Dofollow Vs. Nofollow Links: Understanding The Crucial Difference


dofollow vs nofollow links

Links play a large part in your site’s SEO. This affects many of the factors that make up your website and its standing in the online community. Although the concept of links is usually brushed off as something basic, this is more complex than it sounds.

There are two distinct terms that you have to acquaint yourself with, though. These are the do-follow links and the no-follow links, both having great differences.

These links are also our topic for our article today. Specifically, we’re going to talk about what they are, their importance, and how they impact your SEO.

What is a backlink?

Before we start, let us first discuss what a backlink is.

Backlinks refer to links found in one website, which, when clicked, will redirect the user to another. These are usually displayed in the form of hyperlinks (image, text, bookmark) or through direct URL addresses integrated with between one’s content, whichever the content creator may prefer. Either way, it helps search engines recognize your platform as a high-value site.

In addition, backlinks are also considered by search engines like Google as a good determinant for a site’s search engine results pages or the SERPs. This means that this affects both the quality and the visibility of the platform.

This can either be a one-way, or a two-way process, wholly depending on the content creators involved.

A backlink can be one-way if you, for instance, decide to provide the link of another creator’s site to yours for the sole purpose of referring to it. On the other hand, the creator does not refer to your site in return for whatever reason. This is mostly the case for most websites.

On the flip side, if you integrate another creator’s link and use one of your content’s link back, it becomes a two-way process. This allows opportunities for recognition, engagement, and the building of a larger audience base.

This, however, is not a fixed or a go-to method to immediately increase your site’s ranking. This still requires a good amount of effort to actually bring some results. By effort, I am referring to a thorough search for the highest quality of the website that you can find, along with equally notable contents.

To make it clearer, here are some things that a high-quality backlink possesses:

1. Relevant

First off, the link that you will provide should greatly be related to what your content is all about. They should both be in the same niche, or better yet, the same topic. For instance, if you are writing about the businesses with the highest earnings, you should find content that talks about one of the businesses you refer to.

If you disregard relevancy, it is almost impossible to rank up the search engines. Your audience may even stray away from your site because of the lack of sense in the platform.

2. Read-Worthy Content

The next quality on our list is read-worthy. Along with being relevant, you also have to make sure that the content that you will link your readers to is informative, and at the same time, fun to read. This standard may differ from one creator to another, so it would help put yourself in your readers’ position when making a decision.

Also, choose content that provides more details than yours; using something with exactly the same information as yours will make the link repetitive and not worth it.

3. Reputable Site and Creator

This is an important factor to check before putting someone else’s link on your site. The domain, the site itself, and the site master or team should all be legitimate. They should have a good reputation. This means that they are not, or even look like a spam site, or just something unworthy.

You have to consider your audience’s peace of mind before redirecting them to another page. Keep away from sketchy-looking sites that make you feel like your virus will start harvesting malware any second.

4. Organic

Finally, try your best to keep the backlinking process organic. You may have known by now that there are a lot of link markets online, which is really tempting because it doesn’t require as much time and effort, but keep in mind that this is something that will not yield your desired results.

Links that are bought are found to have little to absolutely no effect on site rankings at all, compared to those organic ones. Of course, if your goal is to earn backlinks, you also have to pay great attention to your site and the content that you publish.

Now, how are backlinks related to our topic for today?

Both the do-follow links and the no-follow links are the main types of backlinks. This means that throughout the backlinking process, you either gather the other or, sometimes, both. Knowing the basics about backlinks is a step forward towards being knowledgeable about the former.



How do backlinks help with your SEO?

Moving on, this part of the article is an extension of the discussion about backlinks. It is not enough that you know what they are. You should also have a concrete idea regarding their importance and how they use it to manage your website.

Here is a list containing some of the factors affected by backlinks:

  • SEO
  • Marketing Strategies
  • Website’s Overall Status
  • Site Health
  • Report Analytics

Here, however, we will focus on the process of search engine optimization or SEO, as almost, if not all, of the factors, fit under this category. 

Below are some of the backlink-brought effects that will help with the said factor.

1. Boosts Credibility

You may refer to backlinks as some type of online citation. I am referring to regular citations usually seen in dissertations, theses, term papers, etc.

How so? 

We have discussed previously that this kind of linking strategy is done by a creator referring to another’s site to provide additional information or reading material. This means that if a site master uses your link, they have enough trust that your content/s will bring a better light on the topic.

Consequently, this will also help you build a good reputation and strong credibility among the readers, creators, search engines, and the whole online community.

2. Rank Factor

Search engines take a lot of factors into consideration when ranking websites and their pages. Keep in mind that these are evaluated separately, and thus you should not stop pushing in your SEO techniques even if a page or two is performing well.

Some factors included in rankings are the traffic, content quality, page visits, clicks, engagements, etc. Speaking of content quality, this is where the concept of backlinks is taken into account.

Simply put, if you have a fair amount of high-quality backlinks, they will likely contribute to your page’s domain and content relativity, which will, in turn, increase its SERP rank.

