What Are Dofollow and Nofollow Backlinks? -
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What Are Dofollow and Nofollow Backlinks?

Craig Dewart

Written by Craig Dewart

What Are Dofollow and Nofollow Backlinks?
published April 27, 2023

Understand the difference between nofollow and dofollow backlinks with the Link City experts.

If you're actively building backlinks for your site, you should understand the differences between a nofollow and a dofollow link and how they affect the performance of your site. If you have been asking, "what are dofollow and nofollow links?" then you're in the right place!

Link City prides itself on our link building expertise, and is ready to offer you the best dofollow backlinks for your website.

A dofollow link, otherwise referred to as a followed link is actually just a regular hyperlink. It is being referred to as such solely in the context of the nofollow value. To underline that, the link does not need to live up to any regular expectations, like passing authority and link juice to sources, and isn't subject to certain SEO instructions.

This is what the link looks like in a code:

  1. <a href="yourlink.com">what your link is about</a>

  2. <a rel="nofollow" href="yourlink.com">what your link is about</a>

  • <a>: This is a link tag containing the actual link, the anchor text, and all of the instructions for it.
  • href: The link attribute which specifies the specific URL.
  • rel: The link tag characterizing the relationship between the linked page and the source page.
  • nofollow: The value of the rel attribute telling search engines that the link should not be followed.

Link 1 above is a regular, followed link, and link 2 is a nofollow link. As you can see, the code does not contain any references to rel="dofollow" because it is the implied default.

All of this means that links function as the web intended them to: as authority signals that raise the authority of the web pages they cite. This is true even when no additional attribute values are added to the code.

With the launch of the PageRank algorithm in 1998, Google began interpreting citations as votes that pass weight on websites, making the most cited ones the most reputable and high-ranking. Going back to the early days of internet searches, Google was the first search engine to allocate a crucial role to links.

The primary aspect of links has stayed the same despite changes to the algorithm and the ways SEOs go about acquiring links: having reputable outside sites to link to you will improve your rankings.

The nofollow attribute value informs search engines that a recommended web page isn't always what you wish to give credit to when a website doesn't want to promote linked sources.

It now functions as a suggestion rather than a directive, which makes it distinct from several new values created for sponsored and user-generated content.

In reaction to the rise in comment spam, Google introduced nofollow in 2005. Webmasters would add links to their own websites in the comment areas of other websites or forums and gain higher rankings regardless of the comment's relevance or the overall quality of their pages.

Yahoo and Bing eventually supported this idea too.

Nofollow started acting as a directive in 2005, and search engines would steadfastly ignore nofollowed links and not crawl them. It prevented some manipulations but didn't address all the issues posed by various link types and the levels of trust associated with them.

Google changed its perspective on nofollow links in 2019. They introduced new attribute values and made nofollow a hint. This means that a link can still be crawled and used in the ranking process, even if it is nofollowed. A nofollow backlink does not pass PageRank.

It is impossible for a user to distinguish between a nofollow and a dofollow link. Like any other link on the internet, a nofollow link can be clicked, copied, and used. However, there is a significant difference between nofollow and dofollow links in terms of search engine optimization.

Simply put, dofollow links help rankings on SERPs, but nofollow links don't.

There are some main differences between dofollow and nofollow links. Here is everything you need to know about dofollow vs nofollow links:

  • Dofollow links can pass link equity (also called link juice) from one site to another site.
  • Search engine crawlers follow them.
  • When performance is crucial, they are great for link-building purposes.
  • Pages that have dofollow links pointing toward them should not have noindex tags applied to them.
  • If there is a large-scale effort for building backlinks, then they are not recommended.
  • They help on a cross-domain level.

  • A nofollow link cannot pass on any link equity from one site to another.
  • They are usually not followed by search engine crawlers.
  • They are great for sponsored or paid content and for user-generated content (UGC)
  • Pages that have nofollow links pointing to them may still be indexed.
  • Since the link attributes applied to them are never visible to website visitors and users, they do not harm the user experience.
  • They won't hurt you unless the links form part of a mass-scale action.

The Benefits Of Rankings And SEO

Nofollow and dofollow links can significantly help your SEO efforts and rankings. Here's how:

When talking about link value for rankings, it generally refers to backlinks, which are the links you get to your site from various external sources. All search engines have various ranking factors, and high-quality backlinks sit at the top two factors.

The number of received links is crucial, but they impact rankings in a much more nuanced way. When search engines evaluate backlinks, they take the following into consideration:

  • External source authority: A web page will pass on more value to the various pages it sites. The more backlinks from authoritative sites, the more trustworthy it is.
  • Organic link building: Search engines offer suggestions for creating natural backlinks rather than purchasing them. Participation in link schemes (reciprocal exchange or excessive purchasing), if discovered, will result in penalties.
  • Relevance: The link must be relevant to the content it has been added to. The anchor text should also reflect what the source is about.
  • Diversity of referring domains: Although having solid link-building ties with one particular domain is beneficial, the more domains that refer to you, the better.
  • Freshness: Newer backlinks hold a lot more value than older backlinks do.
  • Link placement: Links that are naturally inserted into the material, particularly within the first 200 words, are the most beneficial for SEO. Links that are hidden from users run the risk of receiving fines from search engines.

It makes perfect sense that websites would strive to obtain as many followed backlinks as possible. Receiving nofollow links, however, is also valuable because it can raise your site's traffic, rankings, brand awareness, and link-building prospects.

Here is how nofollow backlinks can improve your SEO:

  • A nofollow link increases awareness and drives traffic: Links posted on well-known websites will undoubtedly get visitors' clicks. Users may view the linked source and potentially even navigate to other website pages if they find it to be interesting and relevant to the context.
  • Nofollow links impact your rankings: Now that Google treats these links as hints, it can follow these nofollwed links and include them in its ranking calculations. Some nofollowed links are given more weight than some followed links when it comes to ranking factors. Regardless of their attribute values, it is safe to claim that links from reliable websites benefit your website.
  • They open up opportunities for dofollow backlinks: A website is more well-known by users and SEOs the more links it receives overall. Your chances of acquiring followed links rise as your backlink profile expands with nofollow links.
  • They help build a natural backlink profile. Search engines will be suspicious of the dofollow-only backlink profile since it may appear that all links are bought and agreed upon rather than earned via the value of the content.


When you don't want to provide the website any ranking power or "link juice," you should utilize nofollow links. Simply said, the nofollow tag will stop other websites that are linked to your website from receiving credit.

You can get more dofollow links through guest posts, and building relationships with other relevant people in your industry. There are tons of effective tactics you could use, or you can enlist the help of Link City!

Nofollow can be useful when you need to stop Google and other search engines from following links that can be harmful or unrelated to the content of your website.

Dofollow links pass PageRank signals, usually referred to as SEO or link juice, while Nofollow links do not. This is the main distinction between the two types of links.

Final Thoughts

Dofollow and nofollow links can add SEO value in different ways, and your site can benefit, especially from high-quality dofollow links. If you want help with your link profile and link-building strategy, then Link City LTD has just the team for you!

Getting quality links has never been easier!

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