Understand DoFollow & Nofollow Link: SEO Basics

Whenever 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.

Nofollow Dofollow

Did You Know?

Nofollow is an HTML attribute value used to instruct search engines bots 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 between NoFollow & Dofollow

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. Even though, it’s a good practice to use Nofollow link attribute to those link, where you don’t want to pass link-juice.

Example of Nofollow Link:

<a href=”http://www.google.com/” 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=”http://www.google.com/”>Google</a>

Note: By default all the hyperlinks are dofollow. So, you don’t need to do anything to make a link do-follow.

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=”http://www.google.com” rel=”nofollow”>

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

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 the nofollow link attribute.

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

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Article By
Anoop Sudhakaran is a Tech Blogger from Mumbai, India.He is the Founder & Editor of HackTabs. His areas of Interest include Computers, Blogging, Gaming, Internet Surfing. At HackTabs he writes about Technology,Internet Security,Ethical Hacking,Blogging,Microsoft Windows,SEO,Mobiles and Gadgets.


COMMENTs ( 44 )

  1. says

    Hi Harsh,

    1. Should the internal/external links in the Comments be NoFollow?
    2. At present, all my external and internal links are DoFollow except affiliate links, is it a good practice?
    3. I came across some articles on my site where my internal links are NoFollow, I’m shocked at this. How can I make all internal links as Dofollow? Is there any setting or plugin which will override my current setting> I don”t know why this happened.

    Please reply to my queries.


  2. says

    HI There,
    Thank You for the nice Article, I am a blogger template designer and currently i am giving a do-follow link of my website in all the footer links of my blogger template. Is it a good way to increase backlinks or google can penalized me for this. please help me with the rply or some other resources.

    thank you in anticipation

    • says

      Hey Deepak, one thing I’ve begun doing is settingthe footer link as dofollow ONLY on the front page, and making the links on every other page nofollow. That way your back links don’t look really spammy if a site using your template has lots and lots of pages.

  3. WesW says

    Forgive me if I’m being obtuse, but there’s something fundamental I’m not understanding here.

    Let’s say I publish Page A, and someone else publishes Page B. On Page B is an outbound link to my Page A. How am I supposed to control whether that is a DoFollow or NoFollow link if it’s on someone else’s page?

  4. says

    Hi Anoop,

    Your article makes is simple not only for entry level but even at the mid level, because there are lot of confusions when it comes to dofollow and no follow in SEO.

  5. says

    Finally an article that clearly explains what these confusing SEO terms mean. I have a question for writer.

    Usually when we leave comments on the blog using Disqus or like in this case, we add our blog link to profile. So does that comment backlink is dofollow or nofollow?

  6. says

    Hello! I read this article and really like it, I always confused about no-follow and do-follow links. Where can I get some do-follow links for my website? How can I decrease the Alexa ranking of my website, as it was increasing day by day.

  7. says

    really nice post Harsh i did not know about all these dofollow, nofollow but after reading all these i feel comfortable and really learn a lot

  8. vikas chauhan says

    Hi, Every time confuse when i m using backlinks . Where should i use nofolllow and dofollow to backlinks

  9. says

    Thanks for such an informative post. It made my concepts clear regarding difference between dofollow and nofollow links. Keep on going for good stuff . Best of Luck.

  10. says

    Thanks Anup for this wonderful post.
    My only question was when to use Do Follow Links and when not to use. So I was in search for it and I found this article useful.
    Thanks for clarifying all my queries.

  11. says

    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?

  12. Nikhil Ganotra says

    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.

  13. Marco Gruber says

    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…

  14. deepak says

    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

  15. says

    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.

  16. Ryan says

    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?

  17. Ryan Leavitt says

    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?

  18. Arpan Jain says

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

  19. Bhawika says

    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.

  20. Mohit says

    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.

  21. Nihar says

    Thanks for this article.

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

  22. Jasmine says

    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!

  23. suraj says

    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…

    • says

      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 says

      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 :)

  24. Rohan says

    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.

    • says

      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. :)

    • says

      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)

  25. Dinesh @ DailyBlogMoney says

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

    Thanks in advance

    • says

      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.

  26. Ankit Kumar says

    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.

  27. Usman@FirstHosting says

    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.

  28. aatif says

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