Highlight NoFollow Links: Chrome "Plugin"

Posted by on March 12, 2009 at 8:46 am.

paid linksThe combination of Google Chrome’s speed and a fatal Firefox bug has converted me to Chrome full-time.  The biggest loss of such a switch is my treasure chest of great Firefox plugins.

Unfortunately Chrome doesn’t offer plugins yet (actually, they do for select parties found via this Chrome URL hack), but there is a close approximation for many needs: bookmarklets + javascript.  In fact, there’s a site offering various Chrome “Plugins” using this approach: ChromePlugins.org.  That was a really savvy domain/focus — thousands of Chrome plugins seem inevitable long-term and the site is well positioned for that future.
I’ve pulled multiple plugins from that site, but one was missing for exactly my needs.  I wanted a plugin that would highlight nofollow links, not just the text, but the background of the text — for easy viewing across sites with diverse text colors.  ChromePlugins had a plugin that changed text color to red, but sites like ReadWriteWeb (image above of pagerank passing paid links) already color their links red.  Therefore, I tweaked the code to highlight nofollow links with a yellow background (and red text).  The code is below:
javascript:var%20t=document.getElementsByTagName('a');for(i=0;i<t.length;i++){if((t[i].rel.toLowerCase()=='nofollow') | (t[i].rel.toLowerCase()=='external nofollow')){void(t[i].style.color='red');void(t[i].style.background='yellow');}}

To install it, you only need to drag this icon to your Chrome bookmarks bar: Highlight NoFollow
Let me know how it works for you…
UPDATE: I received a great suggestion in the comments, to also highlight ‘external nofollow’ links.  I’ve updated the javascript to do this.  If you grabbed the prior, just delete it and drag the current icon of my face to your bookmark bar.


  • Pete Wright says:

    Doesn’t that visually devalue a no-follow link, such as those required by Google in sponsored blogging campaigns?

  • VC Dan says:

    First, this isn’t a webmaster tool that highlights links ongoing, for all visitors. It’s just a tool for a specific Chrome user who wants to check links on a page they visit.

    I guess the “value” depends upon whether and why a visitor checks. If they don’t check, it probably has zero impact on the visit. If they do check and they support nofollow use, the existence of nofollow links could be a positive. If they do check and they do not support nofollow use, the existence of nofollow links could be a negative.

    What’s the saying “Tools don’t kill people, people kill people”?

  • Anonymous says:

    Does it ignore the paid links in your left sidebar under “experiments?”

  • VC Dan says:

    I’m not sure what you mean by “ignore” — the tool just highlights based upon whether the nofollow exists.

    BTW, none of those pagerank-passing experimental links are paid links. Most are to portfolio companies of mine or personal/family/friend projects.

  • JDevereux says:

    Thanks, nice little hack, but many sites use rel=’external nofollow’ instead of rel=’nofollow’. Would be nice to highlight those too.

  • VC Dan says:

    @JDevereux: great suggestion, done!

  • dimar says:

    nice blog

  • Adam Lewis says:

    Hey Dan, great tool. I created this same tool awhile back, but the problem is there are so many variables people put in the rel attribute a simple "equals" statement doesn't cover it. I recommend using an "indexOf" search to find ALL links that a nofollow'ed. Here is my post on it: http://www.adamwlewis.com/articles/google-chrome-nofollow-tool

  • Anonymous says:

    More themes and plugins can be found at


  • Sean Weigold Ferguson says:

    Personally, I'm a fan of using a line-through on nofollowed links. It just feels more intuitive to me. You can easily modify this plugin to do this by replacing:


  • Nice plugin, thank you for sharing. It makes more easier to spot nofollow links 🙂

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