Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Understanding Nofollow and Dofollow Attributes

Nofollow and dofollow links, what are they? If you have a website and have been working on building links any amount of time, I'm sure you have come across the terms "no-follow" and "do-follow". 

Let me explain the difference between "nofollow" and "dofollow" to you, where they came from and why you need to pay attention to them when it comes to building links. Let's start with a short history lesson. Originally all links were followed, meaning that they helped your rankings and sent link juice into your site. 

After blogs started becoming popular, website owners and seo firms started submitting spammy comments just to build links. If you run a WordPress site or use any other blogging software, I'm sure you are still seeing them come through.

To help combat the spam and keep these people from being able to game the system, the big search engines decided a few years back to implement the "no-follow" attribute for the link tag. Quickly thereafter, it became the default for any links that were created via comment.


Nofollow vs. Dofollow

What does the no-follow attribute do? It allows you to create a link that works just like any other one, but it is not considered in the search algorithm. In other words a nofollow link does not send out link juice and the anchor text used in it does not help the page you are pointing to rank higher.

Do follow links on the other hand are regular links like the ones you see at the end of this article. They do send link juice back to my site and the keywords I am using help my rank higher for my keywords.

When To Use Nofollow Links

Most of the time, you want to use dofollow, especially if you are building links to your own site. There are however some cases where it makes sense to use nofollow ones. You will mostly use this command on your own website. There are some links you add to your pages that are there primarily because you need to send traffic, not to boost search engine rankings

A perfect example is affiliate offers. Your sole purpose is to send traffic to the affiliate website, not to help them rank better.

Another good example is images that are linked. Since they don't have anchor text, you are better off not following them.

How to Use the Nofollow Attribute

To implement the nofollow attribute, take a look at the html code of your links. Here's the basic structure:

<a href= "(some url goes here)">anchor text goes here</a>

To make this link nofollow, we simply add rel="nofollow" to the tag like this:

<a href= "(some url goes here)" rel="nofollow"> anchor text goes here</a>

Some FAQ for Dofollow and Nofollow Attributes

As an internet marketer, you know that building links from other sites back to your own, or getting "backlinks" is incredibly important. What you may not be clear on however, is the difference between a nofollow and a dofollow backlink, and what to do with them.

Why IS link building so important?

Link building is important to any website, new or old, because it is essentially a quality indicator. It is one of the ways that the search engines, particularly Google, gauge the quality of and popularity of a site. Think of a website as a high school student, and think of the SERPS as a popularity contest. Now think of every link pointing back to your site from another site, as a vote of confidence that "your site is cool." In order to do well in the SERPS, a website needs, among other things, several votes of confidence. The concept is of course much more complex than this, but this analogy works well, particularly for new marketers.

What is "link juice" and why is IT so important?

"Link juice" is a rather complex subject, but simply put, it is the small bonus given to websites which have a diverse selection quality backlinks. Quality backlinks in this case means, links that are able to pass down their pagerank, (or PR) to other sites through the presence of a backlink placed there. It is important because these links and their passed PR can give you a ranking advantage, change the way a search engine looks at your site for the better, and boost your position in the SERPS.

Can you define "nofollow" vs. "dofollow?"

Nofollow - Links that are not able to pass down their PR to other sites. Dofollow - Links that are able to pass down their PR to other sites. These type are becoming more and more scarce today, however, they are the best and are being sought after by every blogger.

Why are "dofollow" links so special?

As mentioned, dofollow links are highly sought after because of the perceived benefit that they give to sites that have those kinds of links. The passing of PR from high PR sites to those that are newer is one reason. PR however is becoming less and less important with each Google algorithm change.

How do you spot dofollow links?

The easiest way is to use a tool of some kind which will tell you whether or not a particular place is follow or no follow, but if you're not using a tool and wondering how you spot dofollow, then you have to do something different. You must look at the page code for the attribute "rel=nofollow" to see whether or not a site is nofollow. If it does not have this attribute, then it is a dofollow site.

Are nofollow links really worth it?

Yes they are. They can still help a site be indexed even if they pass no link juice, and they help with a site's overall link diversity which is also important. Each search engine handles these links a bit differently and their algorithms are always changing, so it's best not to discount these kinds of links.