3. Aids in SEO Keywords

As we all know, keywords have a vital role in search engine optimization. If you are not yet familiar with what keywords are, these are words or phrases, usually ranging from a 1 to a group of 7 words. This is used by search engines to determine your site’s niche and/or topic. 

Another purpose of keywords is to allow users to connect with sites that are related to their queries. A good example of this daily occurrence is when we use Google to type in something we want to look up. 

Within seconds, we can already see online resources containing the topic we searched about. 

How do backlinks help with these? Backlinks can come in the form of URL and text hyperlinks. If you choose to display text hyperlinks, you can use more keywords whilst increasing the content’s value and still avoiding keyword surfing.

4. Increases Interactions and Engagements

Finally, backlinks will also provide more chances for interactions and engagements. This can be with your readers, but with greater possibilities towards other content creators. This provides opportunities for collaborations, which will help get your site’s name out there.

The process of earning and gathering backlinks is called link building. This involves a lot of methods, all having their own requirements and amount of effort. There are also multiple sources, which we will be discussing more in the later sections.

What is a Do-follow Link?

Now, let us go on to the first of our two main topics, the do-follow link. This is also commonly referred to as follow links.

What is a do-follow link?

This is probably new to some, as this is not often discussed when a conversation about backlinks is opened. Basically, do-follow links point to regular and default links. This is the standard state wherein links have the ability to redirect a user from one site to another. Taking this meaning into consideration, this is what a normal backlink is.

This type of backlink can also come in URLs and different hyperlink forms as long as its distinct functional trait is not overlooked. This concept is really something that should be easy to wrap your head into.

To simply put it, do-follow links are links that lead to another website. This is also not hard to gather because when you integrate hyperlinks, they are do-follow by default settings.

Here are some of the other traits of a do-follow link:

1. Recognizable

A do-follow link should be recognizable. This is in terms of the users in the online community and the search engines in general. 

This means that users can engage with redirected links, visit the site, and actually get something from it. On the other hand, search engines include this specific type of backlinks into their system and accept it as a part of the site’s management.

Do-follow links have made it easy for engines to familiarize themselves with it because it is created through regular hyperlink codes, e.g., the HREF command.

2. Contributes to Value and Quality

Another quality of the said link is its ability to significantly affect the site’s overall status. This may affect either the whole site, or just one specific page, or in some cases, both at the same time.

As do-follow links function exactly like a backlink, this will also improve factors like credibility, reputation, content value, and the likes. SEO is, of course, included in the things that do-follow links affect. The said link can also be used as a tool for keyword integration and improvement.

3. Ranking Factor

Search engines also consider do-follow links as one of the determinants of a site’s ranking. This is evaluated and used in gathering findings of the site’s performance throughout a certain period.

To make the most out of the do-follow link’s effectiveness, it is recommended that the links you have integrated are mostly do-follow, meaning most should serve their own purposes like, for instance, providing additional material.

If the said link concept is used fairly, there will be no doubt about your site garnering your ideal results in a shorter time compared to others with none.

5. Has Link Juice

Another term that you should acquaint yourself with is the link juice. This is what serves as the network allowing users and search engines to have access to the links that you have provided. This also refers to the value passed on from one link visit to another.

Note that only do-follow links are passed on through link juice because this is the only one of the two types that have the ability to build value in the site.

Both the do-follow and the no-follow links are related to HTML codes. In particular, do-follow links are built through regular codes, which is how you usually insert hyperlinks.

What is a No-follow Link?

Onto the next type of backlink, we have the no-follow link. This is the complete opposite of do-follow links but is still as important to know.

Now, what exactly is a no-follow link?

A no-follow link is a link that does not have a necessary contribution to a site’s quality. Unlike its counterpart, this is a modified case of link and is not recognized by sites when evaluation comes. This, however, does not mean that the no-follow link takes you to a spammy or distrusting site. This just means that there is no external path to follow. 

Most probably, the only similarity that this has with the former, the do-follow link, is its form. No-follow links are not an exception when and where you can use hyperlinks and direct URL addresses.

For a clearer definition, no-follow links still lead to another site or page, but it does not add to the significant ranking factors of the site it is in. This is used solely to provide the same purpose, but without going through the risk of integrating spam sites.

Below are the qualities of a no-follow link:

1. Recognized But Not Evaluated

No-follow links are recognized by search engines. The system is familiar with the concept, and it is considered a part of the elements of a website. However, this is not counted if search engines compute for the site’s ranking.

You can consider this as a link that is integrated purely for display. Users can access it, they will be still be directed to related material, but you can’t expect it to contribute to your site’s status when it comes to the SERPs.

2. Does Not Have Significant Value

The said link also does not have its own value. As previously stated, this is just for display, and thus, it has no contributing value. These links get no credit and do not necessarily affect one’s reputation in the online field.

3. Counters Negative Ranking

Although the traits of a no-follow link may seem like it is unnecessary, it is actually an important factor. This will still affect certain factors; though these factors may not be as significant, this can actually be put to good use.

How exactly can no-follow links be important?

