Having trouble differentiating between dofollow vs nofollow links? You’re not alone. Every link posted online will have one of these attributes, but knowing when to use each can be challenging.
When someone links to your content online, it’s as if you score an SEO point with search engines. Their inclusion of your link in their content reads as “This is good, useful content. Rank it higher!” to search engines.
Google keeps score when it comes to links. They use algorithms to track the number of inbound links any given site receives and rank it accordingly. The bigger the site that links to you, the bigger the SEO boost your own site receives.
That’s a pretty rock-solid system, right?
Not when you factor in spammers. The dirty deeds of internet spammers and marketers that figured out the search rank rules and decided to play against them have soured the system for all. Their disregard for the rules are what made nofollow links a household name.
Now that you understand the inherent value of a good link for SEO purposes, let’s talk about the uses of dofollow vs nofollow links.
Uses of dofollow vs nofollow links
Dofollow links are the ones that count for search rank. You might hear them referred to as simply “follow links.”They are the hyperlink’s natural state of being. If you link to outside content and do nothing further, you’ve created a dofollow link that will help that website rank better in search. How sweet of you!
Nofollow links, on the other hand, are loners. They’re the one-man wolf pack that says, “Don’t look at me. Don’t follow me. Don’t pay me any attention, okay?” When a hyperlink contains the following HTML tag, it’s considered a nofollow link:
<a href=”http://www.website.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Link Text</a>
Nofollow links don’t count in search rank. They don’t help the website being linked to. The nofollow tag essentially says “Nope – nothing to see here” to search engines. So why would you ever want to use one of these?
Using dofollow vs nofollow links
When should you use a dofollow link versus a nofollow link? There are some general circumstances and scenarios that call for the use of a good nofollow without shame.
Use nofollow links for:
- Paid links
- Website forums
- Blog comments
Nofollow links are best for content that doesn’t promote your business or could promote someone else’s for free. If you’ve been paid to include a link to outside content, that link should be nofollowed. If you allow linking in your blog comments and website forum, make sure to set them all to nofollow so you’re not linking out to unworthy websites.
Use dofollow links for:
- Legitimate content
- Guest posts
- Everything else
Basically, unless there’s a good reason not to, you should use a dofollow link.
What if someone links to me with nofollow tags?
If someone tells you upfront they are linking to you with the nofollow attribute, all is not lost. Your link will still be there, and it will still be shown to everyone who comes across that content. It can still direct traffic to your website, so it’s not without value.
It may not drive boosts for your search rank, but it’s important to focus on your business as a whole, not just on SEO. If people see that you’re consistently linked in reputable publications and websites, regardless of the dofollow status, you build trust with your audience. You familiarize people with your brand. You gain valuable exposure.