I've spent some time in the review queue lately, and I've noticed that quite a few bots/spammers try and sneakily hide links in answers/questions. Presumably they do this to boost the Google score of their website.

However, assuming they succeed (i.e. the community doesn't spot their spam, and it gets to stay), do these links posted to SE actually improve their Google rating?

What if the community deletes the answer/question (say, a few hours after posting)? Does it help the spammer in any way then?

1 Answer 1


No, if you're talking about page rank for their sites.

All links linked in SO answers and questions get rel="nofollow" appended during posting.

This causes the website to gain no discernible page rank advantage from being linked on SO.

Many spammers presumably don't know this, because other big websites often don't do this and for those hiding links actually does increase page rank.

For more information on what nofollow does to links, you can check out the related google help article: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/96569?hl=en

  • 3
    Good to see that you know the SE so well :-)
    – peterh
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 12:55
  • I believe the nofollow is turned off for your posts' links after you've earned enough reputation. 20k+, IIRC? Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 2:00
  • @SevenSidedDie I don't think it's all of your posts, I believe it is the URL on your profile which is un-nofollowed once you reach 2k rep Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 7:05
  • @SevenSidedDie: That's only for your profile, see How can I get "dofollow" link in my Stack Overflow Profile? Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 15:56
  • 1
    For posts, there are mechanisms in place where nofollow is dropped for certain links, but the rules for when that happens in a post are (understandibly) secret. See Remove nofollow on links deemed reputable Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 15:56
  • @MartijnPieters Yes, that's probably what I was thinking of! Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 16:46

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