No-follow links actually counter negative rankings. If you use do-follow links too much, your site may be branded by search engines as a spam site. This will lead to lower ranking and credibility. However, through the former, you can use it as a replacement for links that are not that important, inbound links, for example, to avoid this possibility.

4. Has No Link Juice

The link type at hand also does not have a link juice. This is because a path is not laid out for no-follow links. This is unlike the do-follow links wherein users, and search engines can embark on a site discovery journey through connecting backlinks.

Using no-follow links will be perfect for linking to affiliate links or other sites that you own. These can also be considered when using promotional tactics. This will mainly help in gathering site visits and traffic.

This type of link also varies in the HTML code because here, a command coined no-follow is integrated with the code.

How to Check Do-follow and No-follow Links

If you are still confused about how you can differentiate do-follow links and no-follow links, you can refer to the following methods to be familiar with how to check a link type. For now, there are two main ways.

Part 1: HTML

Checking the site’s HTML codes is probably the simplest way to determine the type of link you have.

Simply follow the succeeding steps:

1. Right-click on the link on the site’s page.

The first step that you should do is to right-click on the link that you want to check. It is essential that your mouse pointer is at the link and not just on any other part of the site to make it easier for you to look for the code. This is because the link’s code will be automatically highlighted if you directly point your mouse to it.

Once you make a right-click on your mouse, you will be able to access a menu. The contents may vary from one search engine to another, but in Google Chrome, you should be able to see “Open link in a new tab,” “Open link in a new window,” “Open link in an incognito window,” “Save link as…”, “Copy link address,” and “Inspect.”

2. Choose “inspect”

From the menu, look for the “Inspect” command. In Google Chrome, it can be seen at the last of the menu.

Once clicked, you will immediately see a menu, more like a notepad, containing the website’s HTML codes. The link’s code is highlighted automatically in blue. This is where the next step takes place.

3. Check for tags

Now that you already have access to the link’s code, the last thing you have to do is pretty simple. You just have to check for the tags included in the code.

If you see a regular hyperlink code, the HREF command, then it is a do-follow link.

On the other hand, if the code includes a no-follow tag and the hyperlink code, it is definitely a no-follow link.

As you can see, the only difference between the two when it comes to the HTML method is that do-follow links have a default coding, while no-follow links have a no-follow tag. This is also what you need to integrate to convert a link to a no-follow one on your site.

This may seem overwhelming at first if you are not that familiar with codes, but it does provide a simple and inexpensive way to check links.

Part 2: Plugins/Web Extensions

The second method, and the last on our list that you can do, involves using extensions or plugins. You can access free ones on your search engine’s local app store and simply searching “no-follow link checker” or “link checker.”

Some most recommended apps include No-follow, Automatic Backlink Checker, SEOQuake, and Mozbar, all of which can be accessed through Google Chrome and/or Firefox.

You can also opt for online tools but consider this only if you have a budget to spare.

It is essential to know how to differentiate a do-follow link from a no-follow one to make it easier for you to apply the learnings on your own site.

Ways to Get Do-follow Links

As no-follow links are basically generated through the no-follow tag, the only thing left to know is where you can find do-follow links.

Earning do-follow links are the same as earning backlinks. Below are some sources:

1. Manual Search

The first way to get backlinks is by manually searching the net for possible citation links. This may require a lot of time and effort because you need to read each content to determine its quality, but it is also one of the best ways to entirely be sure of the links you will potentially provide.

This doesn’t mean that you have to open every single result, of course. You can simply search about the topic or your niche. Opt for the top results, or if you prefer, you can browse through the different pages and start from a lower one to ensure the uniqueness of the link that you will provide.

Once you find a content or two that exceeds your standard, you can now go on to copy their link back to your site. You can even inform the creators in the process for more chances of earning a backlink in return.

2. Guest Blogging

Guest blogs are also one of the most commonly used ways of getting do-follow links. You can either organize your own guest blogging site, but if that is too much work for you, you can simply navigate to sites that accept guest blogs, and you can go on to exploring the vast amount of choices there.

The main advantage that this gives is that creators already provide a sample of their work, and you don’t have to spend more time reviewing each link that they have given.

3. Social Media

The community of a search engine is wider than you are expecting. Taking this into account, you can use social media sites as a starting point. One particular platform that I can recommend is LinkedIn because LinkedIn users mainly specialize in the online business, bloggers included. 

This is an efficient way to find other creators with the same niche as yours and their site addresses.

It is best to keep in mind that you should have a high standard in choosing the links that you will provide in your content. The quality of these will greatly affect your site’s quality and your readers’ perception of it.

Summary: Do-follow Vs. No-follow Link: Understanding the Crucial Difference

The process of link building is important in increasing your site’s overall value and ranking. You must have concrete knowledge about backlinks, specifically their types, the do-follow links, and the no-follow links to efficiently do this.

Note that the do-follow links and the no-follow links, although they serve different purposes and intensity of site impact, are equally important. This means that you should balance using it on your site to garner the best results.



John Kilmerstone

I'm an Aussie living in Japan who enjoys traveling, photography, and blogging. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of blogging. Discover how to turn your passions and pastimes into an online business.

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