Nofollow vs. Dofollow links: All you need to know

by | Jul 7, 2019 | SEO | 53 comments

This post might contain affiliate links meaning I get a commission if you choose to purchase through those links (without any extra cost to you). Thanks for supporting us. Read my full disclosure here >>

  • 825
    Shares

If you’re new to this blogging world then I’m sure you must have felt overwhelmed by hearing words like nofollow or dofollow links.

Don’t worry, I’m right here to tell you everything you need to know about these links.

Link building is an important part of SEO or search engine optimization. How a website treats it’s outbound (or outgoing) links also plays a crucial role in how a search engine will treat those links.

Also read: 10 types of links that actually matter for SEO

Knowing where and where not to use nofollow links is really important if you’re serious about your website’s performance in search engines.

Let me get more into detail to help you understand them better…

What are Nofollow and Dofollow links?

> Nofollow links

These links are the the hyperlinks which contain rel=”nofollow” tag within them.

Nofollow tag instructs the search engine bots not to crawl the linked page or site and thus the link juice is not passed.

For example –

<a href=”https://domainname.com” rel=”nofollow” >link text</a>

What is link juice?
Link juice is the term used in the SEO world to refer to the value or equity passed from one page or site to another and it determines how powerful a link is. This value is passed through hyperlinks. Search engines use this value to determine if your page is valuable and worth promoting or not.

> Dofollow or follow links

On the other hand, dofollow links are just the regular links with rel=”nofollow” tag,

These instruct the search engine bots to crawl the linked page and thus the link juice is passed which boosts the page rank of the linked-to sites.

For example –

<a href=”https://domainname.com”>link text</a>

Just some BORING history of nofollow links

If you think that nofollow links are something new, then let me tell you that they have been around for 14+ years now.

Nofollow tag was originally introduced by Google’s Matt Cutts and Jason Shellen of Blogger in 2005 to combat spam.

Here’s what Google said on their blog

If you’re a blogger (or a blog reader), you’re painfully familiar with people who try to raise their own websites’ search engine rankings by submitting linked blog comments like “Visit my discount pharmaceuticals site.” This is called comment spam, we don’t like it either, and we’ve been testing a new tag that blocks it. From now on, when Google sees the attribute (rel=”nofollow”) on hyperlinks, those links won’t get any credit when we rank websites in our search results. This isn’t a negative vote for the site where the comment was posted; it’s just a way to make sure that spammers get no benefit from abusing public areas like blog comments, trackbacks, and referrer lists.

However, the interpretation of nofollow varies between different search engines. You can see the table here to know the difference. 

I’m damn sure that you’re fully aware of such spam comments as well. I get tons of such comments as well.

Quick tip – You can use a plugin called Antispam bee that protects your blog from such spam comments. (I use it too! So, don’t you dare to leave such comments here XX)

Importance of Nofollow

The nofollow link tag is really important for the online world – as I told you that most spammers don’t hesitate in posting irrelevant links to blogs or forum posts.

Nowadays, WordPress automatically assigns the nofollow link tag to all user-submitted links, and Wikipedia does the same for its reference section.

While blog comment spam still happens with almost every blogger, nofollow has still reduced it alot.

Does it help with SEO?

In simple terms, No! It doesn’t.

Why? Because when the nofollow tag was introduced, the total Pagerank was divided and passed equally through all the followed links.

Now, People started misusing this as well and started taking advantage of this to manipulate rankings by sculpting the flow of PageRank around their sites.

They nofollowed all the links to their unimportant pages to allow for the maximum transference of PageRank/link juice to their important or “money-making” pages and forced them to rank higher in SERPs (Search engine result pages).

To combat this, Google announced some changes in its Page ranking practices. Here’s how they explained it:

So what happens when you have a page with “ten PageRank points” and ten outgoing links, and five of those links are nofollowed? […] Originally, the five links without nofollow would have flowed two points of PageRank each […] More than a year ago, Google changed how the PageRank flows so that the five links without nofollow would flow one point of PageRank each.

So, basically, they don’t really help with SEO. But that doesn’t mean they are totally useless.

Also read: 17 SEO myths that you should stop believing

How are they important then?

Just because they don’t provide SEO link value doesn’t mean nofollow links are totally worthless. Nofollow links are very valuable.

  • They help in diversifying your link profile – This means that if your website has only followed backlinks, It can make Google think that you’re using some black hat SEO techniques or buying backlinks.
    This way getting some nofollwed backlinks to your site is a good way of telling Google that “hey! I’m legit. Don’t worry”.
  • They bring Referral traffic – Nofollow links might not help with SEO but they can definitely bring a lot of referral traffic to your site.
  • Protects from Google penalties – If you’re giving (or asking for) backlinks for sponsored posts means you’re technically buying/selling backlinks.
    Google states that this is against their Webmaster guidelines.
    So, to protect yourself from any penalties you should always use nofollow tag in sponsored post links.

