In the digital age, a website’s visibility and ranking on search engines like Google depend on effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. Among the various techniques at our disposal, the strategic use of backlinks is particularly impactful. Yet, it’s important to recognize that not all backlinks are created equal. 

Understanding the differences between DoFollow and NoFollow backlinks is essential for any SEO practitioner looking to boost their website’s performance. Backlinks serve as endorsements from one site to another, laying the foundation of SEO by signaling content value and relevance to search engines.

However, before the introduction of NoFollow links, managing a website’s backlinks was simpler but often led to spammy tactics, where quantity trumped quality. Websites would indiscriminately scatter links across the internet to boost their ‘backlink juice’ and, consequently, their search engine rankings. This method, while effective in the short term, didn’t always lead to the most valuable or relevant content rising to the top.  

Fast-forward to today, the link-building landscape has evolved dramatically. In fact, webmasters say that link-building is the most challenging SEO task. However, this challenge is beneficial, as securing a spot on the first page of Google search results now requires genuinely valuable content. 

In this article, YellowFin Digital, a leading Austin SEO company, will illuminate key aspects of backlinking, including: 

  • Understanding DoFollow and NoFollow Links
  • The Impact of DoFollow Links on Page rank
  • The Role of NoFollow Links in SEO
  • The Ideal Ratio of DoFollow to NoFollow Links

What is a Dofollow link

A DoFollow link is essentially a signal to search engines, indicating that the link should be considered in the web’s intricate map of connections. It’s like a nod of approval from one website to another, allowing the “link juice” or SEO value to pass through. This type of link is crucial for SEO because it helps build a site’s authority, improving its potential to rank higher in search engine results.

Anatomy of a DoFollow Link

Here’s how it looks:

Html code: <a href=””>Anchor Text</a>

To understand how a DoFollow link is structured, let’s break down its components:

  • <a>: This anchor element tag initiates the link. It wraps around the text or image that will serve as the link.
  • href: Standing for “hypertext reference,” this attribute contains the URL the link points to. It’s where you specify the destination of your link.
  • Anchor Text: This is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. Choosing the right anchor text is crucial because it gives users and search engines context about the link’s destination.

By default, links are DoFollow, meaning they don’t require special coding attributes to pass its SEO value. However, if you’re linking to an external site and wish to retain your site’s juice link, you might consider using a NoFollow tag, which we’ll discuss in our next section.

What is a Nofollow Link

A NoFollow link, in contrast to its DoFollow counterpart, is a type of hyperlink that tells search engines to ignore the link in terms of passing on the juice link or SEO value. This means that, although the link is clickable and directs users to another page, it does not contribute to the receiving site’s page rank or its position on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

The primary purpose of a NoFollow link is to inform search engines that the hyperlink should not influence the ranking of the linked site. This is particularly useful in various scenarios, such as when linking to unverified sources or in user-generated content, where the site owner wants to provide a link without endorsing it in the eyes of search engines.

Anatomy of a NoFollow Link

A NoFollow link includes a specific HTML tag that differentiates it from DoFollow links. Here’s how it looks:

Html code: <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Anchor Text</a>

In this example, the rel=”nofollow” attribute signals to search engines that the link should not pass on SEO value. The rel attribute specifies the relationship between the current web page and the linked one, and setting it to “nofollow” directs search engine bots not to follow this link as part of their ranking algorithms.

DoFollow vs NoFollow: The Difference in SEO

DoFollow vs NoFollow The Difference in SEO

The fundamental difference between DoFollow and NoFollow links centers on their impact on page rank and their interpretation by search engine algorithms, especially Google’s. 

  • DoFollow links permit search engines to trace the link and allocate page rank to the destination website. 
  • Conversely, NoFollow links direct search engines to disregard the link for page rank distribution purposes.  
  • Technically, the distinction is clear-cut: DoFollow links don’t need any special code. But for NoFollow links, you must add rel=”nofollow” in the HTML code to tell search crawlers not to follow that link.

Now that we know the basics of each and how they’re set up, let’s look at their strategic significance.

The Impact of DoFollow Links on Page Rank

Page ranking is Google’s way of measuring a website’s importance. It works like a point system, where each link to a website counts as a point, suggesting that the website has valuable content. Generally, the more points a website has, the higher it appears on Google’s search results. While numerous factors contribute to a page’s ranking on the SERPs, links are particularly prized as a fundamental indicator of valuable content to search engines. 

When a website includes a DoFollow link to another site, it’s contributing to the latter’s reputation. It’s as if the linking site is vouching for the content on the other end, telling search engines, “This content is valuable and relevant, and I’m willing to share some of my credibility with it.” This process is fundamental to how search engines assess and rank millions of web pages, determining which ones are most useful for users based on the web of endorsements they receive. 

However, not all links have the same impact. A link from a well-known and trusted website is much more influential than one from a less popular site. It’s similar to getting a recommendation from a top expert versus someone less known. So, aiming for DoFollow links from respected and authoritative sites is a smart strategy. It can make a big difference in how visible your website is on search engines, improving your site’s credibility and how it ranks.

Impact of Nofollow Links on SEO

Nofollow links, traditionally seen as having no impact on SEO due to their inability to pass page rank, play a more nuanced role in the broader SEO landscape. While it’s true that these links are not directly factored into backlink audits and link-building strategies to boost page rank, their value should not be underestimated. Let’s explore the reasons why nofollow links can still be beneficial for your website’s SEO:

Google’s Interpretation: Google has indicated that it views all nofollow link attributes — including “nofollow,” “sponsored,” and “ugc” (user-generated content) — not strictly as commands but as suggestions. This approach allows Google more flexibility in how it assesses and utilizes links, meaning the impact of nofollow links on your site’s SEO isn’t entirely out of the question.

