As you start digging into link building and SEO optimization, you end up reading a lot about the importance of Dofollow links. It’s all about how you can break your back in order to get a link back to your own site. And these DoFollow links are extremely important for how your page ranks in search engines. However, on the flipside NoFollow links are typically thrown to the side as useless trash. Don’t bother with them. This of course begs the question, are NoFollow links as useless as the experts say?
DoFollow Links vs. NoFollow Links
If you haven’t really done a lot of reading about the two, here is an overview. At one point, Google and other search engines treated any link to your website with equal importance. This means linking to your site in any fashion would net you good points in the SEO department.
At another point in time, people figured out how to take advantage of it. You guessed it, spam. The Spam comment world exploded and the beneficiaries of the spam were of course the ones abusing the system. Google doesn’t like its algorithm being tricked, so it shook things up with the introduction of NoFollow and DoFollow links.
What’s the Difference?
A good way to think about the difference between DoFollow and NoFollow links is the quality of the link. Odds are, if you put a link there yourself, it will be a NoFollow link. Things like comments on blog posts, reddit link posts (sometimes), and forum signatures are NoFollow Links. Other people linking your site through the same methods are the same.
DoFollow links are more likely to show up as a link to your site from another sites main content. So if the author of a post links to your site to credit an infographic you made, or link to a source that content you created.
As sites get crawled they are not only looking at your content, but they are also looking at what sites you’re linking to in a meaningful sense (these are DoFollow links), and not counting the links in the comments etc (NoFollow links). The crawler then gives cookie points to those sites that are being linked to. Now you may be thinking “Well why should I give my competition an edge with a DoFollow link”? Unsurprisingly, Google thought of this and gives better SEO scores to content that provides them. In this sense, Google is rewarding you for doing its dirty work for it. You tell it which sites have the best content on the web, and you get a better score yourself.
How to get DoFollow Links
There’s no doubt about it, DoFollow links are essential to ranking well, so how do you get more of them? There are a few key methods to getting DoFollow links to your site. None of them are easy, but the rewards are worth the extra effort.
Guest Posting: Write some content for somebody else that will link to your site, typically in an author bio. This should also be for a site that’s also within your niche for the best effect. While it can be easier to get guest posts on smaller less popular sites, the quality of the site your DoFollow link is coming from does matter for both parties.
If you write a guest post for a lower quality site, your extra work and effort gets diminished. Google gives the link more or less significance based on the authority of the site its on. On the flipside, a high authority site will also get docked if it puts a DoFollow link to a lower authority site.
Offering Valuable Multi-Use Content: Another option to rack in the links throws caution to the wind, and can work great in the right cases. Instead of crafting a single piece of content for a single link, you can offer a service or piece of content that many sites can use, then link back to your site as the source. This could be an infographic or even a chart with helpful information on it. Let it be known that you’re welcoming other sites to use the content, provided they link back to your site.
A real-world example of this is Incompetech. He offers free, royalty free music for you to use in your content. It’s free to use commercially, and all you need to do is link back to the site, and the creative commons license. There will be a mix of DoFollow and NoFollow links (which aren’t as bad as they say), depending on how and where the links are placed. There will also be a mix of high and low authority sources, but that comes with the territory.
NoFollow Links Still Play a Role
Now I’ve spent several paragraphs hyping up the importance of DoFollow links, but what about those NoFollow ones? Are they as useless as they say? The answer is No, and here’s the reasons why.
Google likes to see a mix of DoFollow and NoFollow links. If a site has a high volume of DoFollow links with a very low amount of NoFollow ones, it likely got there by trying to game the system, which can get your site flagged SEO wise. If you’re just going about your business and do some occasional guest posting, you don’t need to worry about this. You likely have tons of NoFollow links without even knowing it.
The other reason NoFollow links are still very important is traffic. Regardless of its follow designation, a link is a link, and people follow links. So if you have links to your site, people will follow them, and that can lead to a lot of good things.
Don’t break your back trying to get DoFollow links all of the time. Let the internet work itself out, do a guest post every now and then to keep your domain authority in check, but otherwise, it’s not critical that you get tons of DoFollow links all the time. If your content is suffering because you’re spending your time trying to build DoFollows, it may not do you any good anyways.