Should I use rel=”nofollow” on internal links to a login page?

By | March 7, 2020

MATT CUTTS: Today’s question
comes from Christian in Madrid. Christian asks, does it make
sense to use rel=”nofollow” for internal links, for
example, to link to your login page? Does it really make
a difference? So let me give you the
rules of thumb. I’ve talked about this a
little bit in the past. But it’s worth mentioning
it again. Rel=”nofollow” means the page
rank won’t flow through that link as far as discovering the
link, page rank computation, all that sort of stuff. So for internal links, links
within your site, I would try to leave the nofollow off. So if it’s a link from one page
on your site to another page on your site, you want
that page rank to flow. You want Googlebot to be
able to find that page. So almost every link within
your site– that is a link going from one page on
your site to another page on your site– I would make sure that the page
rank does flow, which means leaving off the
nofollow link. Now, this question goes
a little bit deeper. And it’s a little
more nuanced. It’s talking about
login pages. It doesn’t hurt if you want to
put a nofollow pointing to a login page or to a page that you
think is really useless, like a terms and conditions
page, or something like that. But in general, it doesn’t hurt
for Googlebot to crawl that page, because it’s not like
we’re going to submit a credit card to make an order,
or try to log in, or something like that. So if it’s a link within your
site to another page within your site, I would usually
leave the nofollow off. Now, nofollow pointing to other
sites outside of your site, if it’s someone who can
leave a comment, that’s often where spammers try to get in. So those are ones where you want
to think about, OK, is this a trusted user? Have they been around
for a while? Have I approved it? Those are the sorts of things
where you might want to go ahead and have those links flow
page rank, whereas if it’s anyone who signs up on your
forum can get a profile link, that can be abused. People will even try to get by
CAPTCHAs And that’s the sort of thing where you probably
don’t want to have page rank flow. So I would add a nofollow
on those. But for any link within your
site to another page on your site, the general rule of thumb
is go ahead and let the page rank flow. Let Googlebot explore all
the pages of your site. If you’re super-nuanced and
you really don’t want a particular page to show up,
that’s totally fine. But even then, you might
consider just using noindex, or something like that. And even having a login page
show up can still be useful for some searchers. So unless you have a really good
reason, I’d try to let Googlebot crawl all the
pages of your site as much as you can.

16 thoughts on “Should I use rel=”nofollow” on internal links to a login page?

  1. Tim Post Post author

    I usually just disallow login pages in robots.txt, there is just no sense in having bots crawl them. There might be some useful login help content that they show, but that's generally discoverable elsewhere.

  2. toyNN Sugoi Post author

    I consulted with a nameless company that had the unfortunate experience of having login protected content get index by Googlebot when the login protection was inadvertently removed. I thought it was reasonable to recommend using the rel=nofollow on public links to the protected pages along with meta noindex – as providing some layer of protection should the unfortunate happen again….

  3. MrTVTL905 Post author

    toyNN Sugoi is right. There's no logical reason a login page should be indexed, and several reasons it shouldn't. What I don't understand, though, is why people don't have a robots.txt rule blocking those pages from being crawled and indexed in the first place. If you don't want it indexed because you think it's useless, block it at the robots.txt end first.

  4. Mohammed ALAMI Post author

    But yars ago @mattcutts said this could be pagerank scuplting technique alike !

  5. MrTVTL905 Post author

    That's a terrible way to do it, given that many bots are "browser-based" and can traverse Javascript. So to suggest that a Javascript link by itself is going to to the trick to protect a login page is "the best way" is foolish at best.

    Security on a login page is determined at the login page level. You block it from access via certain IPs, you can count the number of login attempts, etc. and so on. The point of the robots.txt file is to reduce obedient bot bandwidth.

  6. seowebua Post author

    The funny thing here is that Google actually crawls rel="nofollow" links, and usually even index those pages…

  7. Chris Vinson Post author

    Thanks Matt Man. You look great too. Have you been working out? Word of advice, stay away from golf. Even though it's an algorithm of sorts.

  8. mattmovie Post author

    I have seen the beneficial results of rel = "nofollow"

  9. tarrakis Post author

    Matt, nofollow does NOT prevent crawling (I have learned this from you).
    As you said, it simply prevents pagerank to flow. It totally makes sense to block the flow to unimportant pages, or pages that you don't want to get much organic results (like a login page), and squeeze that pagerank into important pages for you and your customers (like product pages, for example).

  10. Unique SEO Tips and Tricks Post author

    Thanks for sharing the video. Learning from this video will help more people to understand the process and algorithm of search engine results.

  11. Sachin Verma Post author

    What about the "continue reading" or "read more" links?

  12. Danilo Alba Post author

    how about the post-pages that are called through a 'tag" in another post? those pages will appear with a different URL than the original, as called through a regular expression and tag, but then google will not see as a duplicated content? shoudnt be better to "no-follow" it? how to implement this "dynamic" nofollow?

  13. Anna Oleksiuk Post author

    How does nofollow affect visibility in google search result, where subpages are listed below the main page? Nofollowed login page link will show up there regardless?


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