When you start out on a new blog you will quickly learn the importance of getting backlinks to your blog. They offer one of the best methods of improving your SEO so that your blog starts to rank more highly on search engines.
Yet, did you know that not all links are equal? Understanding the difference between Nofollow and Dofollow links is crucial to your success. So, what are they and how can you make the most of them?
What are Links?
These are when a site points to another site, leading their readers there if they click on the link. Links are often used to refer to an authoritative source on a subject or just to include something interesting that is related to the subject being discussed. For instance, here is a link to our home page.
Links are normally obvious, as they are almost always in a different color of font from the rest of the text. However, some people change the font color to make them less obvious.
The basic theory is that your site benefits from being linked to by other sites. If Google sees that you have a popular site that others point their readers to then there is more chance of them viewing you as a high-quality site that people need to know about.
Links also give other sites’ readers the chance to visit your blog just by clicking on them. The site that places the links will also get some SEO benefit if the links to quality sites. So, does this mean it’s a win-win situation when you see links on a page?
Well, that isn’t quite the full story. The fact that there are two different types of link means that you need to know a little bit more on this subject.
What Are Dofollow Links?
Let’s start with the easiest one to explain. People call them Dofollow links but you might also see them called Follow links as well.
These are the links that you want added to other sites and pointing to your blog. This is because Dofollow links count towards your overall SEO efforts. When a link like this points to your site then it is going to help you get a higher search engine ranking.
This is the simplest type of link that can be hugely beneficial to your blog. They can be created very easily by either using the hyperlink function in Word or linking directly in the text on WordPress or any other blogging platform.
The site that adds these links will also benefit if they are good, relevant links to quality sites. On the other hand, they will be penalized if they add Follow links to sites that are of poor quality for one reason or another.
What Are No Follow Links?
Ok, so we like Dofollow links and want as many of them as possible. What about No Follow (or Nofollow) links, though? Are these also good news or are they to be avoided?
These links are created using a piece of HTML code but you don’t need to be a programmer to use it. If we use the same page and text as in our earlier example it would read as follows; <a href=”https://bloggingtips.com/” rel=”nofollow”>link to our home page</a>.
Insert this code in your blog post and you will see that it appears to be just like the other link we already looked at.
The truth is that No Follow links usually don’t give you any direct SEO benefit at all. Due to this, they are considered by most people to be really pretty worthless to you in terms of SEO. The most common opinion is that the only way they are going to benefit you is if people follow the link to reach your blog.
Of course, if a number of readers click on that link and go to the site then this is going to boost your traffic numbers. You are also going to get some brand exposure by making more people aware of your blog.
Therefore, it seems safe to say that No Follow links can indirectly help you to grow your blog. They aren’t going to give you amazing, instant benefits but it would be foolish to write off this kind of link as being totally worthless to your site’s future.
No Follow links have been around since 2005 and recent reports suggest that their impact on Google rankings hasn’t changed since then. However, there is still a lot of confusion about what they do and when they should be used.
Perhaps the simplest way of looking at is to say that this is something to use when you want to give credit or back up claims but can’t vouch for the site. By using the No Follow code you are telling Google that you aren’t endorsing the site or asking for it to be counted towards your own SEO efforts.
If you want, you can go back in the future and change Follow to No Follow or vice versa. Having said that, you should bear in mind that it can take a while for these changes to take effect after you make them.
Why Is There a Difference?
At this point it is perfectly reasonable to wonder why this difference even exists. Wouldn’t life be a whole lot easier if there was only one type of link to worry about?
It certainly would be, but it turns out that there is a perfectly good reason for this difference between No Follow and Follow links. You see, a few years ago everyone went a bit crazy trying to get links to their sites.
This was after it was discovered that they were so important to search engine rankings, so everyone wanted to grab as many easy links as they could. There was only one type of link at the time, of the type that we now call Follow or Dofollow.
Blogs were then inundated with spam comments containing links, while site owners desperately tried to get links put on Wikipedia or anywhere else possible. This meant that links became a huge pain and a far less reliable way of gauging which sites deserved a good Google ranking.
