Backlinks: Dofollow vs. Nofollow Links

Do you ever scroll through an article and only look at the underlined blue hyperlinked text? Well, the process of linking one web page to another is known as backlinks (or “inbound links.”) Backlinks are particularly important as they establish trust and traffic between web pages, which is why they are sometimes viewed as citations. By adding backlinks, this tells Google or other search engines that a particular web link is credible and useful. As a result, the more times your web page is used as a backlink, the higher your site will rank on organic search engines. In fact, Google has confirmed that backlinks fall under their top 3 search engine ranking factors. 

nofollow links

Types of Backlinks

Are all backlinks the same? Not quite. Let’s get into more details about the two different types of backlinks:

Dofollow vs. Nofollow links

When comparing dofollow vs nofollow links from an SEO perspective: dofollow links push your search engine rankings up. Nofollow links don’t. This is because Google’s algorithm only counts dofollow links in their ranking signals. So, when it comes to link building, generally you should always aim for dofollow links. The reason backlinks became divided as dofollow vs nofollow is to stop people from spam commenting on blog posts and avoid spam signups on social media accounts. So, the nofollow tag tells the search engine to dismiss that link and as a result, nofollow links do not go through Google’s PageRank

How to Check if a Link is Dofollow or Nofollow 

From a technical standpoint, the only difference is that nofollow links have a rel=“nofollow” HTML tag. To find this, simply right click on the link and tap “inspect.” A window on the right of your screen should come up with the HTML code for the link. Then, use the search bar to check if the rel=“nofollow” attribute is written in the code. If the attribute is not there, then the link is a dofollow. 

Dofollow Links

Not all dofollow links are reputable and credible web pages. Remember, dofollow links must come from high-quality websites to help your SEO. After all, a well-known website won’t have backlinks to low-quality sources that will damage their SEO. Beware: Google will get a negative impression of you and your content if many low-quality spam links are pointing towards you. 

So, how do you get dofollow links? Here are a few ways: 

Guest Blogging 

By writing quality content for other websites, you will be educating readers about a topic while including backlinks to your own site. This will boost your SEO ratings, reach more audiences, and increase your brand credibility. Keep in mind that not all websites that seek guest blogging offer dofollow links, so make sure to check. The best way to find guest post opportunities is to research keywords relevant to your industry. Also, remember to keep the content genuine as the purpose is to educate your reader, not promote your product! 

dofollow links

Resource Page Link Building

A resource page on a website is simply a list of helpful links and sources on a particular topic. For example, a blog about fashion trends might have a resource section dedicated to fall collection outfits. 

Resource page link building is the process of adding your site to this informative list as one of the resources. One way to make this happen is by simply informing the website owner of your site and why you should be added. This is a great way to build credibility for your site, as traffic will be generated from high-quality reputable sources. Another reason this builds credibility is because resource pages exist to be helpful and educate, instead of selling. This creates trust between the viewers and the site. Examples of where resource pages are commonly found include websites for universities, local governments, and tourism. 

To find resource pages relevant to your industry, combine your keyword with terms like “useful resources,” “useful links,” “helpful resources,” or “helpful links.” For instance, if my keyword was entrepreneurship my search bar would read “entrepreneurship helpful links.”

Create Infographics

People love to see visual imagery when scanning through content, which means that content markers will want to use or reference them. So, if you create an infographic on your website, and a content maker then shares it on their website, you got yourself a backlink. You can always use Venngage to make simple and captivating infographics. 

Here are some tips to remember when trying to make your infographic go viral: 

  • Awesome Design: A professional and aesthetically pleasing design is crucial – this can mean including things like white (negative) spaces and keeping text to a minimum. 
  • Interesting Facts and Credible Statistics: Make sure to give credit to sources when needed and also write a catchy headline that caters to the target audience’s interest. 

dofollow vs nofollow links

Strengthen Public Relations

This is one of the most important factors to establish for your brand, because if others don’t know who you are, they won’t be able to (or want to) link to your website. While you might not get immediate results, PR is essential to your overall future success. So, when seeking to generate high-quality dofollow backlinks to your website, you need to leverage public relations.

A great way to get started on this is outreach. That is, by becoming active on social media, building a network, and generating an email list. All in all, you should be focused on securing media placement by pitching yourself out there. Guest blogging (mentioned above) is one tactic used to improve PR. Or, you can simply ask to be mentioned by authoritative websites (put your brand out there!). 

Remember to always be transparent, honest, and relevant in your content, especially if you want to create a trusting relationship with your audience and increase social shares. An example of this can be engaging in a Q&A interview on a hot topic in your industry – then, have the site where you did the interview backlink to your post. Or, ask for a product review – this way the blog or publication will include a backlink to the product itself. 

Nofollow Links

Usually, nofollow links tend to fall under one of these categories

  • Spam comments on blogs (In fact, all blog comment links via WordPress are automatically tagged with the nofollow attribute.)
  • Links from press releases
  • Anything inside what Google calls “untrusted content”
  • Links in forums posts (or other user generated content)
  • Paid links (A big reason the nofollow tag was created: Google wanted to differentiate between paid links and natural links. For instance, if you pay for a banner advertisement on your website, Google will demand that the link is a nofollow.)
  • Certain blog sites


Why are Nofollow Links Important?

So you’re probably thinking, why would I want nofollow links then? If they don’t provide me with good SEO link value, they’re probably worthless. This is not true! Nofollow links have benefits. If you find a well-placed blog comment or an appropriate forum post on social media, it can still generate large amounts of traffic to your webpage (regardless of it being nofollow vs dofollow). The most important thing to remember is that you want to build your brand, so focus on what links will help initiate you as an industry authority and create trust with your audience. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that many professionals suggest having both nofollow and dofollow links in order to keep your backlink profile looking natural. Google doesn’t like seeing pages with 100% do follow links – so don’t try to game the system, just act natural and stay balanced. There is no set ratio that one should follow.

In fact, there is a large debate on whether nofollow links impact SEO ranking. In an attempt to answer this, SEOJet looked at top ranked sites on Google in various industries and found that they all have an average of around 20%-40% no-follow links pointing to that page. Let’s look at one example from this study:

The keyword used in the search engine: “backlinks”

The #1 ranked website for this search:

The percentage of nofollow links: 28%

The percentage of nofollow links on the entire site: 30%

Although we can not make absolute conclusions about nofollow links and SEO rankings based on one observation, it is important to recognize the potential power that nofollow links can have. Also, nofollow links may help increase your dofollow links. How? Because the more people hear of you, the more likely dofollow links will organically increase (remember PR!). 

Ready to Start Link Building?

Here at SEO Design Chicago, we have all the right tools you need for link building. Keep in mind that both backlink types we discussed are useful: while dofollow links have been proven to increase SEO rankings, nofollow links may also play a role in generating traffic to your website. For help with link building or other SEO services, contact SEO Design Chicago today!

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