Links are an extremely important component of any SEO strategy. Without links, Google search crawlers could not easily find pages across the web. Moreover, they also would have one less metric to measure the trustworthiness and value of web pages.
Links can do both of these jobs.
First, links pass SEO juice from one page to another. This allows Google to follow the link and crawl, index, and rank those pages on the search engine results pages.
Second, links serve as a vote of confidence. If a high-authority website links to one of your web pages and redirects its users to your site, it implies that your page adds a lot of value to those readers. This signals to Google that your web page is valuable and should be prioritized on the search engine results pages, which often boosts search rankings.
However, not every link performs these two important tasks.
That’s where the difference between dofollow and nofollow links comes in.
If you are unfamiliar with dofollow and nofollow links, you have landed at the right place. In this post, we are going to discuss the following:
- What are dofollow and nofollow links?
- 4 use cases when you should consider using nofollow links
- How to create a dofollow link
- How to create a nofollow link
Let’s start from the top.
What are dofollow links?
Remember the two tasks that a link can perform?
- A link passes the link equity and asks search engine crawlers to follow it from one page to another, and
- It serves as a vote of confidence, indicating that you trust that web page and want everyone to know it.
A dofollow link is a link that performs both of these tasks. A dofollow link:
- Does not prevent search engine crawlers from following it
- Does not prevent the link equity from passing from one page to another
- Serves as a vote of confidence
A dofollow link looks like this: <a href="example.com">anchor text here</a>
If your focus is on creating backlinks from your website so it can improve its search engine rankings, you should strive for dofollow links. Otherwise, a backlink pointing to your website does not add much value to your site if search engine crawlers do not follow it.
What are nofollow links?
Now that you understand what a dofollow link is and does, you can guess what a nofollow link is, right?
As the name suggests, nofollow links signal search engine crawlers not to follow. Also, nofollow links do not pass link equity from one page to another.
Consequently, search engine crawlers usually do not follow a nofollow link or assign any value to the link.
A nofollow link looks like this:
<a href="https://example.com" rel="nofollow">anchor text here</a>
Now, you might be wondering why even use a nofollow link if it does not pass link equity or serve as a vote of confidence. Is there even any use of a nofollow link?
Yes, there is.
In fact, there are several use cases in which a nofollow link makes more sense. Let’s see at least 4 such use cases.
4 use cases when you should consider using nofollow links
As we learned above, nofollow links do not pass link equity and do not serve as a vote of confidence to help search engines with rankings. However, there are still several reasons to prefer nofollow links over dofollow links.
Here are 4 scenarios in which it might make more sense to use nofollow links:
- Monetized links. If you use an affiliate or sponsored link on your webpage to link to another website, it is a good practice to use nofollow links instead of dofollow links. Although Google won’t necessarily penalise for not using nofollow link attributes, it recommends following this best practice.
- Untrustworthy websites. Sometimes, you link to a website you are not entirely sure of, e.g., when linking to a source or study. You don’t know whether it’s a credible, legitimate, and helpful website or not. In that case, it’s better not to endorse that website and use a nofollow link attribute.
- Hoarding link equity. Although this is not the best approach, sometimes it may make sense to keep most of your link equity on your page. In that case, instead of asking search engine crawlers to follow links off your website.
- Avoiding potential Google penalties. You can also avoid potential Google penalties by using nofollow attributes and being extra careful.
Although there are more reasons why you might want to use a nofollow link on your web page, these 4 use cases cover the most common scenarios.
Now that you know the benefits and use cases, let’s see how to create dofollow and nofollow links.
How to create a dofollow link
Do you want to create dofollow links?
Good news! You don’t have to do anything.
All links, by default, are dofollow links and, therefore, pass the link equity and ask search engine crawlers to follow that link to the other page or website.
In other words, if you create a hyperlink to another webpage or website and don’t do anything else to it, it will be a dofollow link.
How to create a nofollow link
All links are dofollow links by default. On the other hand, you have to create nofollow links.
There are two methods of creating a nofollow link:
- You can add the rel=nofollow attribute to the HTML code of the link. Here’s how dofollow and nofollow links look like:
- Dofollow = <a href="example.com">anchor text here</a>
- Nofollow = <a href="https://example.com" rel="nofollow">anchor text here</a>
- If you use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress and SEO plugins like AIOSEO, you can convert any link into a nofollow link easily with the graphical interface. This method is much more efficient and does not require you to alter the HTML code manually.
In this method, simply click on any (dofollow) hyperlink. You’ll see several options to add to your link. To make your link nofollow, tick the Add rel=”nofollow” checkbox to make the link nofollow.
And that’s about it.
Now you know what’s the difference between nofollow and dofollow links, when you should use nofollow links, and how to create nofollow links.
We hope you found this article helpful and useful.
If you have any questions, please let us know.
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