Nofollow Links: Breaking It Down For You

Written by Devin Sizemore


December 6, 2019

If you own a startup or are new to the SEO world in general, you may not have heard of nofollow links. To increase your ranking on search engines and improve your business overall, it is important to know what specific words mean. 

What does nofollow mean? Below you’ll find out the answer to that along with why you should be using them, the different types of nofollow links, how it relates to SEO, and how it’s different from a dofollow link. 

What Are Nofollow Links

For starters, the easiest way to put it is that a nofollow link is a link that will not affect your website ranking when it comes to search engine result pages. This is a link that is usually not clicked on or used by the traffic of your website. 

You’ll be able to tell if a link is considered a nofollow link by copying and pasting the URL. In the URL you will see “rel=”nofollow” somewhere within the web address. This tag found in the URL is essentially telling Google and other search engines that the link is pointless. This might make you wonder why this happens. Believe it or not, there is a positive reason that nofollow links exist.

What Is A Follow Link? 

When you use a link on your website or blog post, it is either leading people to another webpage on your site or to an external source. When you use internal links, your website will get an increase when it comes to SEO. 

Google and other search engines pay attention to what links are used on your blog, how many you have, and what sites your links lead to. If Google or another search engine notices that several websites are linking to a specific website, it will improve that website ranking. These are considered follow or dofollow links. Basically, a follow link is a link that will increase your website’s rank when it comes to the search engine results page by using search engine optimization. 

Why Use Nofollow Links?

Why Use Nofollow Links?The origin of nofollow links and tags is actually quite interesting. They were originally created by Google in 2005 to help reduce the amount of blog comment spam. Blogs used to be articles, diary entries, and blurbs from random people on the Internet for others to read. 

While blogs now are somewhat similar, they weren’t used that often at the beginning of marketing or advertising. Because of this, there was a lot of spam that could be found in the comment section of blogs. This caused those spam sites that were left in the comments to rank high on search engine results. 

This would cause low-quality websites to be at the top of the ranking and high-quality, honest websites to the bottom. You may still see spam on the Internet here and there, but it’s nothing compared to how it used to be and this is thanks to nofollow links and tags.

Page Ranking

PageRank uses algorithms to choose if a website or page is valuable enough based on the number of external links leading people to said website and the quality of these external links. If you’re getting very few external links from other websites and blogs that are of low-quality, you will not rank high. 

You want to rank as high as possible when someone searches something relating to your website or a blog. If you have a website dedicated to finding coupons to help people save money, whenever someone searches something like “coupon” or “save,” you’ll want your site to come up at the top. 

This will increase the amount of traffic you see and will hopefully result in more sales. There are a number of other things you can do that can improve your page ranking. Make sure to use proper keywords, have high-quality content, and use internal links to your advantage. You can find more tips on how to improve your search engine results ranking here

Types Of Nofollow Links

I understand that this is a topic that can be a little hard to understand. How do you know what type of link is considered a nofollow link? Well, it depends on where the inbound link is from. I wanted to share with you where you may see nofollow links and what websites use nofollow tags in their outbound links.

Types of nofollow links:

  • Links used from widgets
  • Blog comments
  • Social media posts
  • Specific blogs
  • News sources such as The Huffington Post
  • Links found in press releases
  • Links in forums

Websites that use nofollow tags: 

  • Twitch
  • YouTube
  • Wikipedia
  • Reddit
  • Quora
  • Medium

Nofollow Links And SEO

If you’re asking yourself whether nofollow links help with SEO, the answer depends on who you ask. When you look up on Google whether or not the search engine uses nofollow links and tags, you will find that they say the following: 

“In general, we do not follow them.” 

There are two ways to take this: either Google doesn’t follow them or they do, but only in certain circumstances. If your website or blog falls within those circumstances, it will help with your SEO results. 

What Does Google Consider Spam?

