Difference between Dofollow vs Nofollow Backlinks
dofollow vs nofollow backlinks

Dofollow backlink

Dofollow backlink is an HTML attribute that passes the link juice from the referring website to the linked website. Crawlers count these links and their anchor texts. Google takes notes of dofollow links and figures how many users are linking to your page in order to get how really good the page is. Therefore, dofollow backlinks directly influence your backlink profile and help you rank higher on SERP because they send a signal to search engines what is the linked website about.

Nofollow backlink

Nofollow backlinks don’t pass any link juice because the tag rel=”nofollow” in the HTML code of the website tells crawlers not to follow these backlinks. Google does not transfer the authority or anchor text across nofollow links. They won’t affect your rank on the SERP and have no SEO value. However, it can help to get traffic to your website.

New link attributes

To help Google analyze the nature of links, Google announced two new link attributes as an evolution of the Nofollow attribute. For almost 15 years “nofollow” was the only way for flagging sponsored or advertised links. From now on, there are 3 ways to flag these links:

  • rel=”sponsored” – Use it for links that are part of advertisements, sponsored or in other way compensated cooperation.
  • rel=”ugc” – UGC means User Generated Content. Use it for user generated content such as forum posts and comments.
  • rel=”nofollow” – Use it for links when you don’t want to pass any ranking credit (link juice) to the linked page.

Going forward, all three attributes will be used as hints which links should Google include or exclude in Search.

Do I need to change the link attributes on my website?

Difference between Dofollow vs Nofollow Backlinks
dofollow vs nofollow backlinks

There is no need to change any existing nofollow links. Google will continue to honor nofollow attributes that are currently in place. There’s also no need for SEOs and site owners to change how they use the “nofollow” attribute to flag links pertaining to ads and sponsorships. However, Google does recommend switching to the “sponsored” attribute when appropriate.

How to check whether the backlink is dofollow or nofollow?

Use browser SEO extensions

Various browser extensions will help you to detect dofollow or nofollow backlinks.

Check the HTML code

If you know where the backlink is placed, the easiest way is to take a look at the HTML code of the referring website. First, right-click on the anchor text and select “Inspect” or “Inspect element” (it can differ depending on the browser) or press “Ctrl+Shift+I” in Chrome. Then check the code. If you don’t find the tag rel=”nofollow”, you can be calm because the link is dofollow.

Use backlink analysis tools

If you are analyzing your own or competitor’s link profile and don’t know what backlinks the website has, neither their anchor texts nor placements, you will find this information in backlink analysis tools such as Ahrefs, Linkody, cognitiveSEO, etc. Just enter the domain you want to find backlinks for. Then click on the backlinks in the left table and when the referring website loads in the right part of the screen, click on the anchor text to find it.

Is it bad to have nofollow backlinks?

No, it’s not. As a matter of fact, there are benefits in getting nofollow backlinks. This includes:

  • Increased traffic — While many large sites nofollow all the outbound links on their site, they are capable of sending massive amounts of traffic.
  • Brand exposure — Getting mentioned on quality sites that are relevant to your audience is great for brand awareness.
  • Trust building — Links on quality sites can build trust in your target audience. Another bonus, the more consumers see your brand name, the more they begin to trust. 
  • Trust can lead to dofollow links — One site my nofollow a link to your site, but their readers may appreciate your information and link to you with a follow link. 
  • A natural backlink profile — If you are link building, you cannot get too many dofollow links at one time because it appears unnatural. You need to have both nofollow and dofollow to appear natural.
  • Avoid an outbound link penalty — If you are nofollowing links, you don’t have to worry about Google placing a manual action on your site for links. 
  • Quality traffic — Traffic is good, but what everyone wants is traffic that leads to sales, so if a nofollow link is driving you leads and sales, it is a very valuable link.

However, earning dofollow links from authoritative websites is better since the tag rel=”nofollow” tells crawlers not to pass the authority. On top of that, an optimized anchor text gives a keyword relevance signal to the crawlers.

Many times, the type of the links depends on your link building campaign:

  • Earn backlinks from authoritative websites
  • Get a lot of referral traffic

The first option means that you will seek dofollow backlinks. Generally, if you are doing an email outreach or other link building techniques, the other side should understand that you are not interested in nofollow links. On the other hand, if your plan is only to get a lot of referral traffic, you don’t need to worry that much about the “nofollow” attribute.

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