“Nofollow” Links and “Dofollow” Links - What The **** Are They...?

If you're new to internet marketing or Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) you've probably heard a lot of talk about "no follow" links and "do follow" links...

You may be wondering what the heck they are and why you NEED to know the difference....

Well, I've put together a brief description about what they are and how they work:

Once you've read this, you'll know all there is to know about these two similar looking but very different beasts...

So What Are “Nofollow” and “Dofollow” Links?

Many people are aware that links to your blog or web site from another web page are a very important factor in your search engine positioning.

These links are often called "backlinks" and they can come from many places: social networks (like Twitter), blogs (like this one) and forums to name but a few...

There are two kinds of backlinks: the nofollow and the dofollow.

Many people are confused as to the difference and the value of using BOTH of them.

Before explaining what nofollow and dofollow links are, we need to look at Link Juice.

When looking at the Google algorithm (the highly advanced computer software used by google to calculate what page a site should appear in its Free Search Results), SEO experts mostly agree that a website with a high Page Rank (PR) will pass some of this value to the site or blog it links to.

What this means is that a link on a "high quality" page (google decides what is "quality" and what isn't) will be of value or juice to the page or site that is being linked to, giving that page or site a search engine positioning advantage.

But what does that even mean...?

In plain terms, if a "quality" site links to your site, Google gives you credit for it and pushes you onto or towards Page One of its free results = a VERY good thing :)

So, back to our links...

Nofollow links are those that ARE NOT able to pass on some of their PR ranking to other sites.

Dofollow links ARE able to pass their PR ranking to other sites.

When a search engine bot or spider crawls the internet in order to decide which sites are "quality" and which aren't, and when it finds a nofollow link it will stay on the web page it finds this lnk on.

When it sees a dofollow link it will follow the link to the page of the website it is linking to, hopefully like what it sees and index (or list) the rest of the web page or blog in its search results.

This effectively means that in the great competitive arena that is SEO, a dofollow link is very valuable.

So where do you place your link?

Well a quality authorative site is always far better that a new or improving small site or blog with few posts.

Search engines always give more linkjuice to a higher PR rated web site with information that is changing frequently.

Search engines also like 'related' backlinks = links from a site that has a similar or complimentary subject matter to you own site.

OK, but how do you know if the site you are placing your link on will allow you to have a nofollow link?

Good question :)

There are two ways to find this out.

1) View the page source.

This will bring up the HTML of the web page.

You can do this by going to the top of your browser, then to 'View' and 'Page Source'.

Then do a quick visual or “find” search for the term nofollow.

I like the 'find' option on my browser - it helps you find whatever you want to very quickly.

Use Control +F on your keyboard to activate it (Command +F on a Mac).

Then look for the the term: nofollow

If you can find it, it’s a NoFollow site. That simple.

To be doubly sure, look for the the term: dofollow

If you can find it, it’s a DoFollow site.

Note: if you really understand HTML, you may also want to look for the term nofollow or dofollow attached to each link.

2) There are free apps on the internet that do the same thing.

One example is the Firefox add-on Status Search which will track down the nofollow links for you :)

So why are site owners so reluctant to give out dofollow links?

The trend started with blog owners who wanted to encourage quality comments (as opposed to spam comments created by other site owners with the sole purpose of trying to grab some "quality" links to their website).

Many site owners decided that the dofollow option would encourage people who wanted to comment in order to create a community.

These site owners often "screen" any comments made on their website or blog and either block or delete "spammy" comments that don't contribute any value to their site.

Not so good for the spammers out there, but great for the guys making useful comments = they get a valuable 'dofollow' link to their website which Google will most likely reward them for.

Conclusion: whatever your reason for creating links to your website or blog, if you are looking for back links in order to boost your search engine rankings, you need to concentrate MOST of your efforts on dofollow links as opposed to nofollow links.

If you're commenting on blogs or forums, try to contribute at least a little bit to the article or forum you are commenting on = your comment is more likely to get published and STAY published.

Dofollow links not only get you site visitors but they help Google to love your site and push it closer to Page One = where the money is.

However, don't disregard NoFollow links completely as they are good for your Link Profile.

I'll cover the reason why you need BOTH types of links in my next article...

To Your Success

Mike Auton

Comments (5)add comment

autonmike said:

SEO in general and backlinking in particular can seem very complicated at times but once you've actually put the advice on these pages into action a few times, it gets a LOT easier.

I hope this article helps make things a bit clearer for you :)

Mike Auton
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February 05, 2011
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Julian K. said:

Another great article Mike :), you sure have knowledge on this subject. I felt I had to write a comment although it's a "no-follow" link from you :( but anyway it looks more natural to Google to have both types of links right...

Thanks and keep up the good work!
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February 05, 2011
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autonmike said:

Hi Julian

Thanks for the kind words :)

And yes, you're right, both kinds of links are valuable for your Link Profile.

Wishing you success

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February 05, 2011
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Andre Jansen van Vuuren said:

Hi Mike, being absolutely new, this is powerfull stuff and i am learning from these great articles!!
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April 26, 2011
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coach outlet said:

I just wanted to comment & say keep up the quality work.Thanks a lot for sharing. You have done a brilliant job. Your article is truly relevant to my study at this moment, and I am really happy to read it.
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May 11, 2011
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