What is Dofollow and Nofollow Links?

Road sign with nofollow attribute

Nofollow Link Sign

If you have been trying to learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for some time chances are you have heard about dofollow and nofollow links. But what are they anyway, and how do you find out if a link is dofollow or nofollow? And how does this affect your sites search engine rankings?

Lets start with the background.

The original idea with nofollow was to reduce comment spam on blogs. In 2005 Google’s Mat Cutts and Blogger’s Jason Shellen proposed a way to address the problem with spam comments and the result was the nofollow attribute that can be added to links in a webpage.

This makes no sense to you if you don’t know what a link looks like in HTML, so lets look at what a simple link looks like in the HTML source code of a webpage.

<a href=”http://www.simonbyholm.com”>Simon’s SEO Blog</a>

That’s the link HTML for a simple link pointing to this blog’s homepage with the anchor text “Simon’s SEO Blog”. This is what it will look like in a webpage:

Simon’s SEO Blog

Ok, so what about the nofollow and dofollow stuff you were talking about?

So what about it?

Here’s what the same link will look like when it has the nofollow tag added:

<a href=”http://www.simonbyholm.com” rel=”nofollow”>Simon’s SEO Blog</a>

Look at that! I added the text rel=”nofollow” to the link. That’s what a  nofollow link looks like. Learn to recognize and stay away from these kind of links, they are of little value for SEO.

What the nofollow tag does, is it tells Google to disregard the link and to not give any link juice to the target page. Specifically nofollow links does not pass PageRank to the target page! This means you should not pay for links from directories or other sources if they carry the nofollow tag.

So what about dofollow, what’s that? I hear you asking.

Dofollow is the opposite of nofollow. It’s a standard link with no “nofollow” tag added. A link that will pass link juice and that is good for your search engine rankings if it points your way. It’s just easier to call it a “dofollow link” than to say “a link with no nofollow tag”, don’t you agree?

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

21 Responses to “What is Dofollow and Nofollow Links?”

  1. Yes this is what I learn for a long time, thanks for info.

  2. Download Game Gratis November 8, 2011 at 6:18 am

    Hi brother…
    I’m from Indonesia…
    Bay the way, thanks for your share…
    Download Game Gratis recently posted..Download Game Worms Ultimate MayhemMy Profile

  3. Hello Simon!
    I understand that your post and also understand the difference between the links “dofollow” and “nofollow”. What I still do not quite understand how to apply a link is “nofollow” on my website. So I ask what are the links that I follow (dofollow) so you can improve the pagerank of my website. Thank you for your attention!

    Augusto Pascoal
    augustojpascoal recently posted..EmailmarketingMy Profile

  4. Most of the time you can’t change the links pointing TO your website, they are either follow or nofollow. But you can make sure to only get new links from places that are dofollow! And for your own website, if it’s running WordPress there’s a setting you can change that controls if links in comments are dofollow or nofollow, also the commentluv plugin has this setting, at least the premium plugin which I use. Usually you keep most of the links ON YOUR SITE follow, except user comments where you might want to use nofollow to discourage spamming.

  5. I’ve been seeing posts about nofollow links but I had no idea what they were. Glad to know now because I will watch for nofollow links in the future.

  6. Yeah, I realized that a lot of folks may not have any idea what I’m talking about when I say nofollow, so I decided to do some educational posts :)

  7. How about a link that does not have any do or no follow tag added in the url. Would it still pass link juice?

  8. Actually there’s no dofollow tag. A link with no nofollow tag is a dofollow link, that is a link with no special tag do pass link juice!

  9. Hey there !! this is a very good blog for learning SEO thanx a lot !!
    vimal recently posted..Scrap-kit Png – Flower DecorateMy Profile

  10. No-follow links, though not high, thus have some importance. it helps you rank good in Bing and Yahoo search engines.

  11. So basically, the only time we need to worry about DoFollow and NoFollow is if we see a HTML link with the NoFollow tag in it as it tells google to disregard it?

    Who would want to make a NoFollow link anyway? Blog owners that are annoyed with people spamming comments to get links to their sites? does the blog owner edit their link with NoFollow?

  12. A long time ago I used to game my websites with extra spam in the text of the body of the home page. For example, I used to rank #1 for Michael Savage(a radio host). I did this by having links to his online station and by typing Michael Savage, Michael Savage, Michael Savage etc. at the bottom of the page. But my understanding now is that Google will ban you for techniques like these. Is this still true? And could I be doing harm to my sites if I try to game the system?

  13. Only do things that looks natural to a human being. So instead of endless repeating the word Michael Savage in the footer, write about Michael Savage and use his name 10 times throughout the text. Have his name in the html title and description tags and make sure to link to your page using the text “Michael Savage” as anchor text (the blue text). Getting those link is the most work but is needed if there’s competition for the term. It’s not as easy as in the (good?) old days :)

  14. Blog systems like WordPress can be configured to make all user added links nofollow. This discourages comment spam as the links will be less valuable when they are nofollow. It’s of course a lot better to have a captcha and actually moderate your comments.

    And yes keep in mind when getting/buying links that nofollow links have very little value for SEO.

  15. I do believe they carry some weight in Google too, but a lot less than a follow link.

  16. Useful info mate, but I already know it, please visit my blog, my blog is dofollow.
    Berbagi Kreativitas recently posted..Buat Buku Tamu Di Blog Sembunyi MelayangMy Profile

  17. Wow. I’m a novice at this! I have added wordpress to my newbie site. I have a spam protector within WordPress. If I’m reading correctly, it’s possible that the spam protection could send Nofollow links keeping me from getting backlinks. So.. I should look for captcha and moderate the comments. Is captcha a choice within WordPress or do I look elsewhere?

  18. If you use the premium commentluv plugin there’s built in spam protection, it has worked great on my sites at least. there’s a free version of commentluv too but I don’t know if it has the spam protection built in, you’ll have to go to the WordPress plugin directory and see for yourself. (and btw if you buy the premium version through my link, they’ll be generous and support this blog with a part of the sales price.)

  19. Hello Brother!

    I’m Mazhar Aziz From Lahore Pakistan. After reading your article i have easily understand difference b/w nofollow and dofollow.


  1. How to Recognize a Nofollow Link - November 7, 2011

    [...] By now you have probably heard that you need to get dofollow links and avoid nofollow links. If not you can read my other post on What is a Nofollow Link. [...]

  2. How to Get Backlinks To Your Website - November 28, 2011

    [...] Make sure it’s a dofollow link. (read more about what is a dofollow link) [...]

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge
This blog uses premium CommentLuv which allows you to put your keywords with your name if you have had 3 approved comments. Use your real name and then @ your keywords (maximum of 3)