It started to basically come down to whoever paid most money to get their links added or was unscrupulous enough to find sneaky ways of getting more links. This isn’t what links are meant to be about. They should help to show humans and search engine crawler bots which sites have the best content.
Instead, it was all about quantity and who could add as many links as possible. Quality was forgotten about in the rush to get a huge volume of links added anywhere possible, regardless of quality.
Therefore, No Follow links were introduced to tidy up matters and stop certain types of spamming from going on. If you try and add a comment with a link to your site on someone else’s WordPress blog it will automatically be converted to No Follow. The same also applies to Wikipedia.
How to Tell the Difference
If you find out about a new link going back to your site then it is always an exciting moment. However, before getting too carried away you will want to see whether it is Dofollow or Nofollow.
How you do this will depend upon the browser you are using. You will need to look at the page’s HTML and see if the link contains the code “rel=nofollow”. If it does, this means the link is Nofollow. Otherwise, it is Dofollow.
Here are some examples that help to explain how to do this:
- Firefox. First, you need to right click anywhere on the page. After this, you choose the “View Page Source” option, find the link and see if it says “rel=nofollow” in the HTML. Alternatively, you can find the element on the page, right click and select “Inspect Element”. After that you can search see if the link contains the code “rel=nofollow”.
- Chrome. With this browser, you need to head to the navigation bar. Here, you need to click on “View” followed by “Developer” and then “View Source”. A different way of doing this is by right clicking on “View Page Source”. Then, you should look for the link and see if it says “rel=nofollow”.
Another option is to look for browser extensions that do this for you more easily. There are a few of them to choose from on each browser.
If you are serious about running your blog then this is a good move that will save you some time every time that you want to check a link.
Remember that you can’t tell what kind of link it is just by looking at it. Both types look exactly the same when you look at the content on a site.
How to Get the Right Links
Bearing all of this in mind, it is important to think about how you will attract the Follow links that you need. The first point to cover here is that there is no magic formula or trick for doing this. The old days of quick, unscrupulous ways of getting loads of links ended when No Follow links were brought in.
The best approach is to have a high-quality site with unique, interesting and relevant content that people want to read and share. This is going to encourage other site owners to link to your site and give you the benefits that you need to progress.
If you have a site with genuinely useful, interesting blog posts then people will want to link to it. Of course, it can take time for this to happen as you build up your content and word gets out about what you are doing. Don’t expect links to start appearing all over the internet right away.
Try adding content that you have never seen elsewhere. Add in interesting details that you think other site owners will want to share with their readers too. Market your site so that more readers get to see it and enjoy it.
A lot of bloggers who are serious about growing their site quickly will pay for guest posts on other sites that link back to their blog. This can be expensive and time-consuming but it should bring you results if you do it well and get good links from decent-quality sites.
It is important to remember that when publishing a guest blog elsewhere you are best sticking to a site in your own niche. It is going to be a lot more beneficial to you if you get your links from a site that is relevant to your own.
If you do this then it is also more likely that human readers will click on the link and visit your site. A poorly placed link on an irrelevant site can end up doing more harm than good.
Should You Give Follow or No Follow Links?
What if we look at the other side of the story? This is when you are writing your own posts and want to add external links to it.
Maybe you want to back up a claim with evidence or perhaps there is a really good article on the subject you are writing about that goes into more detail. What difference will it make to you if you choose either type of link?
There are different opinions on this subject to take into account. In general terms, it is only ever advisable to give Follow links to reputable, high-quality sites. Ideally, they will be well-established and higher ranked than your own blog.
It is also important that you only give Dofollow links to relevant sites. Many SEO experts also advise that it is especially important to be careful when the link goes to a commercial site or uses a highly commercial keyword.
Should You Give Follow or No Follow Links?
The difference between Nofollow and Dofollow links might not seem all that important to you at first. Certainly, when you are first starting out with a blog you will probably have other things on your mind that you are more concerned with.
However, the sooner you look into this issues the better, as it will have a big bearing on your overall success. Having this difference clear in your mind right from the very start is going to help you to grow your blog in the quickest way possible.