Need to Know SEO: Follow vs NoFollow Links

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“Follow” vs “NoFollow” Links & SEO Success

No matter the web property, one of the main goals is to get as much quality traffic as possible to your site. In order to do this, you need to concentrate on making your website attractive for search engines and users.  This is a process known as search engine optimization, or SEO. An important part of this process is acquiring links to your site. Simply put, a link from an external site to your site is like a vote of approval to Google and will help you to rank higher, but all links are not created equal. Today we are going to talk about the difference between “follow” and “nofollow” links and how they effect the SEO success of your website.

What is a “follow” link?

For the most part, a follow link is a traditional HTML link that you normally use to place a hyperlink into text. Users can easily click on the hyperlink to visit a new webpage. However, where follow links differ from nofollow links is what they tell search engine crawlers to do. They tell crawlers to index this link and allow it to count towards PageRank. Page Rank is “ … the importance of the webpage you’re viewing, according to Google. Webpages with a higher PageRank are more likely to appear at the top of Google search results.” This is the type of link that serves as a vote of confidence for your website, and helps your SEO.


What is a “nofollow” link? 

A nofollow link looks the same as a follow link to users. It is still very visible, and it is still clickable. The main difference is the fact that it tells search engine crawlers NOT to follow the link. This means that PageRank is not transferred to the linked site. While a nofollow link lets traffic flow to your site, it doesn’t express a vote of confidence for your site, and as a result will not help your SEO.

“Follow” vs. “nofollow”

Now that you know the difference between a follow link and a nofollow link, you may be wondering why you would use a nofollow link at all. After all, you want to drive traffic to your website, and the best way to do that is to gain more exposure with search engines. However, not all follow links are good for your website. Search engines, such as Google, count some links against your website. These are usually referred to as spam links, and they can include links that you buy in bulk from websites. Another example would be placing a link to your site in the comment section of another webpage. A lot of times, these links do not provide quality links for your website. In this case, you want to make sure it is a nofollow link to ensure that search engines do not count that link toward your website.

Using “nofollow” links to increase traffic

Just because nofollow links do not count toward SEO does not mean that they will not help out your site. Nofollow links are still clickable by users and can help increase the traffic to your website. One well-placed nofollow link on a popular website related to your website can be worth the traffic of 10 follow links. When viewed in this light, it is easy to see why nofollow links are still important. They do not count toward PageRank, but they can still drum up some much needed traffic.

Hopefully, this helps to shed a bit of light on a subject that is a bit esoteric. Just remember that follow links from reputable websites to your site is good, and that “nofollow” won’t help your site’s SEO, but they can help to increase your traffic.