Where should you use Nofollow links?

Now, You must be wondering which links should be nofollowed and whcih links should should be allowed to be followed.

Nofollow links should be used in –

  • Comments
  • Paid + Affiliate links
  • Any type of ‘Unrelated’ or ‘untrusted’ content
  • Not so important pages of your site
  • Text link ads

Make sure that any type of link as mentioned above should be nofollowed on your website.

Nofollow vs. Dofollow links

This infographic below explains everything you need to know about these links.

nofollow vs. doffolow links

I hope everything must be clear about them now. But if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments.

Should you add rel=”nofollow” manually or use a plugin?

Although, using a plugin might seem like an easy and time-saving way, I don’t recommend it.

The reason for that is – once the plugin gets deleted or stops functioning, it can cause you a lot of trouble and you’ll have to locate all the links and add the nofollow tag yourself.

For example, there was a plugin called ultimate no-follow which I was using and recently it got deleted from the WordPress plugins directory.

It didn’t cause me that much of trouble as I was using Pretty links to shorten my affiliate links which automatically nofollows all the links.

I’d still recommend you to add the nofollow tag manually. It won’t take more than a minute.

How to add nofollow tag

If you’re using HTML then you can simply add rel=”nofollow” just after the referring link. (As shown below)

<a href=”https://domainname.com” rel=”nofollow” >link text</a>

If you’re using WordPress, you can follow the steps below to add the nofollow tag to your links.

Step 1: Simply insert the link to the text and click on the three dots right beside the Yoast plugin icon.

how to add nofollow tag

Step 2: Select code editor‘ from the list of items.

nofollow vs dofollow links - how to add nofollow tag

Step 3: Just add rel=”nofollow” after the referring link as shown below.

adding noffolow tag - nofollow vs dofollow links

After that, you can simply exit the code editor and your link is nofollowed now.

Final words

Nofollow links play a vital role in SEO, not directly but they are still very important.

Dofollow links may do more for your site’s SEO, but both deserve to be equally treated in your link building strategy.

Don’t have a blog yet? Start your own blog with this step by step guide.

Started your blog but don’t know what should you do next? Here are 8 important things that you need to do after starting your blog.

Loved this article? I share a lot like these (which are not posted here) with my inner circle. You can join for FREE from below –

Make sure to pin this post to one of your awesome Pinterest boards. It won’t take more than a few seconds. 😉

nofollow vs. dofollow links: all you need to know

  • 825
    Shares
  • 825
    Shares

You might also like:

12 Modern SEO tips to explode your search traffic in 2019

12 Modern SEO tips to explode your search traffic in 2019

The Internet is literally filled with SEO tips to increase your search engine traffic. It’s a brave new Internet world, and search engine optimization changes almost daily. In order to stay on top of the search rankings, you have to be prepared to adapt to the...

10 Types of Links that Actually matter for SEO

10 Types of Links that Actually matter for SEO

We all know how complicated it can get when it comes to SEO and getting search engine traffic. There's just so much to learn. And most importantly, it gets even scarier when things and trends keep changing over time. Over the years, Google has made a lot of changes in...

15 Stupid SEO Mistakes you don’t know you’re making

15 Stupid SEO Mistakes you don’t know you’re making

Is the fear of making mistakes stop you from leveling up your SEO game? Trust me, you're not the only one! The fear of making mistakes to try something new is what stops us from achieving great things in life. It's the same when it comes to search engine optimization....

Hey there! My name is Rahul Choudhary and I am OBSESSED with helping online entrepreneurs and bloggers in making their passions profitable and popular! I like to think of myself as your online buddy cum mentor. I enjoy solitude but I also like to work with like-minded people like you.

53 Comments

  1. Tracy Albiero

    I have been blogging for a year now and it is still good to learn things to help with my blog. This is good to know.

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      Learning is an important part of growing. I’m glad it could help.

      Reply
  2. Ngozi

    I love this tips it give me more insight on how to work on my blog..thank you so much

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      I’m glad you found this useful!

      Reply
  3. Aga

    This is super helpful, thank you so much! I am currently improving (or trying to) my blog and this is really informative. I’m sure I can learn some things from your website 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    xxxx Aga

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      You are most welcome! I’m really glad you found this helpful.

      Reply
    • Ej

      I have always wondered what nofollow and dofollow links were. Thank you for the informative post!

      Reply
      • Rahul Choudhary

        You are most welcome!

        Reply
  4. Malinda

    Thank you for explaining this so clearly. I also loved the brief history lesson!

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      Haha! I’m glad you found this helpful.

      Reply
      • Rebecca @ Boss Single Mama

        Very helpful guide to nofollow and dofollow links! It’s so important as a blogger to know the difference. I use Pretty Links for affiliates, which makes it much easier than having to type the nofollow code in manually.

        Reply
        • Rahul Choudhary

          Although pretty links is helpful but you can’t use it for all products of amazon affiliates. You’ll have to add the code manually to them.

