DO FOLLOW LINKS FOR SEO

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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Links are how search engine bots see relationships between websites. They travel from one website to another via dofollow links, passing over nofollow links. But nofollow links can also add value to your website. Understanding how other websites link to you is an important first step in building a healthy backlink profile for your website.

If your site’s backlink profile falls short compared to the best-performing sites in your competitive set, consider how you can improve your dofollow links vs. nofollow links mix. Has all your promotion consisted of advertising until this point? Are you aggressive with blog comments and not much else? It might be time to change that up. See our 21 powerful ways to build links that will help you diversify and build up a natural and valuable backlink profile.

To check a page manually, view the page source. In the Chrome browser, for example, click the View menu and then mouse over Developer. Next, choose View Source. In the new window that opens, you’ll see the source code for the page you’re on. Search on the page for nofollow. (Type Ctrl F to open a search bar, then enter “nofollow.” If that word is used on the page, it will be highlighted for you. To check all links, you can instead search “a href” and look over the links to see which ones contain that nofollow tag)

The Value of a Backlink.

For example, advertising, sponsored blog posts, text link ads, and other links that result from paid relationships should use the nofollow attribute. That helps make it clear to Google that you’re not trying to game the system with a link scheme.

2) It looks like Houzz.com had the most referral sites, so we’ll look at their backlink profile first. You can see this data in the Competitor Backlink Checker, which you can access via an Alexa Advanced account . If you sort by Alexa Rank, you can see the top sites linking to Houzz. You can click the + sign to see which page is driving the most traffic from the site.

The link to Houzz from amazonaws.com also does not specify nofollow.

1) Using the Site Overview tool , we get an automatically generated list of sites that compete with HGTV. If we scroll down to the Competitive Analysis section of the tool, we see the number of sites referring traffic to each site.

The exposure you gain from links on popular sites can bring greater awareness. As more people hear of you, the chances you’ll gain dofollow links organically increase. Neil Patel’s traffic from Quora that we mentioned above has likely resulted in more fans and followers of his blog, which may, in turn, lead to more links to his content.

The best mix for your site will naturally include a variety of link types. To get an idea of what might be natural for your industry, examine a sample of websites in a similar space or industry. Follow the lead of sites that already rank high.

Example: HGTV.com.

When another website links to yours with a standard (aka dofollow) link, it can directly affect search engine rankings.

There’s no “best” nofollow to dofollow backlink ratio for links pointing to your site. Some folks think 50/50 is a good mix, some say 40/60, and still others target 30/70 nofollow/dofollow links. Looking at top websites by Alexa Rank in the United States, the mix may be closer to 25/75, which signals that the most successful websites have a greater number of dofollow links.

Use a plugin if you’re going to be checking a lot of pages for nofollow links. The NoFollow Chrome Extension will show all nofollow links in red .

When you create a new link on your website, such as in a new blog post, it will usually be dofollow by default.

How to Make a Link Nofollow.

Although nofollow links may not directly increase your website’s PageRank, they can still contribute value in several ways.

Search engines, especially 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 value of links pointing to a page or website. High-value links can make your site move up the list in search results.

Keep in mind that there are some instances where nofollow links are common — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

That said, even though nofollow links will not increase your PageRank directly, don’t be too quick to dismiss them.

Alexa site-comparison tools can show you competitor link data. Learn more about checking backlinks with Alexa .

You can also view the distribution of followed and nofollowed backlinks and filter the table by this value:

Sometimes, websites don’t want to endorse linked sources, and the nofollow attribute value tells search engines that a referred web page isn’t necessarily what you intend to give credit to. Now, it works as a hint and not a directive and is also different from some new values designed for sponsored and user-generated content. But let’s get to the details step by step.

If the score is low or unknown, there’s no anchor text, and the server response code is different from 200, then you probably should remove those links. It’s true to both followed and nofollowed backlinks. To remove potentially harmful backlinks, you’ll have to contact referring websites or collect a full list and submit it with Google or other search engines you’re targeting.

Are nofollow links helpful for SEO?

The first example is a followed, regular link, and the second example is a nofollowed link. As you can see, there’s no such thing as rel=”dofollow” in the code because it’s the default behavior that goes without specifying.

