Dofollow vs Nofollow Backlinks: SEO Guide

Backlinks are more than just a buzzword in SEO. Google has over 200 ranking factors, but backlinks have conclusively been shown to be one of the most significant.

They act as a vote of confidence from one website to another (the destination site). It signals that your content is valuable and deserves to be ranked well in the search results.

However, backlinks are not all the same. There are two main HTML code link attributes that you need to be aware of: normal links (do-follow) and rel=”nofollow” (no-follow).

On the surface, it’s easy to say do-follow backlinks are better. They pass authority directly from one website to another, whereas no-follow backlinks do not. However, backlinks are far more complicated than this, as you will learn in this article.

What Is a Dofollow Backlink?

Dofollow backlinks are highly effective in search engine optimization (SEO).

In layman’s terms, they help to increase your page’s ranking in search engine results. Backlinks also help you to gain credibility online and develop business relationships.

Backlinks can increase website traffic, brand authority, and SEO ranking.  But not all backlinks are created equal. The type of backlinks that will boost your SEO ranking most depends on several factors – relevancy, quality, and authoritativeness being the most important.

When building a website, you should focus on getting high-quality do-follow backlinks. Backlinks from unique referring domains are essential for SEO and can significantly boost your rankings. As a result, this can help you gain more organic traffic. If you have your conversion rate optimization strategies right, this can significantly boost earnings.

Using reputable and popular websites to acquire do-follow backlinks is a great way to ensure your website reaches a larger audience. But it is important to ensure that the websites you receive links from are relevant to your niche. 

There are many shady ways to build backlinks, but these can easily lead to a swift Google penalty. When it comes to building do-follow backlinks, think long-term and don’t chase after what appears to be a “quick win”.

How are Backlinks Graded

As you know, not all backlinks are created equal. The relevancy and authoritativeness of the link play a huge part in the impact it will have on your website.

Third-party metrics like Moz’s Domain Authority or Ahrefs Domain Rating can tell you a lot about the value of a backlink. These metrics are scored on a logarithmic scale from 0-100 (with 0 as the worst and 100 as the best).

New websites that are still building up authority will typically be in the 0-20 range, a relatively popular site like an established blog will typically be in the 20-40 range, and larger businesses and blogs will usually be in the 40-60 range, industry leaders will be in the 60-80 range, and finally, true authority sites will have a DR over 80.

Very few domains are rated over 80. This is typically reserved for huge authority sites such as Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, HuffPost, VentureBeat, Amazon, Facebook, etc. 

This is because DR is scored logarithmically, where it becomes harder for the score to increase as it gets higher. For example, going from DR49 to 50 is much harder than going from DR9 to 10.

Generally, the higher the DR, the more influential the backlink is. A single link from a DR80 website will probably provide a more effective SEO boost than 10 links from DR20 websites!

What is a Nofollow Backlink?

The main difference between dofollow and nofollow links is that links that are nofollow do not pass PageRank, so they do not directly impact search engine rankings. They are also not crawled by search engine crawlers!

However, no-follow links still have significant value. For example, they can help you increase brand awareness and referral traffic to your internal pages. Most SEOs also think that no-follow links help to keep your backlink profile looking natural and can indirectly increase your ability to rank!

When to use nofollow links?

It’s essential to understand the rules of nofollow backlinks. Basically, you should use this tag when you aren’t trying to pass link juice or endorse the linked website. Another example is sponsored posts. The rel=”nofollow” link attribute should be used in this case. Finally, outbound links, such as affiliate links that make you money, should be marked with the nofollow tag.

In-content links are typically always followed links by default. However, some large external sites e.g. Forbes, will have a nofollow policy by default. They implemented this policy to prevent their contributors from selling links in articles.

Another everyday use of nofollow links is in forum posts and blog comments sections. This is to prevent comment spam which used to be able to manipulate PageRank. Some websites will make their internal links nofollow. However, there is no SEO value in doing this unless you are intending to syndicate your content.

Identify Link Attributes

To determine whether a link is nofollow or dofollow. You can simply right-click on the link and click “inspect”.

This might look really confusing. However, you just need to look for the rel nofollow attribute. This is easy to spot – if you see the words “nofollow” it means the link is not followed and will not pass PageRank. However, if the words “nofollow” do not appear, your link is do-follow.

There are also loads of free tools, such as Ahref’s Backlink Checker that can immediately tell you whether a link is followed or no-follow.

Benefits of Dofollow Links

Dofollow links help increase the visibility of your website and blog. Google considers your website to be more relevant, meaning it will appear in related queries. 

For example, if you wrote an article about the “best coding laptops” and other websites linked to your website with the anchor text (the words that accompany the link) “programming laptops” it’s more than likely you will start ranking for this query too.

Receiving high-quality and natural dofollow links has a long-term effect on your SEO strategy. It’s believed that the SEO benefit of a backlink can be first noticed in approximately 10 weeks.

Google has rolled out many major updates in the past. Some have been extremely significant, such as Penguin and Panda. However, high-quality links have consistently remained valuable!

