Link building is an essential aspect of search engine optimisation (SEO). When it comes to building links, understanding the difference between follow and nofollow links is crucial. In this article, we will explain what follow and nofollow links are, their significance in SEO, and how to use them effectively.
What are follow and nofollow links?
Follow and nofollow are two types of HTML link attributes that instruct search engines on how to treat the links when crawling and indexing web pages. These attributes are used by website owners and developers to control the flow of link equity or link juice to other websites.
Follow links: When a link has the follow attribute, it indicates to search engines that the link should be followed and that the target web page can be crawled and indexed. Follow links contribute to the overall link equity of a web page and can pass authority and relevance to the linked page.
Nofollow links: On the contrary, when a link has the nofollow attribute, it tells search engines not to follow the link and not to pass any link equity. Nofollow links are commonly used when the website owner doesn’t want to endorse or vouch for the linked page, or when the link is user-generated (e.g., comments, forums, etc.). Nofollow links do not directly impact a website’s search engine rankings.
The significance of follow and nofollow links in SEO
Both follow and nofollow links play a significant role in SEO. Here’s why:
Follow links and link equity: Follow links are valuable for SEO because they contribute to a website’s link equity. When reputable websites link to your site using follow links, it signals to search engines that your content is trustworthy and relevant.
Nofollow links and brand exposure: Nofollow links may not pass link equity, but they can still provide opportunities for brand exposure and referral traffic. These links can drive real users to your website and increase awareness of your brand or content.
Balancing link profiles: A healthy link profile includes a mix of both follow and nofollow links. Search engines evaluate the overall link profile of a website to assess its authority and trustworthiness. Having a natural mix of follow and nofollow links indicates a diverse and organic link building strategy.
Avoiding penalties: Excessive use of follow links or manipulative link building practices can be seen as an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings. By using nofollow links appropriately, you can avoid penalties from search engines and maintain a good standing.
User-generated content: When users contribute content to your website (e.g., comments, forums, etc.), using nofollow tags on those user-generated links helps protect your site from potentially harmful or spammy external links that users may include.
How to use follow and nofollow links effectively
When it comes to using follow and nofollow links effectively, consider the following strategies:
Strategic link building: Focus on acquiring high-quality follow links from reputable websites that are relevant to your industry. These links will contribute to your website’s authority and improve search engine rankings.
Nofollow for user-generated content: If your website allows user-generated content, such as comments or forum posts, implement the nofollow attribute on those links. This can help prevent spam and protect your website’s search engine rankings.
Guest blogging and partnerships: When guest blogging or collaborating with other websites, it is essential to understand their linking practices. Ideally, you want the links back to your site to be follow links, but if they insist on nofollow links, ensure the content and brand exposure are still valuable.
Using nofollow on non-relevant or low-quality links: If you encounter a situation where you need to link to a non-relevant or low-quality website, such as when citing a source, it may be appropriate to use the nofollow attribute to avoid associating your website with dubious content.
Monitoring your link profile: Regularly monitor your website’s link profile using tools like Google Search Console or third-party SEO software. This will help you identify any unnatural or spammy backlinks and allow you to take appropriate action.
In conclusion, follow and nofollow links carry varying importance in SEO. Follow links contribute to a website’s link equity, while nofollow links still provide brand exposure and referral traffic. Balancing both types of links in your link building strategy is crucial to maintaining a healthy and organic link profile. Understanding when and how to use follow and nofollow links correctly will help you improve your website’s search engine rankings and protect your site from potential penalties or spam.