Linking Strategy 101: DoFollow or NoFollow, and Why It Matters

The best way to earn DoFollow links is to create quality content that other website owners want to link to. The best way to earn DoFollow links is to create quality content that other website owners want to link to.

You know linking matters to your SEO, but doing it well depends on knowing the difference between DoFollow and NoFollow links, including where and why to use one over the other.

What is a DoFollow link?

If a link is “DoFollow,” the site hosting that link is signaling to the search engines that they want the link to count toward that other page’s PageRank. It’s like an endorsement of that site and its content.

How can DoFollow links help my site?

The higher the PageRank of a website, the more their DoFollow link to you helps your own PageRank by association. So if you have sites like The New York Times or CNN.com linking to your website, for example, that’s huge for your SEO. The search engines presume that if such credible sites as these are linking to you, then your page and its content must be pretty valuable, and your PageRank will be rewarded accordingly.

How can DoFollow links hurt my site?

Every DoFollow link you have on your website is one you are asking the search engines to follow because you consider the linked content valuable. The problem arises when you allow other people to post DoFollow links — in comments and forums, for example — to other sites with content that you do not necessarily endorse or that you’re not even familiar with. Spammers abuse DoFollow’s in this manner, posting links to non-quality content just to boost their PageRank. Unfortunately, your own PageRank suffers as a result. If you’re telling the search engines, “Hey, check out this quality content,” and it’s not, then that doesn’t bode well for your SEO.

How can I get DoFollow links?

The best way to earn DoFollow links is to create quality content that other website owners want to link to.

You can also earn some DoFollow links via some social media sites:

  • Posting links via the “link” icon on Google Plus
  • Adding links to the header on your YouTube channel
  • Adding a link to your site within your Pinterest profile
  • Posting links via the “link” button on Tumblr
  • Posting links to Reddit

What are NoFollow links?

To prevent spammers from taking advantage of the system, but to also allow linking to quality sites outside of your own, the “NoFollow” link was born. By adding the NoFollow attribute to links posted on your website, you are telling the search engines that you do not want the link to count toward that other page’s PageRank. Since its creation in 2005, this has significantly cut down on spamming to blogs and forums.

How can NoFollow links help my site?

As part of your internet marketing strategy, it’s important to post on relevant social media pages, blogs, and forums. Even though the links back to your site are NoFollow, you can benefit from the referral traffic — provided, of course, the posts you’re making are non-spammy, thoughtful contributions to the conversation.

How can NoFollow links hurt my site?

Everything in moderation, and NoFollow is no exception. While it is helpful for you to have links back to your site posted in other people’s blog comments and forums, Google’s Matt Cutts has stated that the search engine does take notice, and penalize accordingly, when people are found to abuse this system. Abuse may mean obsessively posting on every comment made to a blog, for example, serving as more of a nuisance than any quality contribution to the conversation.

Which links on my site should I make NoFollow?

While it is perfectly fine to allow natural links within your site to remain DoFollow — such as when citing a news source, for example, or the source of a statistic — there are instances in which you will want to add the NoFollow attribute to links on your pages.

If your business uses WordPress for your blog (which it should), then any links submitted by comment posters are automatically assigned the NoFollow attribute.

As for manually assigning the NoFollow attribute, you definitely want to do so for paid links on your site. Also, consider the same for any guest blogs, as obviously one of the main objectives of guest blogging is to link back to the other blogger’s site. In other words, as a general rule, if the point of a link is to drive traffic to the linked page (and not simply to cite a source), then set it as a NoFollow link.

Should the internal links on my site be DoFollow or NoFollow?

You want the search engines to be able to easily navigate through your site, so keep your internal links DoFollow.

How do I create a NoFollow link?

You can create a NoFollow link by adding the rel=’nofollow attribute to the URL, as in: <a href=”https://YourSiteName.com” rel=”nofollow”>Your anchor text here.</a>

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