Do-follow backlinks pass link equity, commonly known as “link juice”.  Links from more authoritative and relevant websites can pass more link juice. This link juice is what increases your PageRank in the Google ranking algorithm. 

The greater the number of links pointing at your pages, the better. Although, having the most backlinks or even the best backlinks doesn’t guarantee you will rank in position number 1 for your target keywords. It does increase the chances of ranking well significantly, as there is a strong correlation between backlinks and search rankings.

Understanding the link profile of your competitors is essential. You can use SEO software to check the number of links pointing at any particular URL. This can give you a good insight into whether you can realistically rank for the target keyword.

The most natural method of acquiring quality do-follow backlinks is creating quality content and publishing it on other websites. However, this isn’t always easy… we will explore more options later.

Benefits of Nofollow Links

While links marked with the nofollow tag don’t have the same benefits as followed links in terms of distributing authority, they are by no means useless.

The purpose of nofollow links is to draw attention to your site. They can demonstrate credibility and increase brand awareness.

In addition to increasing your credibility, using nofollow links can generate significant traffic. Therefore, the main benefit of nofollow links is that they allow you to reach new customers and be portrayed as an expert.

What is Backlink Diversity?

Backlink diversity is a vital component of SEO.

As you know, backlinks can boost a website’s ranking in the search engine rankings. They help search engines to understand the importance of your website and the content on it. 

When you have a variety of backlinks, Google will view your site as trustworthy and popular. This is because backlinks from reputable websites will have high authority and are likely to be related to your website’s topic.

However, link diversity is one of the most important parts of a healthy backlink profile. Having backlinks from various different sources is vital. Having multiple links from the same domain is fine, but after the first link, the second, third, fourth link, etc., will have a lesser impact.

There should be diverse anchor text to your link profile. Additionally, most of your backlinks should not include any exact match anchor text. For example, if you have an article called “how to grow tomatoes” the ideal backlinks would be generalized or include semantic keywords but would not be an exact match.

Some good anchor text for your backlinks would be:

“Helpful resource”

“This guide”

“Growing tomatoes”

In contrast, bad anchor text would be an exact match, so in this case, “how to grow tomatoes”.

Obviously, you have very little control over the actual anchor text used in the backlinks pointing at your site. However, over time the laws of averages make it almost certain that your backlink profile will be extremely natural.

Assuming that you have been acquiring backlinks naturally and haven’t been using any shady (black hat) tactics, you will have a mixture of follow and no-follow links and a diverse range of branded, non-branded, and keyword-rich anchors.

Natural link profiles have the most success in SEO. Building an authentic link profile needs to be your top priority, learning how to avoid the most common link-building mistakes is a great start.

Creating quality backlinks is a tedious task that requires a lot of time and expertise. Luckily, we will walk you through several useful methods so that you can get started right away.

How to Build Do-Follow Backlinks

There are lots of brilliant ways to build do-follow backlinks. However, just because there are lots of ways to build backlinks, actually doing so isn’t easy. However,  it’s essential that you either do it manually or hire an expert link builder.

The biggest thing you must avoid at all costs when building backlinks is purchasing them through unreliable means, such as Fiverr. Reputable website owners (the ones you should try getting links from) don’t just hand out external backlinks or charge a menial fee.

What does this mean? Cheap link-building gigs on Fiverr are unsafe for your website. 

The people running these schemes build backlinks through unreliable means. They are not building relationships with established businesses, blogs, and publications; instead, they add links via spammy and illegal means.

These links may have a positive effect in the short-term, such as artificially inflating Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR), but you will swiftly be punished with an algorithmic penalty. When this happens, you will either see a significant drop in rankings or even see a complete removal of your pages from the Google index.

Some of the best ways to build do-follow backlinks legitimately are:

  1. Responding to queries through Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
  2. Guest Posts
  3. Broken Link Building
  4. Creating and distributing a valuable resource such as an Infographic.
  5. Link Insertions
  6. Creating link bait Content
  7. Creating ego bait Content

The key component of all of these strategies is manual work. So, whether you are building all the backlinks yourself or hiring an SEO expert to assist, be aware that the process isn’t quick or easy. 

Building more do-follow backlinks at scale takes time, but the results are worthwhile.

Get Help Building Backlinks

Obviously, not everyone has the luxury of being in a financial position where they can hire an SEO expert to help with their link-building strategy.

However, it’s an excellent idea for businesses with a decent marketing budget. When you choose to work with a reliable SEO expert, you are paying for links based on value and not time. This is best practice in SEO because you are paying for outcomes rather than the person’s time.

As you know, high-quality backlinks built manually and in a white-hat (safe) way have a massively positive influence on your blog posts, and your website has the ability to rank well in search engines.

You should avoid paying for links through websites like Fiverr. Remember, if something sounds good to be true… it almost definitely is. You can expect to pay hundreds of dollars for high-quality backlinks that are actually safe.

If you are interested in working with me, reach out to We will discuss your budget, goals, and strategies for building links. With me, you will only ever pay for links once they have been built.


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