Every person who has ever dealt with SEO will tell you that it’s not only about on-site activities. The process comprises a lot of off-site actions and the ability to obtain external links to the site is its main part. The most common categorization of links speaks about dofollow and nofollow ones. But how to apply them to improve your website’s positions?
The creation of links to a given website is one of the most basic steps taken to improve its visibility. However, sometimes it happens that dofollow and nofollow links are quite chaotic due to different operation principles – after all, they determine completely different actions of Google robots visiting the site.
Fortunately, despite all the differences, these two types of links can be applied in a way that will allow you to improve the visibility of your website. But how to do it?
How can your website benefit from link building?
Appropriate external link building helps to improve domain authority and transfer power from websites that link to a given page. That’s why it’s so crucial to make sure that you link from websites that can boast high domain authority or URL rating. It may also be necessary to assess the effectiveness of linking thanks to which you’ll be able to indicate the main drawbacks of the page.
Internal linking is also important. It makes it easier for both potential customers and search engine robots to navigate the website which, in turn, affects its positions in the search results. However, both external and internal link building aim at increasing website visibility and, consequently, attracting new visitors.
Dofollow vs. nofollow – what’s the difference?
A link profile, meaning all links redirecting to a given website and affecting SEO, is one of the most important elements of every link building. Dofollow and nofollow links are very relevant parts that support the whole process.
Dofollow links: how do they work?
Dofollow links are particularly crucial in the SEO process because they transfer the power of the website they’re placed on to the website they redirect to. Now, it should be self-explanatory that the quality of the website you place links on is really important. Obtaining links from websites with high Page Rank will also help to improve the authority of your domain.
Dofollow links are also typically used in internal linking between individual subpages of a given website. It’s not rocket science, the task doesn’t require IT expertise, to place such a link, simply type the piece of code listed below:
As you can see from the above example, such a link placed in a website code doesn’t require any extra code elements – links provided in the HTML code are automatically marked as dofollow.
Features of nofollow links
On the other hand, the structure and features of nofollow links are quite different. You can notice it when looking at the following HTML code:
The nofollow tag visible in the above code fragment doesn’t affect users. However, it’s very important for search engine robots as it notifies them that they shouldn’t visit or analyze pages marked with this tag. Due to it, the link doesn’t transfer the website power and doesn’t improve the domain authority of the site it links to.
How to check if you’re dealing with a nofollow or dofollow link?
To find out whether you’re dealing with a dofollow or nofollow link, just perform a few simple actions on the website. This process doesn’t require professional knowledge, tools, or website login – all you need is a search engine and a bit of free time.
Start by displaying the source of the website containing the link you want to check (ctrl+U/cmnd+U).
Then, find a link to a selected website with the use of the Ctrl + F command.
In this case, the link itself isn’t important, it’s about its immediate surrounding from the <a href> tag to its end. If that part doesn’t contain any nofollow attribute, you’re dealing with a dofollow link. On the other hand, if that attribute appears, you’re looking at a nofollow link.
When to apply dofollow links?
In the vast majority of cases, dofollow links are applied when linking inside a given website, for example from the landing page to the category or product pages. Thanks to it, Google robots can index and analyze particular elements much more efficiently.
These types of redirects are also appreciated by your visitors or readers, consequently, they improve your website authority. However, don’t overuse them. Making it possible for users to place dofollow links in blog post comments or forum entries can quickly harm your website with spam and unwanted content.
Dofollow links in external linking are also invaluable as they transfer the domain authority of the page with the link to the target page. However, it’s advisable to thoroughly select domains where you place such links. They can be very beneficial when you use quality websites and very harmful when the linking portal doesn’t have too many valuable features.
When to apply nofollow links?
Contrary to what you may think, nofollow links are also an important part of every SEO process.
Obviously, in most situations, we can see them applied properly in the case of internal linking. They serve a very important purpose – they prevent Google robots from accessing subpages that shouldn’t be indexed. The list of such subpages includes shopping carts, user panels, or login pages. But these aren’t the only ways to use nofollow links. You can apply them to mark all other links that aren’t particularly important for the website.
Moreover, Google recommends using nofollow links also in other, more specific circumstances. You can apply them to mark any content that you find not totally reliable and trustworthy such as links to certain external sites or texts.
Is it worth using only dofollow links in your external linking?
On the basis of the above analysis, you might think that dofollow links are much more valuable for your website as they may improve its authority. However, according to Google robots, this belief is totally untrue.
Both dofollow and nofollow links are parts of the link profile, meaning all links leading to a given page. This profile needs to contain both link types to make it as similar to a natural link profile as possible. But what do we mean by a natural link profile? A profile that would be obtained as a result of the uncoordinated actions of many users.
As you already know, the type of applied links doesn’t have any impact on people visiting your page, therefore, a natural link profile should contain both nofollow and dofollow links.
Are there any other SEO benefits of nofollow links?
As stated by official Google guidelines, nofollow links don’t transfer any relevant website parameters. Google also stated that generally, crawlers don’t follow such links. However, it may also imply that there are cases when this general rule doesn’t apply, unfortunately, no one specified it so far.
The SEO industry comprises hundreds of cases proving that there are quite a few exceptions to this rule. These exceptions suggest that developing your nofollow link database can have a significant impact on the positions of phrases related to the target websites these links redirect to.
Even if your website isn’t one of Google’s exceptions, nofollow links can still bring you numerous benefits. Similar to dofollow links, they can attract traffic from the linking page to your site. Nofollow links are particularly important when they come from reliable, renowned platforms like Facebook or Twitter. In their case, the number of users who visited your page because the links can be really impressive.