For those new to SEO (search engine optimisation), you might be pondering the topic of backlinks and the whole debate of Dofollow links vs. Nofollow links, which are better for SEO, how to use them, etc. From personal experience, we can assure you that if at first, it has you feeling confused; it’s perfectly fine and normal, we are here to help clear it up!
When it comes to SEO, it’s important to understand the contrast between Dofollow and Nofollow links so you are aware of how to use them to your benefit! Using them correctly can help to improve your website ranking and traffic to your site.
What is a Dofollow link?
A Dofollow link is a link that directs Google and other search engines to crawl and index your website. They help SEO by passing the PageRank authority on from the origin site to the destination site.
So, when a site gets an inbound link (a hyperlink directing to that page), the page obtains a small increase in its SEO. The more links a page has, the better. Google will note the number of these links, identifying how many inbound links a page has and from what sites. Google will then decide that if a lot of people are linking to a certain page, it must therefore be a good page! This results in the link being shown higher up on search engine crawlers, over others of similar topics.
Types of Dofollow links:
- Review links
- Resource links
- Press release links
- Guest post links
- Editorial links
What is a Nofollow link?
Previously regarded as a meaningless link, a Nofollow link is a link that does not influence search engine rankings and isn’t typically used in PageRank calculations. It does not help in the page’s favour, boost PageRank, or help a page’s placement in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). They are used by publishers as a way of tagging links that search engines do not regard as points towards the ranking of the website on the SERPs. Created with the nofollow link HTML tag of rel=”nofollow”, this tag is a notice for search engines, signalling for them to not use it. However, as of March 1st, 2020, the idea of a nofollow link being useless completely changed!
How have Nofollow links changed?
In March 2020, Google revealed that nofollow tags would be considered as a suggestion for crawling and indexing content in the search engine, rather than a ruling. This meant that they would make their own decisions about how they trust a website. Therefore, nofollow links now have the potential to pass PageRank value, if the algorithm deems it useful for ranking and indexing principles. It is worth mentioning that although PageRank is important, it is not now the only algorithm used by Google.
Types of Nofollow links:
- Social media
- Sponsored content
- Blog comments
- Press releases
Nofollow vs. Dofollow
So, when should you use these links? Nofollow links are used when the linked content is sponsored, user-generated, paid for, or untrustworthy. In contrast, Dofollow links are to be used when the linked content is trustworthy and credible, and you want to pass PageRank from your website to the destination site.
How many of each backlink should be utilised? There’s no real specific answer to this, but it has been thought that most successful websites with the highest rankings have a greater number of dofollow links than nofollow links in their backlink profiles. A blog by Stephen Hockman suggested that research has found that using a proportion of 25% nofollow links, and 75% dofollow links has been most commonly seen and is proposed as the advantageous ratio for these backlinks.
As revealed from this blog, the biggest difference between dofollow links and nofollow links is that dofollow links are always crawled by search engines and used to pass PageRank value for SEO, whereas nofollow links aren’t, they aren’t always crawled or used for indexing reasons, and it depends if they are used for page rank calculations.
However, nofollow and dofollow links are both important for a healthy backlink profile, and both help to gain targeted traffic to the linked website. They are both essential for increasing SEO and brand recognition.