What Are No-Follow & Do-Follow Backlinks?

When it comes to linking a website to another website, there are two ways in which this can be done: do-follow and no-follow links. Although they, arguably, achieve the same goal when it comes to SEO, they have the ability to tell the search engine different things. It might be better for someone to use a no-follow link than a do-follow link, and vice-a-versa. So what are they, exactly, and what do they tell the search engines?

What is a no-follow backlink?

Introduced in 2005 by Google, Yahoo and MSN, a no-follow backlink doesn’t give any authority to the website it is backlinking to, this because it doesn’t play any part in the role of SEO. In order to make a no-follow link, a rel=”nofollow” code needs to be added when linking back to a website.

A no-follow link will also contain this attribute in its HTML code and this is because it needs to tell the search engines not to pass any authority onto the destination page, as already discussed. From an SEO perspective, no-follow links hold little-to-no value, but it can help to fight spam as well as give people the power to devalue specific links.

When should I use a no-follow backlink?

It should be used if you do not wish to endorse the website you’re linking to. They can also be used in the comment section of blogs, online newspapers and other sites to ensure the website isn’t flooded with spam, which can often come in the form of user comments. In addition to not endorsing destination sites and mitigating spam, you should also use backlinks for:
  • Sponsored links
  • Affiliate links
  • User-generated content

Are no-follow links bad?

No, no-follow backlinks aren’t bad for SEO or any site that’s being linked from or to. Where you won’t be able to experience the full SEO benefits, no-follow links still have the ability to bring traffic to your website. They’re also advantageous in the sense that it can diversify your backlink portfolio, but only when used in combination with do-follow links, which we’ll touch on shortly.

What is a do-follow backlink?

Do-follow links are beneficial from an SEO point of view, as it indicates that the authority site should be passed on to the destination website. This process is often referred to within the industry as “link juice”. The acquisition of do-follow links improve the domain rating of the domain authority of a website. In turn, this enhances keyword ranking, which is where the SEO benefits of do-follow links are experienced. Unlike no-follow links, there’s no need to add rel=”dofollow” to the HTML code when linking to the destination website.

How can I tell if a link is do-follow?

You can inspect the link within the browser by viewing the HTML code. If you see rel=”nofollow”, then it’s, of course, a no-follow backlink. However, if you do not see this code at all, then you can automatically assume that the link is do-follow. In addition to inspecting the HTML code within the browser, you can also use backlink analysis tools, such as Moz or the more commonly-used Ahrefs.

Andy Morley is a dedicated digital marketing specialist with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry. In addition to website design and generation, Andy can also provide exceptional SEO and PPC services as well as bespoke content creation for your business, setting you apart from your competitors. For more information about how I can help you today, get in touch with me at a time to suit you.

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