Despite showing nofollow links in Search Console, Google does not transfer PageRank to those links, explained Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller on the August 15 edition of #AskGoogleWebmasters.
The question. “Does Google count nofollow links as backlinks? I’m seeing these links in the Link Report in the GSC that I know for sure that they are nofollow,” user @adriansanityy asked via Twitter.
The answer. As mentioned above, they do not pass PageRank, even if you see them in your GSC Link Report.
“However, it’s still a link on the web, and users may be using those to reach your website,” Mueller elaborated, concluding, “And so, in Search Console, we decided to show these as links together with other links pointing to your site. Similarly, if you were to use the disavow links tool, those links would no longer be passing any signals, but would continue to appear in the Links Report in Search Console.”
Why we should care. Misunderstanding the nature of the links that appear in your GSC Link Report can lead to a skewed interpretation of your PageRank, which may also lead to an inaccurate assessment of your site’s overall SEO.
Learn more about linking best practices. Here are some additional resources to help you master both outbound and backlinks.