Link Types

No follow Links

Glossary  |  3 mins

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No follow links are links that have a rel=”nofollow” HTML attribute applied to them. This is used by webmasters to designate a link they want search engines to ignore, which can be done for a variety of reasons. Nofollow links do not pass PageRank value onto the target page, and therefore are unlikely to affect the organic search rankings of the target page or site.

Nofollow links can be identified in two main ways. For SEO professionals, the fastest and most popular method is locating it within the backlink profile of a given domain using any good SEO tool. Alternatively, you can highlight the link on the referring page, right click on it, and click “inspect” (or a similar command) to view the page source. If you see a rel=”nofollow” link attribute in the highlighted portion of the page’s source code, then the link has been nofollowed.

Though dofollow backlinks (any links without a nofollow attribute) will have a more direct positive impact on your site’s organic rankings, that doesn’t mean that nofollow link building is completely useless.

Though nofollow backlinks may not pass PageRank and won’t directly impact the way Google ranks your website, they can still act as a powerful source of traffic. This traffic, combined with a user-friendly site design, can generate positive user engagement signals that will increase your chances of strong organic rankings.

Nofollow backlinks can also be viewed as positive because they can help diversify your backlink profile. A naturally formed backlink profile will have a mixture of both dofollow and nofollow backlinks, with many backlinks from social media platforms and forums such as Reddit being nofollow by default. If a backlink profile has nothing but dofollow links or an unnaturally high proportion of dofollow links, then it can be viewed as spammy by search engine algorithms.

Although paid links are explicitly against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, there are cases where webmasters may want to buy links for the traffic alone. Ensuring that you’re only using nofollow sponsored links can reduce or eliminate the chances of the target site being issued a manual penalty.

For the best chances of strong organic rankings, webmasters must audit the dofollow/nofollow status of their links regularly. This involves checking that all sponsored links and links with exact-match anchor text are nofollowed, and that all internal links do not have a nofollow attribute, unless they’re pointing to a page that you specifically want to exclude from the Google index.

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No Follow Link FAQs

What is a nofollow link in SEO?

A nofollow link is any hyperlink with a “rel=nofollow” HTML attribute attached to it. This attribute tells search engine crawlers to ignore the link. Therefore, nofollow links do not pass PageRank equity to the pages they’re linking to, and won’t have a direct impact on organic rankings. Although nofollow links are less sought after in typical link building campaigns, they still serve an important function in helping backlink profiles and internal linking structures appear natural.

What is the difference between nofollow and dofollow links?

Dofollow links are any links that don’t carry a “rel=nofollow” HTML attribute, and can therefore be followed by search engine crawlers. In SEO, the primary difference between dofollow and nofollow links is that dofollow links can pass PageRank equity, often called link juice, to their target pages, whereas nofollow links cannot.

Questions to ask your link builder