The concept of Dofollow and Nofollow links was first introduced by renowned Googlers Matt Cutts and Jason Shellen in the year 2005. Cutts, the former head of search quality at Google, came up with the Nofollow option as a way to tackle comment spam on webpages. This blog will give you an overview of how and why links are divided into Dofollow and Nofollow, and what is the impact of these links on search engine optimization.
What are Dofollow links?
In simple terms, Dofollow links are the default state of links and are basically HTML attributes that allow search bots to follow the links to or from your webpage. Whenever a webmaster is linked to your website content through a Dofollow link, search engine bots and online users will find it easy to follow you.
Search engines like Google carefully monitor Dofollow links in order to gauge how many users are linked to your page. The benefit of Dofollow links is that it will give Google an idea about how good your page is. It is easy to see the value of Dofollow links in search engine optimization because the more links you have, the more points you get, and the higher your rank.
What are Nofollow links?
On the face of it, Dofollow and Nofollow links look exactly the same. However, Nofollow links have a small piece of code that tells web crawlers or search engine bots not to follow the link. The code, also called an attribute, looks like this: rel=“nofollow”.
Since, search bots use links to rank a webpage, the Nofollow HTML attribute is generally used to instruct search engines bots that a specific link should not influence the ranking of the webpage in the search engine’s index.
The whole purpose of using Nofollow links is to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, so that the quality of search engine results will improve in the long run.
Difference between Dofollow Links and Nofollow Links
Links are used by search engine bots and online users as a simple way of navigating between pages on the web. Ideally, you would want to create as many backlinks as possible in order to improve your ranking on the search engine results page. However, since there are some links that can have a negative impact on your ranking, you need to prevent Google from following certain links to a page on your own site. That is where Nofollow links come in.
As the name itself suggest, the idea of Nofollow links attributes is that they do not allow search engine bots to follow those links. The main difference between Dofollow and Nofollow links is that humans will be able to follow while but search engine bots will ignore those links when ranking your page.
The Impact of Nofollow Links on SEO
Given the fact that Nofollow link attributes don’t allow search engine bots to follow your links, it may seem like the practice is an obstacle when it comes to SEO. However, you need to keep in mind that the Nofollow tag can be good for SEO because web developers use this tag tell search engine bots not to follow untrusted content.
Implementing Nofollow links in your content will prevent black hat SEO practitioners from profiting off of irrelevant or untrustworthy links planted in your webpage content. In general, links to the following types of content are Nofollow links:
- Comments on blogs or videos
- Social media platforms and website
- Links in forum or other forms of user generated content
- Press releases or official statements
- Sponsored content and widgets
Whenever you are looking to increase your ranking through backlinks, you should avoid the above mentioned content types such as leaving comments on blogs or submitting free press releases.
Another important point to remember is that even though Nofollow links may not contribute to your website’s PageRank, they can be used to bring traffic and increase brand exposure. For example, even though links from many high-traffic websites are set to Nofollow, they will eventually become a great source of traffic when people click on the link to visit your site.
When it comes to the question about whether you should use Dofollow or Nofollow links in your content, you should follow the rule of diversity. A healthy mix of Nofollow and Dofollow links will help to create a backlink profile that appears natural. To give you some perspective about the Nofollow to Dofollow Backlink ratio you need to aim for, an analysis of the top websites by Alexa Rank in the United States found that the most successful websites have a greater number of Dofollow links. Now that you understand the basics of Dofollow and Nofollow links you can go ahead and work with your web developers to create Nofollow links that can also bring valuable traffic and engagement.