For those who have never dealt with SEO, the term “nofollow link” might sound like a link that is impossible to follow. Such understanding, in a sense, is true, but for the success of your site, you’d better have more advanced knowledge on this thing.
For the world of SEO, nofollow links are way more significant than for people from the street. Without including them in the list of backlinks, getting high at SERPs is hardly possible, and in this article we will try to explain why.
What Is A Nofollow Link And How Does It Differ From The Rest?
An ordinary Internet user can never distinguish, or rather, has no need to differ a no-follow link among others. The difference is formal and can be spotted only by those who know how to look into a site’s HTML code. “On the surface”, both no-follow and ordinary (or do follow) links look identical. But no-follow links have a certain peculiarity in their codes.
The code of a typical no-follow link looks this way:
<a href=”http://yoursuperbestsitehere.com” rel=”nofollow”>Your site</a>
While any ordinary do-follow link looks like this:
<a href=” http://yoursuperbestsitehere.com”>Your site</a>
So, all ordinary links by default have the code like in the second example. And it has been working fine so far, but something has forced Google to invent no-follow links.
To get a fuller view on the subject, you can also refer to this article from Ahref’s blog.
What are those links for?
A no-follow link “orders” search engine bots to not scan and index the website in it. This means that such a webpage won’t get any change in its ranking. Theoretically, it is rather sad for site owners who struggle to increase their website’s ranking. But first, this is just the first impression, and second, if such an attribute was invented, it had objective reasons for.
The thing is that some 15-20 years ago the Internet was full of spammers who have been leaving their spam messages under any interesting posts in blogs, social media, press releases, etc. To unload the Internet community from that all, there was invented an HTML-attribute that demotivated spammers from doing their dirty thing, – the rel=”nofollow” one. Now, all the links left in blogs, social media, forums became useless and bring no profit to their senders.
How Does This All Work?
From the very beginning of their functioning, no-follow links were ignored by Google. Links containing this attribute were just never indexed and crawled. However, in September 2019, Google announced a change in its attitude to no-follow links. Thenceforward, Google started considering them as not just ‘orders to overlook’ but rather ‘hints’. This implies that a no-follow link now can sometimes be investigated by bots of search engines. If the content it links to is valuable, then the no-follow link can improve the page’s ranking!
Besides, a couple of new attributes were also introduced by Google. They are treated as hints too and can in a sense be regarded as ‘explanations’ or specifications of the rel=”nofollow” attribute:
- The rel=”sponsored” attribute – shows the presence of compensation agreements like sponsorships, advertisements, etc.
- The rel=”ugc” attribute – hints on that the link originates from content generated by users
So, Google transformed a bit of its attitude to no-follow links. There appeared the possibility for no-follow links to be checked – crawled and indexed and if everything is ok – even counted for the webpage’s ranking. However, this is only a rather small possibility. In most instances, no-follow links are still no-follow links that don’t influence the webpage ranking. Backlinks that are and will always be in charge of your website’s ranking are ordinary or do-follow links! Therefore, you should first of all strive for ordinary do-follow links to your web source. And still, you shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the no-follow links to your site! All in all, they are significant for your website promotion.
The Importance of Nofollow Links For A Site Promotion
So, now you are aware of what no-follow links are, their short backstory, and that they basically are not important for your site promotion at all. But it appears that concerning their role in promoting a site’s ranking it is not that cut and dried. Nofollow links to your source can be quite helpful, and here is why:
- They make your link profile look more natural
To become successful a site needs to be regarded as credible by Google. One of the points for assessing a site for credibility is its link profile. Being credible in this regard means being diverse. Sites that have only do-follow links look rather suspicious. However, if you are not occupied in fishing or other illegal Internet activities, having 100% do-follow links to your source is hardly possible. It is natural to have some percentage of no-follow links in your link profile because social media, press releases, forums, and a handful of other popular places always transform any links on their sites to no-follow ones — some of the best free press release sites have tools that can significantly help boost your exposure. Long story short, no-follow links to your webpage allow it to look more natural, and the more natural a page looks, the more credible it becomes for Google!
Nofollow links can “generate” do-follow links
As it has been shown in the first paragraphs of this article, there is no difference between no-follow links and ordinary ones at all, except for the attribute in their codes. They are to be ignored by search engine bots, but not ordinary people! Ordinary Internet users can follow links that are no-follow ones as normal links. And thanks to this, these links can draw not less traffic to your site than normal ones. And if your site’s content can evoke interest and desire to be shared with others, a no-follow link can also lead to creating and sharing do-follow natural links to your page!
Such links can guard against being penalized by Google
There are some remarkable websites with enormous traffic and sometimes to not buy the opportunity to make a post on those sites would rather look stupid. Let’s say, you bought that opportunity and posted an article with the backlink to your website. And sometime after, one of your competitors ‘incidentally’ saw that post with the link. Being a bit savvy in Internet technologies and supposing that your article with the backlink is most likely for money on the site, he decides to report your ‘paid’ link directly to Google to penalize you. But if your link on that website is coded with the rel=”nofollow” together with rel=”sponsored” HTML attributes, Google won’t ever find you, so the competitor will be left high and dry!
Links that are no-follow ones are invisible to ordinary people. They will never be able to distinguish them from ordinary links unless they look into the HTML code. But though ordinary users do not need them, no-follow links hold serious value for SEO specialists, website owners, search engines, and the Internet as a whole. As thanks to the filtering rel=”nofollow” attribute the Internet is improving, becoming less spammy and having more valuable content!
If you are a site owner, without a doubt you already have no-follow links to your source. And this is absolutely normal and natural. However, if your site has quality and interesting content, Internet users who come to it via no-follow links can generate ordinary do-follow links to your webpage and share them with their friends! And naturally, after this, the ranking of your site will have no other choice but skyrocket impressively!
Interesting Related Article: “Four simple ways to improve your search engine rankings“