Some of my clients appreciate no-follow links, which is great as it opens up more options for amazing link prospects. Personally, I would not turn down a contextual link from a relevant, strong page that’s targeting your audience . It’s just common sense. Even if Google values it less to rank, it has a big chance of bringing you high-quality referral traffic. Which is why we’re doing SEO in the first place, to get the right eyeballs on your products or services, right? My perspective is that a mix of various types of links looks natural and won’t show up as a suspicious pattern in the long-term. Spread the gain, spread the risk!

What might be called a dofollow link, or followed link, is, in fact, just a regular link. It’s being called so in the context of the nofollow value only, to emphasize that the link is not subject to any specific SEO instructions and should live up to regular expectations, i.e. pass link juice and authority to the referred sources.

All the aforementioned matters when the link is followed and doesn’t give any additional instructions to search engines. But what happens when a link contains nofollow or other attribute values?

If you feel that you have to nofollow a link, then you have to ask why you put it there in the first place. If it’s a useful link, then don’t add a nofollow, and if it’s not useful, then why add it at all?

Websites aim to get as many followed backlinks as possible, and it totally makes sense. But it’s also worth it to receive nofollow links as they can increase your traffic, brand awareness, rankings, and further link building opportunities.

We reached out to Alex Wright, Head of Search at Clicky Media, to share some thoughts on a combination of dofollow and nofollow in your backlink profile.

What is a nofollow link?

Make sure that all the internal links eligible for ranking are followed. In SE Ranking’s Website Audit , you can access and download a full list of your URLs filtered by dofollow/nofollow values or other parameters. Go to the Found Links section and review if any of the important links aren’t marked with nofollow .

I don’t think there is a perfect ratio of nofollow/follow backlinks. Ultimately, your link profile should look natural , and having a good mix of both is a big part of that. I know that a lot of people pay really close attention to the ratios (and do so on a SERP by SERP basis), this can be useful and give you an idea of what might look natural in the context of the SERPs, but honestly I’d just focus on building quality, relevant links and you’ll probably find that your profile is natural as a result.

Nofollowed internal links can damage your site’s search visibility, especially if these are the links to important pages and you want them to rank in the SERPs.

The nofollow value serves for those situations when you don’t want to associate your site with the linked sources and validate their authority. However, when you refer to a web page in your content, it means that you found it interesting and potentially helpful for your visitors, so there are no reasons not to endorse that source. We elaborate on this a bit more in our post on external linking.

So, what does it mean to nofollow a link and when should you do so? In this post, we’ll explain the SEO value followed and nofollowed links bring, what other link attribute values are out there, and how to build a safe backlink profile with regard to link tag specifications.

The best ratio of dofollow and nofollow backlinks.

Other plugins with similar functionality include External Links, All in One SEO, Ultimate Nofollow, Rank Math SEO.

It’s been observed that the top Alexa Rank websites have a mix close to 25% of nofollow and 75% of dofollow backlinks, so followed ones should definitely dominate your backlink profile. However, there’s no universal answer to the best nofollow/dofollow ratio, just make sure that you earn diverse links from different domains, all authoritative and relevant to your web pages.

Nofollow was introduced in 2005 by Google as a response to the surge of comment spam: website owners would leave links to their own sites in the comment sections on external websites or forums and get higher rankings regardless of the relevance of the comment and the overall quality of their pages. Bing and Yahoo also supported the idea and started treating the values of the rel attribute similarly.

With the NoFollow extension in Chrome (it’s also available for Firefox), nofollowed links are highlighted in red, while others aren’t marked in any way. Here’s how it looks like:

When we talk about link value for rankings, we usually mean backlinks, the links you get for your website from external sources. Search engines have lots of ranking factors (we know that Google has more than 200), and high-quality backlinks are in the top-2 major factors together with content. A Backlinko 2020 study revealed that pages ranking first in Google had 3.8 times more backlinks than pages ranking in the top 2-9.

In a multifaceted universe of links, there are several technical nuances that are invisible to the user but make a huge difference in how the link is perceived by search engines. Those nuances are link attribute values placed in the page code inside the link tag <a>. By default, links are followed by search crawlers and pass the link juice to the pages they refer to, but when the nofollow attribute value is specified, this default behavior doesn’t apply.

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