Dofollow vs Nofollow Links: What’s The Difference?
Backlinks, links from outside sites linking to your site, are typically broken down into one of two different categories: “dofollow” or “nofollow.” While most Internet users are completely oblivious to the type of links they see and click, it’s important for webmasters to take notice. If part of your SEO strategy involves link building (which it should), you should focus on dofollow links.
Up until the early-to-mid 2000s, all links were dofollow. It wasn’t until 2005 when Google’s Matt Cutts and Blogger’s Jason Shellen proposed a new HTML link attribute to devalue links, known as the nofollow attribute.
A typical nofollow link looks something along the lines of <a href=”http://www.example.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Link text</a>.
So, what’s the purpose of the nofollow attribute? It’s exactly what it sounds like: to devalue its authority or “link juice.” While Google has yet to reveal its exact ranking algorithm, it’s no secret that backlinks play a key role. Websites with high-quality, relevant backlinks will rank higher than websites with few-to-no backlinks. The nofollow is basically a “don’t count this link for ranking purposes” message to search engines.
Some webmasters may not want to pass their authority to other linked sites, so they use the nofollow attribute. If a blogger allows visitors to submit comments, for instance, he or she may tag all visitor-created links with the nofollow attribute; thus, preventing visitors from abusing the commenting feature by creating countless backlinks.
“In general, we don’t follow them. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using
nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web,” wrote Google in its explanation of the nofollow attribute. “However, the target pages may still appear in our index if other sites link to them without using
nofollow, or if the URLs are submitted to Google in a Sitemap. Also, it’s important to note that other search engines may handle
nofollow in slightly different ways.”
Does this mean that nofollow links offer no value? Not necessarily. While Google states that it “doesn’t follow them,” visitors can still click on nofollow links to visit the respective site or page. And when this happens, it funnels traffic to the linked site, which could help to increase its search ranking.
The bottom line is that you should focus your efforts on building dofollow links by creating quality content that people want to share or link to. But when appropriate, feel free to create nofollow links as well. For example, a link to Wikipedia is a nofollow link, but can still add value to your site.
Have anything else you would like to add? Let us know in the comments section below