Trusted WordPress tutorials, when you need them most.
Beginner’s Guide to WordPress
25 Million+
Websites using our plugins
Years of WordPress experience
WordPress tutorials
by experts

How to Nofollow All External Links in WordPress

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on WPBeginner. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations. Learn more about Editorial Process.

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.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us. Here's our editorial process.

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

The Ultimate WordPress Toolkit

Get FREE access to our toolkit - a collection of WordPress related products and resources that every professional should have!

Reader Interactions

29 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
    Every month, our top blog commenters will win HUGE rewards, including premium WordPress plugin licenses and cash prizes.
    You can get more details about the contest from here.
    Start sharing your thoughts below to stand a chance to win!

  2. Jiří Vaněk says

    What concerns ‘nofollow,’ is it good to always use it, or make an exception for pages with very high authorit

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You could skip nofollow for high value sites for your articles but it is a question of testing and personal preference for which sites you don’t include nofollow for.


  3. Christen Costa says

    Note: This plugin broke a number of our category pages as of June 2019. I’d be very careful. And by break, I mean the category pages were appearing blank.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Thank you for letting us know, we’ll certainly take a look at the plugin and update the article once we find an alternative should it not be working.


  4. Paul says

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the help. I installed the External Links plugin. Quick question though. A lot of the links on my website are in the form of buttons, would the External Links plugin you suggested also work on these and make them nofollow? I assume it would as from my understanding it makes all outbound links no follow correct?


  5. Natasha says

    I thought you only had to make links no follow that would be earning a profit? Like affiliate links?

    So, your saying ALL external links need to be no follow?

  6. Amit Singh says


    Good Article. I have an issue regarding my wp site. inbound Link on posts or pages (only for posts / page. In sidebars, footer it works fine.) not working on small devices like mobile but working fine in computer. How to fix this issue. I am using WP External Link plugin but no result. I also used open external link wp plugin as i read in your site but not worked. Please help me to fix this issue.


  7. Sandeep says

    I recently loss my ranking in google. I have a job alert website, i do everything correct but i use all externel links without no follow and next website has approx 1000 externel links. Any idea to get back ranking in google? Please reply wpbeginner you are only hope for me…

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Hey Sandeep,

      Please follow the instructions described in the article. With the help of ‘External Links’ plugin you will be able to add nofollow to all external links.


  8. sean says

    I am using a plugin to no follow all external links. But sometimes I need to make a link do follow and for that I use rel= “do follow”. When I check, It showed both no follow and do follow.
    What Should I do?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You should see the documentation of the plugin you are using to nofollow all links. Plugin author may have described how to make some links do follow. If they haven’t, then you should ask them how to do that.


  9. Sheryl says

    I recently received a disturbing e-mail from Google saying:

    Google has detected a pattern of links from your site to other sites that is either unnatural or irrelevant. This pattern attempts to artificially boost other sites’ ranking in Google Search results. Such unnatural ranking would cause search results to show preference for results not relevant to the user’s actual query. It also violates Google Webmaster Guidelines. Therefore, we are discounting the trust in links on your site.

    I use Affiliate links in almost every post and I now have over 450 posts — If I have to manually code each link it will take forever to do…. Can I somehow get an explanation from Google on exactly what caused this action?



  10. Rodrigo says

    Any further feedback on the pros & cons of non-folliwing al-links? I haven’t made my mind yet. I just installed this plugin, but now, reading the comments, I wonder whether it was the right thing to do.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

Leave A Reply

Thanks for choosing to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our comment policy, and your email address will NOT be published. Please Do NOT use keywords in the name field. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.