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Understanding the difference between Follow and No-follow links

Backlinks are one of the most crucial factors in determining the ranking of a website on search engines. They are essentially a vote of confidence from one website to another, and search engines use them as a way to measure the authority and relevance of a website. However, not all backlinks are created equal. There are two types of links that you need to understand: follow and no-follow links.

Follow links

Follow links, also known as “dofollow” links, are links that pass on link equity from one website to another. When a website links to another website with a follow link, it is essentially telling search engines that the linked website is valuable and should be considered for ranking. Follow links are typically considered more valuable than nofollow links because they can help improve the ranking of the linked website.

No- Follow Links

On the other hand, nofollow links are links that do not pass on link equity. When a website links to another website with a nofollow link, it is essentially telling search engines not to consider the linked website for ranking. Nofollow links were originally introduced as a way to combat spammy link-building practices. By telling search engines not to consider certain links for ranking, website owners could prevent spammy links from negatively impacting their website’s ranking.

Follow v/s No- Follow Links

To understand the difference between follow and nofollow links, it’s important to understand how they are coded. Follow links are simply regular links that do not contain the “nofollow” attribute in the HTML code. Nofollow links, on the other hand, contain the “nofollow” attribute in the HTML code. This attribute tells search engines not to consider the linked website for ranking.

It’s important to note that just because a link is a nofollow link, it doesn’t mean it’s completely useless. Nofollow links can still drive traffic to your website, and they can also help with branding and visibility. Additionally, a natural backlink profile should include a mix of both follow and nofollow links. A backlink profile that is made up entirely of follow links may look unnatural to search engines, which could result in a penalty.

So, how do you know if a link is a follow link or a nofollow link? Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell just by looking at the link. Some websites may choose to make all external links nofollow links, while others may only make some of their external links nofollow. Additionally, some websites may use plugins or other tools to automatically add the nofollow attribute to certain types of links (such as links in comments).

One way to determine whether a link is a follow or nofollow link is to use the inspect element tool in your web browser. Simply right-click on the link and select “Inspect” (or a similar option depending on your browser). This will open the HTML code for the page, and you should be able to see whether the link contains the “nofollow” attribute.

Another option is to use a backlink analysis tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush. These tools can provide a comprehensive analysis of your backlink profile, including the number of follow and nofollow links, the quality of the links, and the anchor text used in the links.

So, why is understanding the difference between follow and nofollow links important for SEO? Ultimately, it comes down to building a natural and diverse backlink profile. A natural backlink profile should include a mix of both follow and nofollow links, as well as links from a variety of domains and sources. By building a natural backlink profile, you can improve the authority and relevance of your website in the eyes of search engines.

In summary, follow links are links that pass on link equity from one website to another, while nofollow links do not pass on link equity. Nofollow links were introduced as a way to combat spammy link.


1. What is a do-follow backlink?

A do-follow backlink is an inbound link that distributes authority from one page to another, and positively affects its rankings in Google’s SERP.

2 What is anchor text?

Anchor text is a word, phrase, or a set of characters that carries your link. It’s the clickable text in a hyperlink.

3. The difference between do-follow and no-follow links?

The largest, and probably the most important difference between do-follow and no-follow backlinks, is that the former almost directly influence rankings by passing link equity or value, while the latter are primarily useful as a source of traffic.

4. How can I know if a certain backlink I received is a do-follow or no-follow link?

Just look at the link.

Here’s an example:

<a href=”https://www.base.me”> Link Text </a>

<a href=”https://www.base.me” rel=”nofollow”> Link Text </a>

The rel attribute describes the nature of a link. You can always figure out which type of backlinks you have just by checking the source code on the page linking back to you.

5.  Are all outbound links no-follow links?

No. Just like any other type of link, outbound links come in do-follow and no-follow forms.

6. What is a rel?

An element that assigns and instantly describes the role of a link.

Example: “rel=nofollow”

7. What is rot in link building?

The term used to describe instances where pages that are no longer active aren’t properly redirected or dealt with.

8. What are sitewide links?

This one is a bit self-explanatory. Sitewide links are links that you can find on every page across a particular domain. They are usually placed in sidebars and footers. They have no real SEO value, but you can find them across many domains, because they carry relevant info about a particular brand or business.

9. What link building techniques are currently most effective?

These are just some of the more popular ones: Blogging, guest blogging, creating links for your existing content, “best of” lists, contributor badges, replicating competitor backlinks, giveaway campaigns, infographics, research reports and case studies, ebooks, webinars, 404 link reclamation, alumni and trustworthy directories, alumni news/spotlight, ask customers/clients, award badges, becoming an influencer, comment marketing, brand mentions, broken link building, self-hosted client directories, business directory submissions, glossaries, Wiki pages, event checklists, affiliate programs, event checklist, quote graphics, images, link roundups, crowdfunding, curation, myth debunking, dead content recreation, forum posting.

10. How important is the ratio between follow and no-follow links?

The main goal is always the same: earn organic (natural) links to your site. Even though follow links influence ratings much better than no-follow ones, it’s of great importance to keep in mind that both of these links are a natural part of the Web.

If you deploy a lot of different link earning/link building strategies, regardless of your intention, you’ll surely pick up more than a few no- follow links along the way.

But that’s not a bad thing. As long as your intentions are pure and you’re doing everything “by the book”, there’s nothing to worry about.

Whatever your follow vs. no-follow ratio may be, it’s all fine as long as your efforts fall under white hat SEO practices.

Of course, you should do your best to earn as many follow links from different, relevant domains as you possibly can.

11. Is it ok to see no results after one month of link building?

Yes, it is. Google needs time to index and evaluate all the new links. Even though Penguin and Panda are real-time, a lot of other key components aren’t. So, if you’re targeting popular keywords with your link building efforts, a single month is not really enough time to determine how well you’re doing.

However, it’s always smart to keep a close eye on your campaign progress indicators. Even the smallest of jumps in the SERPs is good for you. You can track your efforts through any number of analytics and reporting tools. For instance, our white-label marketing reporting software, Reportz, was specifically built for tasks of this kind.