Influence from High-Authority Sources: Receiving a nofollow link from a highly authoritative site, such as Wikipedia, can help your page look more trustworthy. Even though it’s not clear exactly how this works, it could be because it makes your brand more visible, brings more people to your site, or shows that your site is a reliable source of information (what some people call E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). However, a combination of these factors likely enhances your site’s profile.

Reputation and Traffic: Nofollow backlinks improve your online reputation and brand mentions. Being referenced frequently in relevant and positive contexts can increase site visits. While these links may not directly influence rankings, they effectively draw attention to your business and support your overall business objectives.

In summary, while the primary goal for many websites is to accumulate as many followed backlinks as possible for SEO gains, the strategic acquisition of nofollow links can also yield significant benefits. These include improved traffic, heightened brand awareness, and indirect enhancements to your site’s rankings and SEO performance.

Why Do You Need DoFollow and NoFollow Backlinks?

Why Do You Need DoFollow and NoFollow Backlinks

Understanding the roles and impacts of dofollow and nofollow links on your website is crucial for optimizing your SEO strategy effectively:

  1. Internal Linking Strategy: Within your website, it’s essential to use dofollow links when building internal linking strategy. Nofollow links internally don’t pass on any “SEO juice” or authority from one page to another, essentially wasting the potential to bolster your own pages’ rankings. Think of it as keeping the water flowing through your own garden — you wouldn’t want to pour it down the drain instead.
  1. External Linking Practices: When linking to other websites, deciding between dofollow and nofollow becomes strategic. Dofollow links pass on some of your site’s authority to the external site, which is not always desirable, especially if the site is a competitor or has a questionable reputation. Using nofollow for external links can be a safe play, allowing you to link out for user benefit without enhancing the linked site’s search ranking.
  1. Backlink Building: Focusing on acquiring dofollow backlinks from other sites is key because these links improve your site’s search engine ranking by passing on authority. However, nofollow backlinks, while not boosting your SEO in the same manner, shouldn’t be ignored. They can drive traffic, enhance brand visibility, and contribute to a diverse and healthy link profile.

Regularly reviewing your site’s dofollow and nofollow link profiles is smart. It ensures you maximize the benefit of links within your site, making informed decisions about external linking, and maintaining a balanced approach to building backlinks. This balanced strategy is vital for sustaining your site’s authority and achieving optimal search engine visibility.

How To Build Dofollow and Nofollow Links

Building a mix of dofollow and nofollow links is essential for any website aiming to improve its SEO standing. Here’s how you can approach this task effectively:

Building Dofollow Links:

  • Leverage Brand Mentions: Start by looking for any mentions of your brand on other websites that haven’t already linked back to you. If you find such mentions, don’t hesitate to contact the website’s author or owner to request the addition of a dofollow link to your site. Positive mentions are more likely to result in a favorable response.
  • Analyze Competitor Backlinks: Use tools like Ahrefs to examine your competitors’ backlinks. If you discover that your content is superior, you could suggest to the site owner that they link to your content instead. Additionally, if your competitors are featured in listicles, you might pitch your brand to be included, offering another avenue to secure dofollow links.

Building Nofollow Links:

  • Third-Party Engagement: Engaging with community forums and social media platforms and commenting on relevant blogs can result in valuable nofollow links contributing to your online presence.
  • Quality Content is Key: Producing high-quality content naturally attracts links and is the most effective link-building strategy. Content that provides significant value to your audience will likely be shared and linked organically. This approach aligns with search engines’ preference for content that serves users’ interests and needs.

Looking to Build a Powerful Backlink Strategy?

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The Ideal Ratio of DoFollow and NoFollow Links

The truth is, there’s no set-in-stone ratio of do-follow to no-follow links that guarantees SEO success. What’s more important is how natural and diverse your link profile appears to Google. If your site leans too heavily on do-follow links, it might seem like you’re trying to manipulate your search rankings, which could raise a red flag with Google.

Think of your link profile as a balanced diet. Just like you need various nutrients to stay healthy, your website benefits from a mix of do-follow and no-follow links. This variety shows Google that you’re focused on providing valuable content, not just boosting your SEO.

Aiming for around 60% do-follow and 40% no-follow links is a reasonable target. This balance isn’t a hard rule but a guideline to help ensure your link profile supports a healthy, natural-looking SEO strategy. Do-follow links pass on “SEO juice,” helping improve your site’s ranking. In contrast, no-follow links, though they don’t contribute directly to SEO, are vital for driving traffic and enhancing your site’s visibility. 

A well-maintained link profile is key to making your site appealing both to Google and your audience.

Mastering DoFollow and NoFollow Backlinks with SEO Services Austin

Looking to boost your website’s presence on search engines like Google? It’s all about the strategic use of backlinks. At YellowFin Digital, a premier Austin SEO Services provider, we specialize in optimizing your link profile to enhance your site’s visibility and drive traffic. 

Our SEO experts are skilled in harnessing the power of both dofollow and nofollow links, ensuring your website gains maximum benefit without needing to delve into each link type’s technicalities. 

Trust us to elevate your site’s ranking and visibility, leveraging our expertise for your digital success. Contact Us Today!