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Understand DoFollow & Nofollow Link: SEO Basics

Understand DoFollow & Nofollow Link: SEO Basics

When ever we talk about search engine optimization, some of the common words are noindex, doindex, nofollow, dofollow, meta robots and so on. All the words hold equal importance in the book of SEO. In this post I will be explaining about Nofollow and Dofollow. Specially for newbies who are new to SEO or people who are still not clear about Nofollow or dofollow, this post will be useful.


Did You Know?

Nofollow is an HTML attribute value used to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index. It is intended to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, thereby improving the quality of search engine results and preventing spamdexing from occurring in the first place. This is a concept introduced by Matt Cutts and Jason Shellen in the year 2005.

What Is The Difference?

Nofollow links attributes do not allow search engine bots to follow link.That means if the website owner is linking back to you with nofollow attributes, it does not pass on link juice. Only Humans will be able to follow the links. Though some time back Google made it clear that they don’t consider nofollow link attributes but weightage of such links are really less.

Example of Nofollow Link:

<a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Google</a>

Dofollow links allow google (all search engines) to follow them and reach our website. Giving us link juice and a backlink. If a webmaster is linking back to you with this link both Search Engine and Humans will be able to follow you. The best way to give someone dofollow love is allowing keyword in the anchor text. This means when you are linking to any website or page, use the targeted keyword as anchor text.

Example of Dofollow Link:

<a href=””>Google</a>

Important Notice:-

Recently Google have said that they will still count the nofollow link as an outgoing link in terms of the distribution of page rank from your page. Though again it also depends on where that nofollow link is places. Placing a nofollow link at the bottom of the page has least impact and when placed at the top of the page, it carries some impact.

Types Of No-Follow

  • Robots Meta Tag : <meta name=”robots” content=”nofollow” />

This tells bots/crawlers/spiders not to follow links on the full page.

  • Link Attribute : <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>

This tells search engines not to count the link in terms of ranking pages.

Specially for WordPress blog, you can use Robots meta plugin to put nofollow, noindex attributes in a single blog post or complete site. If you use Thesis Theme, you can use Thesis inbuilt SEO features to put nofollow, noindex attributes. You can refer to earlier post on How Thesis Theme helps to lower WordPress plugins for more details.

Quick tip: Try to keep noindex attribute for pages like contact and nofollow attribute for affiliate links on your blog posts. If you are linking to any spam website for any reason, use nofollow link attribute.

Do let me know if you have more questions regarding basics of Nofollow or Dofollow?

This is a guest post by Anoop who blogs at HackTabs. If you would like to write for ShoutMeLoud, check our guest posting guidelines.

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    { 28 comments… add one }

    • Abhijit Bangal

      Thanks for the tips. I now know much about these links types. The only thing I need to ask if commenting like this, won’t count towards backlinks, then which types of commenting will give my site value?

    • Nikhil Ganotra

      Hello Anoop,
      Really, this was an informative post regarding Dofollow and Nofollow links. Being a newbie I was having a big misconception regarding these links. But this article has cleared it all.

      Should we use no follow attributes to the infographics that we take from other websites?
      Please help me out.

      BTW thanks for sharing this awesome content.

    • kishor

      Awesome Article.I helped me to understand the basic of Dofollow.

    • Marco Gruber

      i just started to learn about the SEO, so far i understand it well, but their
      is still lot of work ahead, blogs and yourube videos have helped me alot…

    • deepak

      Nice Information anoop and harsh:) i also now got what is exact dofollow and nofollow. but anyways by default its dofollow or nofollow in any page like wordpress:) thanx

    • Anil Kumar

      Thanks for modifying this post after rohan’s comment. Keep posting such type of article.

    • Zahra Naqvi

      Its really very well written article about the difference between nofollow or dofollow links. I read many articles before but i never understand. After reading this article i have cleared my concept regarding nofollow or dofollow links. Thanks and keep posting such a nice articles. Best of luck.

    • Ryan

      Hi. Thanks for the great article.

      I have a client who wants to post on my blog and add links to a casino gambling site and is requesting do-follow links. Should I allow it?

    • Ryan Leavitt

      Thanks for the info on what nofollow and dofollow links are, but when it comes to SEO dont you need to have links to both kinds or am i totally wrong on this?

    • Arpan Jain

      Nice post, I was always being confused between dofollow and nofollow links. Thanks for sharing this info.

