Google: Using Nofollow on Links to About Us, Terms, and Policy Pages

When looking at crawl budgets, pages like terms and policy pages are usually among the first to get their links nofollowed, so that Google focuses on pages a site owner thinks are higher priority.  But should you nofollow links to those types of pages by default?

The question came up in the last Google webmaster office hours with John Mueller last week:

Some predefined links such as policy pages, do we need to know follow or do anything?

And Mueller’s answer:

No, I would just link to them normally.

The use of nofollow on these types of pages for crawl budget purposes is becoming more common., so that Google can spend their time crawling their more important pages.  For instance, most sites seldom update their policy pages or their TOS, and those can easily be refreshed with a fetch and submit via Google Search Console if Googlebot doesn’t visit them frequently due to the nofollow.  But using this tactic for crawl budget is something that only larger sites should focus on.

Do consider whether any of these are pages that people might want to search for, as nofollow will reduce prioritization to those pages, especially if the nofollow is site wide.  For example, for some businesses, it is pretty common for people to search for an about us page, and that is generally something that most sites would want to have indexed and easily find-able.   But unless it is a company where the terms or policies is highly important for the specific business, usually those types of pages are there just to have them in case an occasional user wants to read them.

Bottom line, smaller sites don’t need to worry about using nofollow on these types of pages, but larger sites may want to consider it for some of them.

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