When a website links to another site, the linking process can happen in one of two ways. The first is via a do-follow link. The second is via a no-follow link. Both types of links attain the same goal – sending the user from the original site to the destination website. But, each link tells Google two different things.
Name: Dofollow Links
Referred to as Follow Links, Do-follow links, Followed Links
Category of SEO: On-Page SEO
Definition: The term “do-follow link” is used to describe regular HTML website links that are not “no-followed.” These are website links that don’t have the rel = “nofollow” attribute applied to them. That’s why they’re also called “followed links.”
A Brief History of The Concept of Dofollow Links
Before Google introduced the concept of Nofollow and Dofollow links back in 2005, the search engine was very chaotic. Bloggers, site administrators, and SEO professionals would manipulate Google’s PageRank on their websites by engaging in spammy backlinking practices. These practices involved the addition of large, often illogical numbers of links to their websites.
Site admins would add links anywhere they could, just to earn “backlink juice.” Backlink juice is a term used to describe how much strength a backlink passes onto another website. Before 2005, if a random website consisted of high-quality backlinks, Google’s algorithm would give it “backlink juice.” Hence, blogs would be full of spammy comments full of backlinks. Other websites would use similar backlinking practices to boost their chances of securing higher ranks on Google’s SERPs.
The introduction of the “Nofollow” and “Dofollow” concepts was in response to these illegitimate practices. That’s why creating and executing successful backlinking strategies is now very complicated. Web pages have to be truly valuable to users to earn higher rankings. SEO experts can add both Dofollow and Nofollow links to their websites to increase their rankings.
Understanding the Concept of Follow Links
To truly understand the concept of dofollow links, you’ll first need to understand how link building generally works in SEO.
When a webpage receives an inbound link, it also receives a small SEO boost. For example, if your blog is hyperlinked to another website, your blog page will receive an SEO boost. The more inbound links your website has, the more boosts it receives.
Google takes note of these boosts. The algorithm tracks how many inbound links each webpage has and from which websites.
Google has a metric called “PageRank.” It uses this metric to calculate the link boosts or points each website receives. These link boosts or points are also known as “link juice.”
The “link juice” flows through different websites and into new websites via hyperlinks. The more reputable a website, the more “link juice” the website that’s linked on it receives. For example, if your website is linked on a BBC article, it will receive large amounts of link juice.
In 2005, Google launches Nofollow and Dofollow links. From 2005, only dofollow links are the ones that count as “link juice.” Nofollow basically tells the search engine not to vouch for the target links mentioned on a website.
Now, we can define both nofollow and dofollow links more clearly.
A nofollow link is a webpage link that search engine algorithms don’t count as “link juice” in the page’s favor.
Nofollow links are produced with the nofollow link HTML tag. It looks like this –
<a href=” http://www.examplewebsite.com/” rel=” nofollow”>Link Text</a>
Nofollow is a “rel” attribute. The “Rel” attribute clarifies the relationship between the page where the link points to and the page where the link is.
According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, links marked with rel attributes are not be followed.
The nofollow tag is essentially a notice sign for search engine algorithms saying, “don’t count this link as link juice.”
The differences between Dofollow and Nofollow links are simple. Dofollow links pass PageRank’s signals and earn “link juice.”
Nofollow links don’t earn “link juice.” Essentially, the only difference between Dofollow and Nofollow links is in how search engine algorithms treat them.
The links function in the same way. However, search engine algorithms see Dofollow links as more valuable than Nofollow links.
Webmasters can’t really create “dofollow links.” They can only create “followed links” by ensuring they don’t contain nofollow attributes.
Any followed link that doesn’t contain nofollow attributes can be called a Dofollow link.
To clear this up, let’s assess what these links look like in code –
The first example is a regular, followed link –
<a href="yournewlink.com">what your new link is about</a>
· The second example is of a nofollow link –
<a rel="nofollow" href="yournewlink.com">what your new link is about</a>
In these examples,
- <a> is a link-tag. It contains the website link itself, the site’s anchor text, and all instructions created for it.
- “href” is a link attribute. It specifies the URL.
- “rel” is a link attribute. It symbolizes the relationship between the linked and the source page.
- “nofollow” is a value of the rel link attribute. It informs search engines to not follow the link and not give the source page “link juice.”
As we can see, there’s no rel=”dofollow” command in the code. It’s the default conduct that goes without specifying.
The Importance of Dofollow Links in SEO StrategiesHaving dofollow links on your website is critical to its SEO success. Receiving backlinks from reputable websites can boost your site’s PageRank scores and increase its SERP ra Click To Tweet
Website admins must use nofollow links to gain more control over their websites. If you want to inform Google that you don’t vouch for the links on your webpage, use nofollow. For instance, if there are many user-submitted links on your website, use nofollow to instruct Google not to crawl them.
Use dofollow on links that you vouch for by not modifying them to be nofollow links. Search engine crawlers will continue crawling through these links. These links on your website will receive “link juice.” Having dofollow links on your website will help you expand website traffic.
Add links of other high-quality websites and don’t include the nofollow tags. The algorithm will naturally crawl through those high-quality page links and boost their PageRank scores. The same will happen when another reputable website adds your links.
Google and other search engines use nofollow tags on your website to learn what types of links you prefer endorsing. Based on this assessment, the search engines determine how high your website should rank in the SERPs. Every website should have a healthy mixture of nofollow and dofollow links.
This healthy mixture will tell the search engines that you’re providing valuable content via your web pages. More importantly, it will tell the search engines that your web pages aren’t designed to only earn PageRank points. Use dofollow links strategically to boost your search ranking efforts!