You know you need to use links on your website, but what exactly does this mean? There are internal links and then there are external links. This article will help you better understand the external links. You will use either dofollow or nofollow links. Each tells search engines specific things and should be used strategically when building your external link strategy.
So what are dofollow and nofollow links?
What Are Dofollow Links?
A dofollow link will help your website in terms of SEO because it tells the search engine that the authority of the external origin website should pass to your destination website. You will hear this referred to as “link juice”. These types of external links pointing to your website are valuable because they help to improve the domain authority of your website. Domain authority is measured on a scale of one to 100. The higher your website’s number, the better your website will rank in search engine results.
By default, links are considered dofollow. You don’t have to add any special coding or tag to tell search engines that they are a dofollow link.
What Are Nofollow Links?
A nofollow link is an external link on an outside origin website that points to a page on your website. The difference is that it doesn’t pass the domain authority strength on from the origin to the destination. These links will not help you in terms of SEO and keyword ranking. You will need to add special coding to tell a search engine that a particular link is a nofollow link. If you use WordPress, there are plugins like Yoast that make adding this tag simple.
Are Nofollow Links Bad?
Now, you may be thinking, nofollow links sound terrible! I want all of the SEO juice I can get to help improve the SEO performance of my website. Hold on, though. Gaining nofollow links to your website isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, they don’t pack the SEO punch, but they do serve a purpose. These external links can generate additional traffic to your website. They also diversify your backlink portfolio. Both of these helps improve the legitimacy of your website. Google favorably views websites with higher traffic volumes. It also favors websites that don’t look spammy. A natural backlink portfolio should have a good mix of dofollow and nofollow links.
What’s the Best Ratio of Nofollow to Dofollow Links?
So now that we know you need a good mix of both nofollow and dofollow links, What ratio should you aim for? Unfortunately, there’s no “best” ratio that works for everyone. Depending on whom you ask, it could be 50/50, 40/60, or even 30/70 nofollow/follow ratio. When looking at top performing websites, they average a ratio of 25/75, indicating it’s better to have more dofollow than nofollow links.
To get a better idea of what you should aim for, look at the most successful websites in your industry. This will give you a better idea of what ratio works for your type of business. No matter what, the safest approach is to aim for a variety of links.
When Should a Nofollow Backlink Be Used?
So how do you know when to use a dofollow or a nofollow link? If you are getting a backlink from a website with significantly more domain authority than your own, it’s smart to ask for a dofollow link. They may or may not agree to it. Sometimes, you have no control over this and will have to accept what the other website is willing to give.
If you are providing a backlink to someone else’s website, consider carefully what type of link you want to give. If you aren’t comfortable endorsing the other website, then a nofollow link is the smarter choice. Then you won’t pass your link juice on to the destination website.
An example of this would be to make any links that appear in comments as nofollow. Spammers who flood the comment section of your blog are hoping to poach your domain authority by adding unwanted links in junk comments. Now your website looks questionable because you are linking to multiple spam websites. This will hurt the performance of your website. You can prevent this by making all links in your comments nofollow links.
Other times when it’s useful to add a nofollow link to a website is when you post or share user-generated content, affiliate links, or sponsored content. Keep this in mind when working with brand ambassadors or sponsoring content on other websites. You may find that other people take this approach when backlinking to your website.
How to Know If a Link is Dofollow or Nofollow
Unfortunately, not everyone is honest. It’s smart to check your backlinks to ensure they are what you think they are. It’s easy to check if a link is dofollow or nofollow. Inspect the link in your browser and look at the HTML code. Do this by right clicking on the link and selecting “inspect” to bring up the HTML code. If you see”rel=”nofollow”, then the link is nofollow. If you don’t see this code, then it is a dofollow link.
If you have a lot of links you need to check, then checking them individually won’t be practical. That’s when online linking checking tools come in handy.
Outbound Link Checkers
Some of these are online based tools, while others are browser extensions. Then there are some that you download and work with any browser. The tool you use will depend on how you want to use the tool and what works best for your workflow. Each checker works by following the links on a particular webpage or website to find out if the links are nofollow or dofollow.
How Long Will It Take Google to Recognize a Dofollow Link?
Like so many other SEO topics, there’s no single set answer to this question. However, we can guess that it typically takes Google two to four days for the crawlers to check out your website and record the new links. If your website and the website giving you the link both have low traffic volumes, then it could take longer for Google to recognize the new link.
Start Building Link Strategy
Now that you understand the difference in these two types of external links, you are ready to give your linking strategy a once over. Start by looking at your link portfolio and finding out what your nofollow/dofollow ratio is. You can then reach out to influential industry websites for more backlinks. You can also look through your outbound links and fix any dofollow links that should be nofollow.