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Dofollow Backlinks vs. Nofollow Backlinks: SEO Secrets Revealed

Updated: Jan 12

The SEO Secrets of Backlinks. Difference between Dofollow and Nofollow backlinks and their impact on SEO.

Dofollow backlinks and Nofollow backlinks are two sides of the same coin. They work synchronously to define overall SEO strategy of any website. Traditionally, SEO experts have given more importance to dofollow backlinks than nofollow backlinks, rightly so, as dofollow backlinks help in improving the page rank.

But should you avoid nofollow backlinks? Are they not worth anything? Let’s find out today starting from the basics and we will reveal the SEO secrets related to backlinks.

What are Backlinks?

Backlinks are inbound or incoming links from other websites to your website page. It serves as a relevant link to the content in your website. Basically, it’s like the other website saying “Check this link out. You will find this useful”!

Search Engines like Google look for these backlinks and interpret this as an indication of the page’s relevance, credibility and authority.

That’s why backlinks are a very crucial element in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Without cracking the backlinks game, a website cannot rank higher on search.

There are two types of backlinks: 1). Dofollow Backlink and 2). Nofollow Backlink.

Dofollow link passes link juice. Nofollow link does not pass link juice.

Difference between Dofollow Backlinks and Nofollow Backlinks

Dofollow links are the VIPs of the SEO party. When a website links to your site with a dofollow link, it endorses your site page. This endorsement happens by passing, what we call, ‘link juice’ to the other site, boosting your page’s authority. When a website links to your site with a dofollow link, it essentially says “I endorse the content of this site and I find it credible, reputed and trustworthy”

Google views this favourably. The more dofollow backlinks your webpage has the more credibility it gains in the eyes of the search engines. This helps your site get better SEO ranking and it climbs up the SEO ladder.

Not surprisingly, most of the people favour and try to get as many dofollow backlinks as possible.

Nofollow links, on the other hand, are the unsung heroes of the SEO world. There is no ‘link juice’ that gets passed from that website to your site. When a website links to your site with a nofollow link, it essentially says “I acknowledge and link to this site but I do not endorse it.” So, there is no endorsement of credibility and authority to your site. 

Google does not consider nofollow backlinks as a ranking factor for the webpages.

Why do Nofollow Backlinks exist?

Initially, all the backlinks existed as dofollow backlinks. However, this led to many people dropping website links in comments and posts to increase their website ranking.

Think about all the comments and posts in a forum and social media websites. Do you think, all such links by users must be classified as dofollow backlinks. No! This will lead to lot of spamming and manipulation. Such backlinks do not vouch for any credibility!

That is the reason why Google later classified the backlinks as dofollow backlinks and nofollow backlinks.

Ofcourse, the next question is, are nofollow backlinks useful at all?

Impact of Nofollow Backlinks on SEO

Nofollow backlinks may seem to be a waste of time but however, they are very essential for a well executed SEO strategy. 

Nofollow backlinks make your link profile healthy through diverse and natural links. This tells search engines that the website is genuine and has not rigged for SEO backlinks. How? The presence of only dofollow links without nofollow links makes the search engine question the credibility of your site for any backlink malpractice.

Nofollow links may not pass the ‘link juice’ but they definitely pass a lot of organic traffic to your website. And organic visitors are the lifeline of any website. They are the interested leads who may convert down the line.

How to identify Dofollow Backlinks and Nofollow Backlinks

Check for nofollow link under 'Inspect Element'.

To check the type of backlink you get from a website, visit the website page which has linked back to your website.

Right click and select ‘Inspect’ or ‘Inspect Element’ while on the webpage. This lets you see the type of backlink.

A Nofollow backlink looks like this: <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>anchor text here</a>

A Dofollow backlink looks like this: <a href=””>anchor text here</a>.

You can also say that absence of rel="nofollow" on the link makes it a dofollow backlink. You can also say that the absence of rel="nofollow" on the link makes it a dofollow backlink.

Backlinks Analytics

There are great analytics tools which you can use to analyse your backlinks, get a bifurcation of dofollow and nofollow backlinks, identify gaps and devise a strategy.

You can refer to some of the good backlink analytics websites below:

1). Ahrefs

3). Moz

SEO Strategy with Dofollow and Nofollow Backlinks

Let’s look at inbound and outbound strategies for backlinks.

Inbound Links Strategy

For any external links from reputable websites that lead back to your site page, dofollow links are ideal. They are recognised by search engines and help in your page ranking factor. They may also bring in organic traffic to your website.

Nofollow backlinks do not help in your pagerank but you need to consider including them when:

a). You can get a nofollow link from a reputed site as it can drive traffic to your website. It may be some reputed news website or a reputed blog.

b). You want to diversify your link profiles. Having too many dofollow links may make it look manipulated and unnatural. 

In conclusion, you must use a healthy mix of dofollow and nofollow links. As usual, quality matters over quantity. So, getting endorsement from sites with great domain authority will help your page ranking.

Also note, Google places a lot of importance on relevance. So a backlink from a relevant webpage adds to the page ranking factor rather than an irrelevant webpage.

Example: If you have a blog about sportswear, a backlink from a sportswatch website adds a lot of value and helps in SEO ranking. However, a backlink from an educational institution website is irrelevant and does not add a lot of value.

Outbound Links Strategy

It is great to link back to great websites which you trust and endorse. You can do this from your blog which will help your audience and also add depth to your blog. Use dofollow links for such credible and reputed websites.

If you have been requested by a brand to link to their website use nofollow backlinks. Similarly for links in the blog comments or forums use nofollow backlinks. In summary, anything that you may not completely endorse or have keyword stuffed content or spammy content links can be attributed as a nofollow backlink.

Combine your backlink strategy with your internal links. Internal links are the links which point out between different web pages of the same website. These links are within the same domain and do not come from any external sources. They help search engines to understand the structure of your website and give credibility to your website. 

SEO strategy has a long lead time. How to know you are on right track? It helps to have experts by your side who can drive your SEO strategy in an optimised manner, just like Brandcoil does. Along with that, Brandcoil also helps to shape your overall brand strategy with well rounded services.

How long does Google take to recognize Dofollow Links to my website?

There is no steadfast timeline but generally, the search engine crawlers will recognize and attribute a dofollow backlink in a span of one to two weeks. 

If the backlink is from a low domain authority website then it may take even longer than a week. However, if the backlink is from a high domain authority website then the pagerank may improve within three to four days.

However, SEO is a continuous process and the strategies need to be implemented with a long term perspective in mind, so short term timelines may not be of importance.

Remember 'Rome was not build in a day'!

Backlinks along with other strategies will help you up your SEO game.

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