Kristina Green
Aug 12, 2016 | 6 min read

As soon as you start a new blog, you want to gain top ranking positions in SERP. However, you have to remember that does not happen overnight. You should build a certain amount of quality links before you’ll start seeing first results of your activities. 

It is a well-known fact that not all links are equal. There is much difference between getting an Abel Prize and just getting a bonus at work. Don’t you think so? I mean that some backlinks can give more value in Google search.

As you’ve already known, all links are divided into Dofollow and Nofollow. I will cover the basic things about each one and whether they are really worthy for SEO activities.

SEO value of Dofollow links

Dofollow links are an HTML attribute that is used to allow search bots to follow the links. If a webmaster is link to your site with dofollow link, search engine bots and people can follow you. They pass on link juice and really benefit your website to get a high Page Rank.

Google takes notes of Dofollow links and figures how many users are linking to your page in order to get how really good the page is. The more Dofollow links you have, the more points you will get. The best way to give the follow link is to use the keyword as the anchor text. Here is an example:

<a href=“https://seranking.com/”>SE Ranking</a>

It is important not only to get Dofollow link from anywhere, but to gain a follow link from a reputable website. If you can post a link on New Your Times or CNN, you will cut a melon!

Dofollow links are links that can help you to increase Page Rank, gain more SEO points and boost link juice what makes your site highly ranked in SERP. Dofollow links are real votes of credibility by Google.

Nofollow links without SEO value

Nofollow links don’t allow search engine bots to follow your links. These links don’t pass on link juice. Only people can follow these links. They don’t help you to boost Page Rank, website rankings and have no SEO value. It is a notice for search engine not to count a link.

As we know Nofollow links don’t pass any link juice but it can help to get traffic on your website. I guess you’ve noticed many times the Nofollow rel tag. If you use the Nofollow link HTML tag, you won’t do any harm for your website. Search engines even respect this tag. Here is the example of this tag:

<a rel=”nofollow  href=”https://seranking.com/”>SE Ranking</a>

The Nofollow tag can be good for SEO – most webmasters use this tag not to follow untrusted content. These links belong in paid links, forums, blog comments and some untrusted content.

Google have recently noticed that they will count Nofollow links to boost PR for your page. But it depends on where the link is placed and the quality of it. If you place it at the begging of your text, it will give more impact than if you post it at the bottom of the page.

The Benefits of Nofollow links for SEO

You should follow the principle of diversity. I mean it is important to use Nofollow links for your inbound link profile. It will look suspicious if all inbound links are Dofollow and it is not natural. Don’t you think so? Therefore, you need to balance your links and use both Dofollow and Nofollow links. A healthy mix of Nofollow links can even give a good influence on Dofollow links.

I guess with any link you can get much traffic. Good and quality link is a gateway in your website that shows your content and can give a good amount of traffic. If you have Nofollow links on Wikipedia or Google blog it doesn’t mean the link is not valuable, vice versa, sites with a lot of traffic can give many benefits.

That sort of traffic will allow you to deal with conversions, leads and even get a Dofollow link. Getting links on social media is what you should lead to creative awareness about your content. It is really good to get links on authoritative websites and social media, forums and blogs that can attract good traffic to your websites.

The moral of the story: Don’t think what links will be valuable for SEO, think about links that can be worthy for your business, product, brand or service. Think about links that can increase your brand authority. Try to build website trust!

How to check whether a link is Nofollow or Dofollow

There are a few ways how to check the type of links: Dofollow or Nofollow.

  1.   Right-click on a page and click “view source. You will see a screenshot. In the source code, you need to press Ctrl+F and search for your site name and comments in the screenshot. Now you can check the type of a link.
  2.   There are many useful extensions you can download for Firefox or Chrome automatically that will define whether a link is Dofollow or Nofollow.

Seranking nofollow

For Firefox you can use:

  1. SEO Quake
  2. Nodofollow

For Chome browser you can try out:

  1. NofollowSimple

For Worpress blog, you can use the Robots meta plugin to define noindex, nofollow and noarchive tags on a post. If you want to remove all Nofollow links from comments, you can try Dofollow plugin.

Google’s 2019 updates on nofollow links

Prior to the September 2019 update, Google treated the “nofollow” attribute as an instruction to ignore the link. From now on, Google takes it as a hint for rankings and later on — starting in March 2020 — it will use it as a hint for crawling and indexing as well. 

What does “using it as a hint for rankings” mean? Previously, the “nofollow” attribute was a command, and now it’s rather a recommendation. This means that if Google deems it necessary – it will give such links credit, recognize them as spam or use them for various ranking purposes. 

Long story short: 

  • Google didn’t use nofollow links for rankings or indexing.
  • As of September 10, it uses them as “hints” for rankings. 
  • Starting on March 2, 2020, Google will be using them as “hints” for crawling and indexing. 

