What Is a Do Follow Link?
Linking to high-quality sites and getting backlinks to your website is a crucial element of SEO. Not all links are treated equally, however. There’s an important distinction to understand between no follow and do follow links. Whether a link is treated as dofollow or nofollow determines how search engines treat the links and their value for SEO purposes. Here’s what you should know about dofollow links and their benefits.
The Value of Inbound Links
When your website receives a backlink from another website, your page receives a tiny SEO boost. Backlinks work like points and the more points your site receives from backlinks and other sources, the higher it ranks.
Backlinks are used by Google to determine how popular and relevant your webpage is and how well it’s trusted. Google even has a metric called PageRank that calculates link “points” or “link juice.” These points flow from one page to another through links. When you receive a backlink from an established, reputable website, it passes a larger boost of link juice than new or lesser known websites.
No Follow vs Do Follow Link: What's the Difference?
It’s easier to understand the difference between dofollow and nofollow once you understand the value of backlinks. Nofollow links have an attribute that changes the properties of the link by essentially telling search engines not to follow the link. With a nofollow attribute, the link won’t pass on any link juice to boost your webpage’s PageRank or improve your search engine rankings.
You can think of a nofollow attribute as a sign telling Google to ignore the link.
Nofollow links were created by Google in 2005 to address blog comment spam by giving webmasters a tool to avoid giving credit to links. Google also requires that any paid link have a nofollow attribute. Today, inbound links from the following sources tend to be nofollow:
Social media links
Links in forum posts and blog comments
Links in many news sites
Links in press releases
Popular websites like Reddit, Wikipedia, and YouTube
Paid or affiliate links
A do follow link does the opposite by telling Google to pass on link juice to the linked page. Dofollow links offer an important SEO benefit to increase your website’s PageRank and support higher search engine rankings. When your webpage receives a dofollow link, Google essentially considers it a vote for the quality of your page.
While building an SEO strategy for your website, one of the goals is getting as many relevant dofollow links as possible. Of course, the process isn’t as easy as it sounds. Not all dofollow links will benefit your website. Dofollow links from low-quality or spammy sites can actually damage your SEO efforts by associating your website with bad content.
Aim for a Healthy Blend of Nofollow and Dofollow
Nofollow links may not offer direct SEO benefit but they are still important. Nofollow links can still generate traffic to your site, especially well-placed nofollow links that will be seen by your target audience. Quality nofollow links from a referral page with valuable content can even be more valuable than dofollow links that aren’t reaching the right audience. There is even some evidence that nofollow links do offer some SEO benefit, despite Google’s claim that they are ignored.
The goal of an SEO campaign is always increasing traffic to your website to boost your conversion rate. To reach this goal, it’s a good idea to aim for a mix of dofollow and nofollow links. This creates a natural backlink profile and helps you find valuable backlink sources based on demographics, audience size, and reputation — not just whether the link will pass on SEO benefit.
How to Tell If a Link is Do Follow or No Follow
It’s very easy to tell if a link is nofollow or dofollow by checking the page’s source code. Using Firefox, right click on the page and choose “View Page Source” then look for the specific lin. Using Chrome, right click on the link and select “Inspect Element.” If the link HTML includes the rel=”nofollow” attribute, it will not pass on link juice.