Sounds simple but there quite a big difference.
but effectively if you set this up wrong you can end up with “dofollow” links which go to “noindex” and “nofollow” pages and as a result reduce the weighting of other link from the orginal page (as the link is followed from this page) but not getting the benefits as you’ve noindex’s the target page.
As a result you’ll be leaking authority to a page that your telling search engines to ignore and potentially diluting authority unnecessarily to the page you don’t want to rank
Conclusion: Links to page that have a noindex meta tag should be linked to using the rel=”nofollow” tag to reduce any loss of link benefits to pages we do want indexed.
My basic definition and example:
Meta nofollow: don’t look for links from this page / don’t pass any page authority to links on this page
Rel nofollow: don’t follow this URL / don’t pass any authority to this page