There are many factors to consider when building backlinks to your website, but arguably the most vital is to ensure they have a dofollow attribute.
Dofollow links help pass link juice or PageRank (PR) from one site to yours. The more authoritative the website where you acquired a link, the more valuable your site becomes. This results in higher keyword rankings and more traffic from search engines.
All these things may sound alien to you right now. But that’s okay—this post takes you to everything you must know about dofollow links and what makes them different from nofollow links.
Ultimately, you should be able to apply this newly acquired knowledge about dofollow links in your SEO strategy.
How Do Dofollow Backlinks Work?
To understand the fundamentals of dofollow backlinks, you must first learn about PageRank. It’s a metric developed by Google that scores a website’s authoritativeness on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest). The more high-quality links that point to a website, the higher its PR score becomes.
Since 2016, PageRank is no longer available for public viewing as Google deprecated its Google Toolbox Chrome extension. But Google still uses PageRank internally to determine which pages should rank for which queries.
Nonetheless, this didn’t stop SEOs from finding other ways to evaluate a website’s authority using metrics like Moz’s Domain Authority (DA) and Ahrefs’s Domain Rating (DR).
While both won’t produce the same score that Google does with PageRank, they use link profile as the primary factor for weighing a site’s authority.
As a link builder, you want to find link building opportunities from websites with high DA or DR. Since search engines interpret backlinks as a way of showing trust on a website, they put more value on backlinks coming from authoritative sites.
Now, this is where the concept of link juice comes. For every dofollow link, you receive a portion of a site’s authority to yours.
Regarding link juice, the more authoritative a site is, the more link juice you’ll get from it. A backlink from a website with a high DA/DR score is equivalent to backlinks from hundreds of mediocre websites. This is why focusing on building links from high-quality sites is much more efficient compared to dabbling in spammy link building tactics.
Also, you need to build as many backlinks from these types of sites as possible. As mentioned, a link from authoritative sites means that they vouch for your website as a whole. By sheer association with these sites, Google will consider your site as trustworthy too. As a result, your site will increase its ranking on search engine results and improve your traffic.
Keep in mind that link juice only takes place with dofollow links. This brings us to the next point:
Nofollow and Dofollow Links: What’s the Difference
While dofollow links pass link juice, nofollow links don’t. This means you don’t receive any of the site’s authority if your backlink has a nofollow attribute.
This is what a regular link looks like in HTML code:
<a href="https://example.com>This is a dofollow link</a>
Now, this is what a link with a nofollow tag looks like:
<a href="https://example.com" rel="nofollow">This is a nofollow link</a>
Nofollow backlinks came into existence in 2005 to stop rampant comment spam on its tracks.
Through the years, websites typically set their outbound links with nofollow tags because they don’t want to share link juice with sites they don’t endorse to Google. However, Jon Mueller from Google said that not only is there no SEO benefit in setting all outbound links to nofollow, but it could also harm their site rankings if they do this.
Nowadays, web admins use nofollow links to remain compliant with Google’s guidelines regarding link schemes. Google recently released another batch of link attributes site owners should use to help them determine which sites they should pass link juice.
So, if nofollow backlinks don’t help increase your site’s search results rankings, what good are they?
First, they help you build a natural backlink profile composed of dofollow and nofollow links.
Building only dofollow links to your site makes your link profile appear manufactured to drive as much link juice to your site as you can. So, instead of rewarding your site with higher rankings, Google will penalize your site instead due to over-optimizing your backlink profile. Even the top-ranking websites have a healthy mix of links pointing to them!
Lastly, Google now considers nofollow links as “hints.” That means they may or may not consider them when determining how and where to rank your website for which keywords.
These show you that, even if dofollow links help increase your website rankings, it’s okay to build nofollow links that they have SEO value nonetheless.
How to Know if a Website Has Dofollow Links
You must secure a dofollow backlink from each authoritative website to maximize your link building campaign. And to do this, you should find out if they’re offering nofollow or dofollow links on their site pages.
One of the easiest ways to do this is using the NoFollow Chrome extension. Install and enable this in your browser and visit any site page you want to get a link. The extension will automatically identify external links with nofollow tags in red-dotted boxes.
If the site has nofollow backlinks, there’s a good chance it implements the nofollow attribute on other external links on its pages. In this case, find other sites that don’t have nofollow links and prioritize getting links from those sites first.
If you’re using premium SEO tools like Ahrefs, type in your competitor’s URL on Site Explorer and go to Backlink profile > Referring domains. From here, set the link results to only show dofollow links. Then list down sites you don’t have links from and launch your campaign with these sites first.
Understanding the value that dofollow backlinks bring to your SEO efforts enables you to implement a strategy of securing high-quality links for higher search rankings.
If you need help developing and scaling a strategy for you, we at Linkplicity can help. Our SEO backlink packages will create dofollow links from authoritative sites that receive real traffic. This way, you can scale your link building campaigns while growing your business at the same time!