How to add rel=”nofollow” to links with preg_replace()

Adding rel=”nofollow” to external link is a good SEO practice.

September 22, 2015

Adding rel="nofollow" to external link is a good SEO practice.

This is the function to add rel="nofollow" to html links. The function allows a $skip parameter that contains a string that must not be found in the url. This allows you to skip your in-site links.
The function allows also to manually support rel="follow" attribute, so if you edit the text and specify that a link is rel="follow" the function will not overwrite your code.

The original function comes from Stackoverflow and can be used in any php.

In the second block of code you can see how to integrate it in your WordPress:

function nofollow($html, $skip = null) {
	return preg_replace_callback(
		"#(<a[^>]+?)>#is", function ($mach) use ($skip) {
			return (
				!($skip && strpos($mach[1], $skip) !== false) &&
				strpos($mach[1], 'rel=') === false
			) ? $mach[1] . ' rel="nofollow">' : $mach[0];

To integrate it with WordPress you can hook to the content_save_pre hook by placing this code in your functions.php file. This trick will automatically add rel=nofollow to external links of your posts and pages when you save:

function seo_href_nofollow( $content ) {
    $qui = parse_url("http://".$_SERVER['HTTP_HOST']);
    return $qui['host']."))".nofollow( $content, $qui['host'] );
add_filter( 'content_save_pre' , 'seo_href_nofollow' , 10, 1);


PHP expert. Wordpress plugin and theme developer. Father, Maker, Arduino and ESP8266 enthusiast.


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