Available site settings to configure "nofollow" for links posted by users

By default, all user submitted links will have a nofollow attribute added to deter inappropriate or potentially damaging behaviour. This includes all links on user profiles, as robots.txt ignores all profile information.

However, there are exceptions that can be managed by admins to improve the relevance of certain links to your site and your trusted users.


  • Staff posts - as the setting suggests, this setting applies to users. Staff are presumed to act in the interests of the site, or to share relevant links that benefit the community, so their links are followed.

  • Trust Level 3 users - regular users who have gained TL3 status can benefit from having links followed to reward them for engagement and time invested. Like staff, they are presumed to act in the interests of the site. This setting can be disabled.

  • Whitelisted domains (and subdomains) - admins can whitelist the domains they wish to associate with their site, and should include the domain of their own site.


  1. Go to Admin Settings / Spam

    by default, the add rel nofollow to user content is checked

    if you change this setting (not recommended) you need to rebake all posts to apply the new settings to existing links.

  2. Go to Admin Settings / Trust Levels

    by default, TL3 users will have their links followed. Check this box to remove this exclusion and keep all user links as rel=nofollow

  3. Go to Admin Settings / Required

    add the site’s parent domain to the exclude rel nofollow domains whitelist

    This setting allows internal links, and links to content on the same site but outside of Discourse, to be followed. This increases the visibility of relevant and useful content, and increases the relationship between the sites.

    You can use this setting to also allow links to related and trusted sites, but note that there can be SEO penalties applied for excessive numbers of links.

    Enter the most appropriate parent domain (example.com) as this will also whitelist all subdomains (sub.example.com).

Tip: when including a site on a popular domain, include only the specific subdomain (e.g. myblog.wordpress.com) to avoid whitelisting all other subdomains.

Related topics


If the link is put by an administrator, the Nofollow is not put.

How can I add the “Nofollow” to these links too?


AFAIK there’s no way to do that—but I might be wrong. Perhaps adding support for {:rel=“nofollow”} notation (which some markdown engines already support) would be a good idea?

E.g. [Google](https://google.com){:rel="nofollow"}

I don’t understand why anyone would ever want this feature, so it is unlikely to happen on that basis.


Sometimes have to answer (or tell things) using really low quality links. I have that kind case right now and that’s why I found this topic :wink:

But the last thing then is rewarding such site with a bit better SEO-value giving incoming link. Sure, nofollow is just a suggestion, but it is strong one.

So, admin may want to allow following in general, but not allways. I don’t see any reason why nofollow should be on/off option.

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Bumping this

I have the same problem. I am adding some external links to my post as an admin. I want those links to be marked nofollow. But Discourse is making it too complex to add “rel=nofollow”

What should I do?

You can write a plugin, or ask a meta plugin developer in #marketplace to write it for you.

I suggest you start by taking a look at this snippet in the post.rb model:

def add_nofollow?
    return false if user&.staff?
    user.blank? || SiteSetting.tl3_links_no_follow? || !user.has_trust_level?(TrustLevel[3])

Found here in the open source repo where all knowledge can be found :slight_smile:


Have the same issue; need to use a separate account with little privileges to avoid follow being added when deemed undesirable.

Approach would be nice. Possibly combined with a list of sites for which never a follow can be added like competitors.

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Nofollow is quite meaningless today. Google makes its own mind and follow it or not, mostly not (follow nofollow :sweat_smile:).

For indexing it is less relevant, but afaik link juice is still distributed.

Nope. The term ”link juice” is quite yesterday but SEO-value comes from totally different metrics. Nofollow doesn’t mean anything there either. If googlebot follows that link it is counted, no matter if there is nofollow or not.

There is only one solution: don’t link — and that kind tool is missing now: deleting links automatically when nofollow is really wanted.

This is same situation (but different story) than when webmasters still believe H-tags has something to do with SEO :wink:

Understand that this might be a need. I want to have a selfish outbound link policy regardless of permissions.

Can you provide any sources for your claims?

Qualify your outbound links.
Backlinks are still a ranking signal.
SEO Noob Guidelines 101…

Now I have to ask… can you? Any of those links don’t tell what you claimed. You can start googling googlebot+nofollow.

You are now asking if I’m willing to open basics how ranking works. Sorry — for you asking that took around one minute and now I should spend something like 12 hours to explain that to you. That is not… very balanced request.

But if you aren’t willing to search & learn by yourself you can re-read those resources — that one where is words still and signal is good starting point. And yet you have to understand when googlebot follow AND not follow request named nofollow.

The burden of proof is on you buddy. You made the claims and I provided sources literally from Google that contradict your claims.

Googlebot does follow nofollow links, but nofollow is a valid hint that’s still observed by the algorithm.

sponsored and ugc are also valid attributes and have been for about three years at this point.


As anything. But it is still just a hint and by relevance Google makes its own decision, not by nofollow. That’s why no one can’t trust or rely on that.

Different thing, but similar one: sometimes google follows robots.txt, sometimes it doesn’t bother even look at it and defenetly not follow it. Links in gmail is the best known situation.

Right. I think understand what you’re trying to imply, but the misinformation you’re spreading is downright dangerous advice. Let me take the time to explain my claims. There might be a communication break down here and I’m assuming that you are claiming that “nofollow” is altogether meaningless.

Why do you care what Google indexes outside of your domains? If you care about your own pages not being indexed, use the robots meta tag and robots.txt. Do not solely rely on robots.txt as displayed here.

Nofollow is not useless or meaningless. It is a selfish policy that retains pagerank.(Google founder whitepaper) Pagerank being the original ranking factor may not be prominent today, but do not state qualifying links with nofollow are meaningless. That is dangerous, misleading, and lazy with that blanket statement.

I agree that “link juice” is outdated and industry jargon but pagerank still is a key ranking factor. See Ahref’s blog post on pagerank. Again, who cares what Google follows, as long as you have control of endorsement and association.

Again, who cares what Google follows, as long as you have control of endorsement and association. See top of post for noindex.

These are basic concepts, I laid them out for you. You may be a webmaster but digital marketing is my day job. SEO is part of my daily puzzle.

See top of post for noindex.

1 Like

Will I need to “rebake” posts after clicking this option for it to take effect? - Im the admin of the forum with a Trust level 4 and seems external links are dofollow, I’d like to change that.

Edit Just re-read the posts above mine and seems Im not the only one. I’m assuming there is no workaround for Admins?