DoFollow vs No Follow Link – Their Importance in 2021?
What you need to know about Dofollow vs no follow link? Links are how search engine bots understand relationships between websites. They travel from one website to different via do-follow links, passing over nofollow links. But nofollow links can also add meaning to your website. Understanding how other websites link to you is an essential first step in building a healthy backlink profile for your website.
Why should you care? Consider this: More high-quality external links pointing to your website draws in more traffic — not just from the people who click on those links but also via search engines. When we look at the top 100 websites, over 90% have more than 2,000 backlinks. For some of the most utilized websites, backlinks number in the millions.
The Value of a Backlink
Search engines, particularly Google, consider the quality and quantity of inbound links a measure of the value of your website. Google has been using a weighted point system — PageRank — since 2005 to determine how valuable a page is and thus determine where to show it in search results. This system takes into account the cost of links pointing to a page or website. High-value links can give your website a move up the list in search results.
So, what should you do to make sure you’re getting the suitable types of backlinks? How can you be sure you’re using dofollow and nofollow links correctly on your website? It all starts with knowing the difference and how you can make both types of links work in your site’s favor.
What Is a Dofollow Link?
Strictly speaking, a do-follow link isn’t a thing. Dofollow is presently the default state for a link. Said another method, any link without the nofollow attribute is a do-follow link.
When another website links to yours with a standard (aka dofollow) link, it can quickly affect search engine rankings.
How do dofollow links affect site rankings?
Search engine bots crawl the web through dofollow backlinks, registering who is linking to whom. These relationships pass a type of authority that SEO pros call link juice from one website to another.
For instance, let’s say a reputable site with high PageRank links to you. Search engines then see your site as more respectable and may increase your PageRank. This can improve your ranking in the search engine results. (Learn regarding PageRank and more in How Search Engines Work.)
How do you make a link do-follow?
When you build a new link on your website, such as in a recent blog post, it will usually be dofollow by default.
Have you found a nofollow link pointing to your website that you wish were dofollow? You can’t change a nofollow link to dofollow when it’s on someone else’s website. You’re better off understanding what types of links are typically nofollow links before moving out to the site owner to ask if they can follow the link (remove the nofollow tag on the link) to your website.
Keep in mind that there are some instances where no-follow links are common — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
What Is a Nofollow Link?
To the common website user, dofollow and nofollow links look the same. However, nofollow links add a small piece of code, called an attribute, that lets search engine bots know not to follow the link. It looks like this: rel=“nofollow”.
According to Google, nofollow links don’t transfer any PageRank to the website being linked. This means that nofollow links pointing at your website do not immediately affect your site’s position in search engine results pages. This date’s way back to 2005 when well-known Googlers Matt Cutts and Jason Shellen opened the nofollow option to tackle comment spam. Nofollow links check black hat SEO practitioners from profiting off of links planted in the comments sections of high-authority sites.
Links from the following types of content are ordinarily nofollow links:
- Blog comments
- Social media
- Press releases
- Sponsored content
So, if you are looking to improve your website’s authority with link building, don’t invest the bulk of your time in leaving comments on blogs or submitting free press releases, for example.
That said, even though nofollow links will not improve your PageRank directly, don’t be too quick to dismiss them.
Do nofollow links hold any value?
Although nofollow links may not directly increase your website’s PageRank, they can still provide value in several ways.
Nofollow links are essential for a genetic backlink profile
It’s common for a website to have a mix of nofollow and dofollow links leading to it. Google’s Penguin update saw that it was suspicious for a website to have all do-follow links. (Especially if those links all had the exact anchor text!) Consider cultivating a backlink profile that appears natural; you don’t need to contact every site that links to you with a nofollow link demanding a dofollow one.
Nofollow links can make traffic and increase brand exposure
Links from several high-traffic websites are set to nofollow. While they may not contribute to your website’s PageRank instantly, they can be a great source of traffic when people click through to visit your site. (The visitors who come to your site via a link from a different website are called Referrals in Google Analytics.)
Think of news websites and social media channels: If your website is linked in an article, for instance, the reference can be great exposure for your brand. Also, consider the advantage of viral exposure across social media or upvotes of a Reddit answer linking to your resource. A link from Facebook or Reddit will not immediately increase your PageRank, but you could end up with a great source of traffic and brand exposure. Marketer Neil Patel saw almost 10,000 referral visits from Quora in one month, for instance.
How that traffic then engages with your website can have an influence on your rankings, even if you don’t get any “link juice.” Search engines consider more than just a website’s backlink profile when assessing its value. People spending time on your site, hitting through, and sharing pages can all make a difference.
Nofollow links can help grow your dofollow links
The appearance you gain from links on popular sites can bring greater awareness. As more people hear of you, the possibilities you’ll gain dofollow links organically increase.