Moreover, Google initiated two new link attributes to point out the specific role of a link: rel=”sponsored” and rel=”ugc”. 

Up until now, the “nofollow” attribute was the only way to mark a link that shouldn’t be taken into account by Google. Now, Google suggested more specific options. The “sponsored” attribute should mark all paid and sponsored links. And “ugc” should be applied to links in user-generated content, i.e. comments, forum posts, etc. 

Does it mean we should rush to replace the nofollow attribute with the new ones? No, it’s okay to leave your paid or user-generated links with “nofollow” attributes. 

Can the new attributes be used in combination with “nofollow”? Yes. You can use them together if needed: rel=”nofollow sponsored”, rel=”nofollow ugc”. 

Main takeaway: Don’t worry, there’s no need for any radical changes, just keep the updates in mind in the future. Everything’s fine, guys! 

Conclusion

It is a well-know fact that everyone wants to get Dofollow links. The best way is to create epic and original content that will attract traffic and makes it shared and linked in a natural way.

When you focus on creating an awesome link profile, try to get a healthy balance of Dofollow and Nofollow links. Both links can deserve a good place in SEO.

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68 comments
  1. Hello and thanks for the information shared.

    My question is regarding the negative impact of “no follow links”. We are currently having 99% no follow links that are most likely spammy post and would like to improve our backlinking. Before doing this however, I would like to know whether or not no follow spam links might affect our rankings and how they can do that? In such a case, do you recommend to disavow no follow links or only do follow links with low quality?

    1. Google says that IN GENERAL they do not follow the nofollow links. That means, that still there is a chance that some links may be crawled and possibly counted https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/96569? hl = en. Also, pay attention to your entire link profile. If your site has a majority of nofollow links (means that these links do not define your site as a reliable source), it’s highly unlikely you will get a boost from such a backlink profile. In addition, 99% of nofollow links may indicate an unnatural profile – usually, this percentage is much lower for other sites. Note that the disavow document can play a role for manual actions, so I would recommend still adding nofollow links there. It is better to use all available methods to prevent the sanctions for a bad link profile.

      And remember that disavow tool should be an extreme measure when dealing with link spam. Google first recommends removing the maximum number of low-quality links from such sites manually. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2648487?hl=en
      It’s also important to get rid of such links if they harm your brand.

  2. The problem with testing it is that you need nofollows from great sites – Wikipedia is just one example – and you can’t really get those without earning follow links as well. Still, my guess is that a link from a Wikipedia article will boost rankings.

  3. I’m reading through your article about follow and nofollow links because I’m starting to notice that Google doesn’t seem to work the way everybody interprets the loss of “link juice” on follow links.

    While I agree that nofollow links might not be followed by bots, I don’t agree that follow links make you loose ranking by loosing link juice. At least not anymore.

    I’m aware that this goes against everything we learned about dofollow links. But that dofollow links make your site loose “link juice” and hurt your ranking has become an urban myth.

    I strongly believe that Google gives more empathy to follow links, because Google doesn’t want “dead end” posts and pages, than it gives on follow or nofollow links.

    A clear indicator that this is true, is medium.com. If you’re publishing on Medium, you will find every link accounted for in your Google search console. They are all follow links. Does that hurt Medium? Not at all! all the opposite. medium posts are top ranked for a billion keywords.

    The logic behind this pretty clear. If you add 5 external links to your post or page and make them all nofollow to preserve that “precious” link juice, you’re creating dead end pages. Whereas if you make follow links to related content, you’re actually getting rewarded with better ranking and more page impressions.

    The only place I recommend to use nofollow, are cloaked/redirected affiliate links, because these are anyway a bit of ‘gray hat’ links, so I’d rather not have bots to follow those links.

    1. Completely agree with you on this. You have explained whatever I wanted to comment.
      I do believe that following related websites and good content will never harm your ranking.

      Great article by the author too.
      Thanks.

  4. Superb post, we enjoyed each and everything as per written in your post. Thank you for this article because it’s really informative, I Really like this dofollow site.

  5. Thanks for the content. I recently have checked our website’s backlinks and noticed a lot of them are NoFollow. Does that affect our SEO in negative way?

    1. Hi, Kevin! As we’ve already mentioned above, if your site has a majority of nofollow links (means that these links do not define your site as a reliable source), it’s highly unlikely you will get a SEO boost from such a backlink profile. In addition, 99% of nofollow links may indicate an unnatural profile – usually, this percentage is much lower for other sites. But my advice will be to think what links can be worthy for your business, product, brand or service – not to think about links that bring SEO value. First try to get links that can increase your brand authority. Try to build website trust!

    1. Hi, Mark! We are going to update information in this article ASAP, and it will definitely cover Google’s announcement about no-follow links. Please stay update! Thank you for question 🙂

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