to use Title and NoFollow For Links plugin. It adds a title field and a nofollow checkbox in the insert link popup. You can make links nofollow as you add them.

Title and NoFollow Fields in the Insert Link popup

But if you run a multi-author site, then it increases the chances that your authors may forget to check the box for some external links. In this case, you need a solution that does not require any user input.

Having said that, let’s see how you can add nofollow to all external links in WordPress without requiring any user input.

Adding NoFollow to All External Links in WordPress

First thing you need to do is install and activate the External Links plugin. Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » External Links page to configure the plugin settings.

External links settings

The first option in the plugin settings applies nofollow globally. You can keep it unchecked if only you have access to your theme files.

Scroll down a little and enable ‘Add Nofollow’ by clicking the checkbox next to it. This option will add nofollow to all external links in WordPress posts and pages.

There are a number of options on the settings page which you can enable.

You can add nofollow to links in WordPress text widgets. You can also allow the plugin to treat subdomains as local sites and exclude them from nofollow rules.

External Links plugin also allows you to open external link in new window and you can even show an icon next to external links.

Advanced options for external links in WordPress

If you have some other websites that you want to exclude from nofollow rules, then you can add them under ‘Domains to exclude’ section.

Do not add http or www and use commas to separate domains. Click on the save changes button to store your settings.

Important: Please note that the plugin adds these attributes on the fly. Deactivating the plugin will remove nofollow from all links.

That’s all, we hope this article helped you NoFollow all external links in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to cloak affiliate links on your WordPress site.

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Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. Ted says:

    I wish you had given us a real solution to do this. Adding, yet again, another plugin to fix the problem is not the right way to go.

  2. Peter griffiths says:

    I think it’s important to note that in almost all circumstances it’s not a good idea to no follow ALL external links as that completely defeats the purpose – it’s clear that Google thinks this too
    A while ago I thought about using a plugin to do this but a website looks much more natural if you don’t do this. If you think about it it says to Google that all external links on the site are paid links, and if all links can be bought, how useful would they be for the visitor and a different site that doesn’t nofollow everything should be ranked higher as a result – correct me if I’m wrong though.

  3. Gaurav Khurana says:

    Good to know such kind of plugins exists which can help in such a nice way

  4. Mickey says:

    The idea of using nofollow to preserve link juice died in 2009. At this point, it costs you the link juice whether you nofollow it or not. Here’s some details from WooRank:

    If you trust the link, let it be followed. Give them their credit back, because it’s the same to you either way. If you don’t trust the link, why do you have it on your blog at all?

    Nofollow ads, of course, or anything user-generated (comments, etc), but anything else in your blog should be left open and followed.

  5. Mark Corder says:

    In SEO / NoFollow discussions, I’ve heard that having links to external sites that supplement your content is good, and that they should be allowed to “follow”. My photoblog has many external links, and most lead to official information associated with the photo I’m presenting – like State Park / Forest Service websites and Wikipedia articles.

    Should I be marking these as NoFollow?

  6. muncy says:

    Opening links in a new window is not a good accessible practice.

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