          Reply
  5. Rachael

    I must admit, this is something that I had heard of but had not understood or known why you might want to use it. Thank you so much for the clarification!

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      You are most welcome. I’m glad this helped!

      Reply
  6. Meghan

    Thanks for making this so clear. Seo isn’t that hard really and we need people like you to make it so!

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      Thankyou so much for this kind comment! And true, SEO is not that hard. It’s just about knowing stuff & adapting to the changes.

      Reply
  7. Poorna Banerjee

    Hello,

    thanks for this post. I found it really helpful.

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      You’re most welcome!

      Reply
  8. vivirewellness.com

    Very informative post. I wasn’t aware of the difference, will relay the information to our marketing team.

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      I’m glad this could help!

      Reply
  9. Oscar

    Thank you for sharing your insights and wisdom on this blog. Its a big help

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      My pleasure!

      Reply
  10. Marjie Mare

    Truthfully, I did not know about the “no follow” vs “do follow. Thanks for making me learn something new today.

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      I’m glad that I could be a part of your learning process!

      Reply
  11. Nursery rhymes girl

    Hi Rahul,
    Thank you for sharing this informative post. This truly helps me.

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      you are most welcome!

      Reply
  12. Streamed TV Fan

    I have only started blogging so didn’t even know about these. It’s good to know how no-follow and do-follow work. The list of advantages and disadvantages is pretty helpful too.

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      There’s a lot for you to learn. I’m glad that I could be a part of that journey.

      Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      Thankyou very much.

      Reply
  13. A Nikole

    I’m pretty new with blogging, so this is a topic I needed information about. Thanks especially for the part about how to make my links no follow.

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      You’re most welcome. If you face any problem, feel free to reach out.

      Reply
  14. Magen

    Great information. I saved pinned this so I can go back and look into it further! Thanks

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      Thankyou very much! I hope it’ll help in some ways.

      Reply
  15. Hackytips

    This is a great guide! Even after a year of blogging, I didn’t know the meaning of these terms. Now I know what exactly they are but it is difficult to get them 🙁

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      New terms can be confusing sometimes. You should note them down somewhere as there’s gonna be a lot more to learn.

      Reply
  16. Jenn ~ onehoppymomma

    I knew about these but not all the fine details about the difference and how they affect your rank.

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      I really hope that it’s clear for you now. Feel feel to ask if you have any questions.

      Reply
  17. D'ondra M Howard

    I haven’t heard of nofollow dofollow. Didn’t even know there were links that went along with it. Guess I have some research to do.

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      You surely do. These are really important as I mentioned in the post.

      Reply
  18. Jackline A

    This was a very good read. I have been blogging for awhile but I never understood the nofollow or dofollow links. Thanks for the education.

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      You are most welcome. And thankyou for this kind comment.

      Reply
  19. aisasami

    Interesting post as I never heard of these two types of links before. I will for sure be on the lookout for these links and study about it more.

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      I glad that you do know about them now. They are really important.

      Reply
  20. Polly

    Hi Rahul! I hope you’re having a good day. I’m actually working on my blog right now. I just had it SEO checked (again) a few minutes ago and was told I needed to fix some things particularly this part. I’m still lost about nofollow or dofollow links. But since WordPress is kind of strict so I do them manually. lmao! I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog. Thank you for explaining this. It really helps!

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      Hey Polly,

      Thankyou & hope you’re having a great day as well. according to me, Adding nofollow tag manually is the best way. If you face any problem, feel free to hit me up anytime.

      Reply
  21. Taylor Justin

    This is good to know! I did not understand the difference and am glad that I do now!

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      I’m glad I could help. Thankyou for this valuable comment.

      Reply
  22. Sheena Moncatar

    Wow, amazing post and surely very informative. Thank you so much for sharing this post. All Greek to me but definitely very helpful, thanks once again.

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      You are most welcome & thankyou very much for this kind comment. I really appreciate it.

      Reply
      • Alex

        I’m new to blogging especially the code aspect and find some of the “how to” guides baffling. This one however, is great and very easy to understand.
        Thanks for the info.

        Reply
        • Rahul Choudhary

          I like to create as much easy-to-follow content as possible. I’m glad you found it useful. Thanks for stopping by.

          Reply
  23. Sadye Lindgren

    Really informative, thanks for sharing this!

    Reply
    • Rahul Choudhary

      Thankyou for your kind comment!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FREE 5-DAY SEO COURSE

Free SEO course

JOIN MY INNER CIRCLE!

Join inner circle - your blog mentor

JOIN MY PRIVATE FB GROUP FOR BLOGGERS + ONLINE BIZ OWNERS

Bloggers bunch facebook group

CONNECT WITH ME ON TWITTER!

Follow your blog mentor on twitter

THIS WEBSITE IS POWERED BY DIVI THEME –

divi theme

LOVE MY CONTENT?

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com