    • Bhawika

      This post is very really informative. I am just in process of understanding do follow and no follow and this post will help me and yes conversation between anup and harsh is really is really good.

    • Mohit

      Thanks Anoop for this valauble post. I wish bloggist stop negative marketing, Ofcourse if you are giving a tribute to somebody with a nofollow it seams that hands raised to salute but fallen of midway.

      Hope this nofollow will end. What is wrong in following is the open question to everybody. if you keep tributing someone with your valuable contents. Some holy day he has to return a tributary back link to yours. So keep contributing and tributing with dofollow.

    • Nihar

      Thanks for this article.

      I was under impression that simply nofollow means not to follow. But thanks for your important notice.

    • Jasmine

      I do understand the basics of do-follow and no-follow, but this post is still very informative. I also love it when the reader commented to correct any mistakes in the post… this is a great community!

    • suraj

      Hello Anoop,
      Any SEO expert will not be agree with your most of the above statements.
      First thing nofollow don’t mean that link is spam, if that link is spam then why anyone going to link with nofollow attribute?
      Second thing Google follows all nofollow links but don’t pass PR juice. (But as new changes Google distributing PR to nofollow links)
      Also I am not sure why Harsh approved this article…

      • Harsh Agrawal

        Hey Suraj
        I believe Anoop meant to say that any link which is spammy on nature and you have to link to it, better use Nofollow link attributes…
        Your second point was already mentioned above…
        Correct me if I missed something here…

      • Anoop Sudhakaran

        Hi Suraj
        I did not anywhere mention that No follow is only used for Spam Links, Infact any webmaster would not allow spam comments to be posted if they are on approve basis like SML. Do-Follow is a way to reward the commentors and No-Follow is used by many webmasters to Prevent the bot from crawling unimportant links.

        Secondly I have stated above that google now follows no-follow but dont allow page rank to be distributed to them.

        still Thanks for your valuable comment :)

    • Rohan

      Get the basics right buddy .
      “Nofollow links do not allow themselves to be indexed by Search Engines ”
      Really ?
      Nofollowing one link does not mean content will not get indexed , there are several ways in which a bot can reach a page and it will still index the destination page . Adding nofollow in a link pointing does not mean it will get no indexed . If so , i will make a post on my blog point to my competitors posts and make it nofollow , will that mean that my competitors posts will not get indexed?

      Second thing
      “if the website owner is linking back to you, it does not affect your SEO.”
      google cleared in 2006 itself that no incoming link , even if its spammy can affect a site because they understand that a webmaster cannot control who links to them .

      “Recently Google have said that they will still count the nofollow link as an outgoing link ”
      Yes true ! they will count it as an outgoing link but the PR juice will not be passed , it will just be drained but not credited to the nofollowed URL .

      nw, nice post !
      Please correct me with proper proof from an authentic source if i am wrong.

      • Harsh Agrawal

        Hey Rohan
        Thanks for brining above correction into my notice and sad that this post was published with errors.. I have corrected the above mentioned points and hopefully you will enjoy reading it now. :)

      • Anoop Sudhakaran

        Thank you Rohan for correcting me! :)

      • Evinizi Yenileyin

        I was still lost in contradiction in reading. Thanks for the clearance!

        Yet I still have another question, how does nofollow take effect in other search engines besides Google? (Mainly Yahoo, AOL, and Bing)

    • Dinesh @ DailyBlogMoney

      Good explanation.
      Are you sure nofollow will stop indexing also or just only passing link juice?

      Thanks in advance

      • Harsh Agrawal

        Dinesh Technically Noindex will stop indexing of the page but will pass on link juice. If you wish to stop passing link juice, nofollow link attribute should be used. Though Google started following nofollow links but weight age is less for link marked with nofollow attributes.
        Nofollow has nothing to do with indexing of the page.

    • Ankit Kumar

      Nice one Anoop, I just wanted to know that if I’m creating any external links to Google or Facebook or any good site then which is good to have nofollow attribute or dofollow attribute. And what it is so.

      • Anoop Sudhakaran

        Your external links to authority sites might be even no-follow to sculpt your Page Rank.

    • Usman@FirstHosting

      In my last comment at SML I asked the question what is main diff between nofollow and dofollow and its totally answered here.

      thanks for a complete write up on this topic.

      • Anoop Sudhakaran

        Glad to see that your Question was resolved! :)

    • aatif

      Nice article … I am in this things for quite long days .. This article helped me to learn some thing about this topic .


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