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Nofollow vs Dofollow Backlinks Explained

Link Majesty Team
Updated on

So many people find it hard to differentiate between nofollow and dofollow links. Some even don’t understand what they really mean or how they work. So, we decided to come up with this post to explain how nofollow and dofollow backlinks are different from each other. Let’s get started! 

There are 4 link attributes on HTML hyperlink elements: dofollow, nofollow, sponsored, and UGC. Dofollow is the default value of a hyperlink. When you don’t add any rel=”value” tag on your HTML code, the link counts as a dofollow.

In 2005, Google recognized nofollow attributes to separate link categories. Google crawler and the ranking algorithm were going to skip nofollow links that time. It was helpful for webmasters to make sure spammy comment links were not going to harm their website’s SEO value.

Nofollow Vs Dofollow

After 14 years in 2019, Google introduced Sponsored and UGC attributes. We will talk about these attributes in a brand new article. Let’s move on to our main topic.

Difference Between Dofollow and Nofollow Links

When Googlebot crawls through a webpage, it follows dofollow links and crawls the linked pages as well whether they are internal or external. Googlebot shares this data with the Google ranking algorithm that established a relation between those pages. Dofollow links pass on “link juice” from the source to the destination page. 

When we talk about nofollow links, Googlebot doesn’t follow them. In other words, SEO experts use nofollow tags to tell search engines to ignore the link. These links hardly impact search ranking as they don’t transfer PageRank. 

However, in Sep 2019, Google announced a major change with the nofollow link attribute. Now Google crawler follows nofollow links and sends them to the ranking algorithm. After that, the ranking algorithm decides whether it should be considered or not. Nowadays, Google is so smart in terms of making decisions.

Benefits of Nofollow Backlink

Now, let’s talk about some of the benefits of using nofollow links in your content: 

  1. A nofollow link can be treated as a dofollow link 

As we mentioned earlier, after the Sep 2019 Google update, Google Algorithm decides whether a nofollow link should be treated as a dofollow or not. So, there is a chance to have an authority increment by implementing nofollow links.

  1. They help make a natural link profile

Generally, we do link building focusing only on dofollow links. Sometimes it turns out that our link profile looks manipulated. Nofollow links play a smart role here. They help us diversify link profiles. We can also play with anchors of nofollow backlinks to make the anchor profile look natural as well.

  1. They increase referring traffic and brand exposure 

There are a lot of brand exposure opportunities on forums, directories, social media, and social question-answer websites where you can build nofollow backlinks. These links help you get traffic to your website and increase your brand visibility.

How to Check if a Link Dofollow or Nofollow

You can check whether a link is dofollow or nofollow using a couple of ways. 

  1. HTML Code: The easier one is checking HTML code. Browsers provide a feature called Inspect Element. Just hover your pointer on the link and click the right button. From the dialogue box, click on Inspect Element. A window showing some codes will pop up just like the image below. This method is recommended if you just want to check a few links. But if a page has 10-15 links, then you should go for the next method.
Check Hyperlink Status
  1. Browser Extension: Install a “Nofollow” extension on your Chrome, Firefox or Edge. This extension highlights each nofollow link on a website like the image below.
Highlighted No-Follow Links

The use of browser extensions is pretty common among SEO specialists. If you’re an SEO expert, go with the browser extension. 

The Ratio of Nofollow & Dofollow Backlinks

There is no one-size-fits-all ratio for nofollow and dofollow links. It varies from industry to industry and business to business. SEO experts have different opinions on this subject. An ideal ratio could be around these figures: 50/50, 70/30, 60/40. 

If you’re not sure what ratio will work best for you, look up to your competitors and get some ideas from their backlink profile and anchor profile. You can use a good SEO tool to extract valuable competitor data.

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