Nofollow vs Dofollow Links: What Do They Mean?

4 mins read -
March 11, 2023

There are different types of links that you can build from your content. Popular ones include dofollow links and nofollow links. However, what exactly do these terms mean? And why do you need to know about them?

Key Takeaways

Unlike Nofollow links, Dofollow links pass PageRank signals. In other words, dofollow links directly benefit SEO since they share link juice, while nofollow links benefit SEO indirectly.

The main difference between the two lies in how each link is evaluated by Google. Google search crawlers use the rel="nofollow" tag to determine whether the link impacts PageRank scores.

What Is a Dofollow Link?

A dofollow link is a hyperlink that passes authority from one website to another. This type of link allows search engine crawlers to follow it and understand the relevance of the linked content on both websites.

Dofollow links point back to you every time you place them on your website, allowing search engines to see which other websites, blogs and posts link back to you. A "backlink" from a reputable site can significantly impact PageRank values and make brands more visible.

So when adding external links to your blog, ensure they are from trusted sites since this will increase the authority of your blog.

Benefits of dofollow links

  • Increase your website's traffic
  • Increase the number of comments on your blog
  • Boost your site's search engine ranking
  • Enhance your page preview
  • Engage with other sites and build relationships

Dofollow links are essential for SEO success. They can help establish credibility by connecting with other authoritative websites, which adds value to your own site. Additionally, they pass along “link juice”, which helps boost the rankings of your website on SERPs.

How to create a dofollow link

All links are dofollow by default unless they're changed from dofollow to nofollow manually or automatically. Dofollow values are simply descriptors since HTML doesn't offer a dofollow attribute.

A dofollow link in HTML looks like this: example

When another site links to your site without adding the nofollow tag, Google and other search engines will naturally find your site and increase your PageRank. Having dofollow links on your site that come from reputable sites is ideal.

When adding links to your own website, the same applies. In your own content, you can include links to reputable websites for search engines to index.

How to build dofollow links

Guest post: As soon as you have found your niche, approach websites with similar products and content. The link to your website can then be included in the author bio or the post's conclusion.

Email outreach: You can also get dofollow links by creating excellent content and promoting it via email. Using this approach works best if your content is unique, interesting or valuable to the people you're contacting.

Make business mentions into links: Check Google Alerts to find online mentions of your business. You’re likely to get a link from most people—you just have to ask.

When to use dofollow

Use dofollow links when the website:

  • Is reliable and trustworthy
  • Is relevant to your readers
  • Accurately conveys information
  • Is relevant to the content you provide or the niche you serve

What Is a Nofollow Link?

A nofollow link is a hyperlink with the rel="nofollow" attribute. Search engines ignore links with the nofollow tag. These links transfer neither PageRank nor anchor text, so the destination URL's search engine rankings are unaffected. Nofollow links aren't even crawled by Google.

Nofollow tags were introduced by Google in 2005 as a means of combating spam comments. Other search engines, such as Yahoo and Bing, eventually adopted the tag.

Purpose of nofollow links

Indeed, nofollow links do not directly improve your website's SEO. However, this link plays a vital role in maintaining your website's search engine ranking stability. Nofollow links:

Increase your website's traffic

Quality traffic can be driven to your page by nofollow links since they can be clicked and interacted with like any other link. Increased rankings, more traffic and higher conversion rates can be achieved with more traffic on your page.

Build brand awareness

There is still traffic to your site coming from nofollow links, as previously mentioned. Upon visiting your website, this traffic learns about your business and products. You need brand awareness to grow your company online, and nofollow links can assist you.

Serve as the safest tags

A nofollow link is the safest tag for your website. Your website won't be negatively affected by nofollow links. Because of this, Google won't penalise yours for backlinks.

How to create a nofollow link

Adding rel="nofollow" to the anchor tag in HTML creates a nofollow link. A nofollow link attribute appears between the destination URL and the linked text.

For example:

linked text .

You can then add the link to the source code of your website using your CMS.

When to use nofollow links

Here are a few examples of when and how to use nofollow links:

Comments containing links

Link posting in comments is likely to result in abuse. Anyone can create links to wherever, and you will pass on PageRank and link juice to them. This is basically your endorsement of the website, and that's not what you want. By using nofollow links, you can also facilitate discussion since meaningless comments won’t interfere with real people's comments.

Paid links

You should assign a rel="nofollow" attribute to all links on your website that are primarily intended for profit. In this way, any site can be discouraged from paying for links on other sites to improve its search rankings.

Your niche is irrelevant to the whole page

Imagine that you own an auto repair shop. Suppose you post a blog about cooking or promote a contest for short stories on your site. For that topic, you link to lots of interesting resources. Because it differs so much from your regular content, Google might assume it was added without your knowledge. This would be considered Black Hat link building and penalised by the search engine. You can use a nofollow meta tag in such cases.

Read another one of our blogs, Understanding Backlinks to learn more about different linking opportunities.

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