It’s important to know what Google does and doesn’t consider spam. If Google considers one of the links to your website spam, you likely will not drive much traffic to that site or rank highly on search results.

Below is a list of the most common things that Google considers as spam. Use this list to make sure that your website is not only considered spam-free but also high-ranking when it comes to SERPs. 

  • A low MozTrust or MozRank score 
  • A site with very few links
  • Not using a variety of links 
  • Using specific nofollow domains (YouTube, Twitch, Quora, etc.)
  • A small amount of branded links
  • Weak or low-quality content 
  • Not having any or enough site mark-ups
  • Too many external links
  • Not enough internal links
  • Too much anchor text
  • Not providing contact information 
  • Not incorporating many web pages within your site
  • Domain name length over 253 characters
  • Domains that use numbers 

Trust me, I know that it seems like a lot of things that Google considers spam. Use this list and make an outline for your website. Make sure you’re using enough internal links, a variety of links, produce high-quality content, and have plenty of web pages throughout your website.

Benefits Of Using Nofollow Link

Benefits Of Using Nofollow LinkI wanted to share with you some of the benefits of using nofollow links and the impact they can have on your website or blog. Let’s take a look at what made the cut: 

Helps With SEO

As mentioned above, whether or not nofollow links help with SEO depends on who you ask. If you use the natural elements of nofollow links to increase your trust flow, this can positively affect your search engine results. Nofollow links make it easier for Google to rank high-quality sites higher and spam sites lower.

As long as you’re not a spam site, this will work to your advantage. It was found that the majority of pages that rank in the top spot on Google have 20% to 40% nofollow links that point people to their site. If nofollow links didn’t help with SEO, they wouldn’t exist in the first place.

They’re Natural

Something you may want to keep in mind is how natural no followings are. They also help to make your website look natural, which can also help your overall ranking. To do this, make sure you have an even mixture of nofollow links and follow links. Doing this will also make sure that you are protected anytime there is a Google Penguin update.

Can Make More Links 

If done correctly, when you use a nofollow link to bring up someone to a follow link, that will help to increase traffic and rankings. Essentially, using links can lead to more links. This can also lower balance rates and increase the amount of time traffic stays on your website. 

Link building is a great way to help improve the quality of your website, share valuable content, and bring awareness to your brand. When you don’t implement nofollow backlinks from high-quality sites, you are essentially telling Google that you do not want the traffic. Avoid this! 

Increases Traffic 

Speaking of traffic, the entire world of marketing revolves around traffic. If you don’t have people coming in, you will have no want to market too. Nofollow links work as a type of “word of mouth” in the marketing world. Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful tool in marketing.

You can use this to your advantage by posting your links all over your brand’s social media and having your audience do so as well. This will increase the traffic to your website and can lead to new clients and sales.

Improves Your Credibility

While we all know how important it is to rank high, it’s also important to improve your credibility and bring awareness to your website. When you’re using nofollow links in articles that the link relates to, this can increase traffic and bring awareness to your website and blog posts. 

When people read an honest and trustworthy post on your website, this will help build your credibility and, in turn, will be used as a form of word of mouth to bring in even more traffic. While we’re on the topic of credibility, using nofollow links helps Google to trust you more as well. 

If a website is only using dofollow backlinks, there likely practicing some unethical standards. This is why it’s important to have a mixture of both.

Final Words

Did you learn something new? I sure hope so. Getting your website or blog to rank high on Google can be hard enough without adding in fancy words like “nofollow.” I’m hoping that with the information you’ve read about above there is something that you can use to incorporate follow and nofollow links to your advantage. 

Remember, nofollow links were created to make a positive impact on Google search results. It’s important to keep in mind that both nofollow and dofollow link help to build credibility and trust with your audience and Google

Nofollow links were created essentially to protect your website. It’s also important to keep in mind that you want to double-check and be sure that your website doesn’t have any of the qualities that Google considers spam. With all that being said, thanks for reading and good luck!

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