For websites and blogs to survive in the web world, the essential tool is SEO.
Without proper SEO, a blog or website will not get the organic traffic that blogs are dependent on. And for SEO to work effortlessly and bring in traffic to a page, the importance of following links and inbound links cannot be undermined.
SEO is not a one-step process. It is continuously evolving with its so many layers, and all of them are interconnected.
In this article, we’ll understand the differences between do-follow and no-follow links. But for that, we first have to get the concept of follow links clear. Let us first understand these two kinds of links separately.
What Is A Do-follow Link?
The first thing that you have to understand to understand what is a do-follow link is to know how Google works.
Google and also other search engines are always on the lookout for the best websites or best web pages that would feature on top of the search engine result page.
To determine which web page should rank the highest, there are certain things that Google looks into. One of them is how many links from other web pages direct to a certain website.
To make this clear, imagine that two different websites have two different posts on a similar topic. Now both the posts have high quality and highly informative content, following the guidelines of Google.
But only either one of them can be in the leading position on the search engine results page.
So Google will look for the one website that will have plenty of natural links that are pointing towards it from other websites.
Google will prefer the one website that will have the number of these links. This is because when lots of external links are pointing towards one website or one webpage, Google looks at it in a way that a lot of people have found that particular article very informative and that is why they have linked it.
These links are called the do-follow links. These links help to pass link juice to a specific webpage and increase its ranking on the search engine results page, thus increasing the credibility of that website.
When a website has a higher number of natural do-follow links directing towards it, it’s chances to be in the top positions in search engine results pages are higher.
So, these do-follow links are inbound links or the hyperlinks that a web page gets from other external websites.
Now, each time that a web page gets a do-follow link, the SEO of that website gets a little boost. These SEO posts can be referred to as points that the winning team gets.
SEO experts refer to these points or these small SEO boosts as link juice. This link juice travels through the website and into different other websites with the help of hyperlinks.
The link juice gets bigger boosts when it gets do-follow links from highly reputed websites.
For example, if a website manages to get a backlink from a website like BBC or Forbes, the chances of the website to get higher rankings is high.
What Is A No-follow Link?
In simple words, a no-follow link is just the opposite of a do-follow link, that is, no-follow links do not point to any other websites.
It tends to confuse users because when they click on a no-follow link, they still get redirected to some other site. The difference lies in the perspective of the search engines.
A search engine does not consider no-follow links because technically they do not redirect or point to any website. That is because no-follow links do not have any link juice and do not even help in increasing the page ranking of a website.
A certain no-follow tag was started to decrease and totally prevent spamming. When users and websites started learning about the importance of do-follow links that point to a website, some websites went out of their way to get more of these links by any possible means.
The basic thing about do-follow links is that they have to be natural links. But these websites started to buy do-follow links and would pay other websites so that they would link to this particular website in huge numbers. This would lead to higher page ranking for the concerned website.
But Google was smart enough to identify this hack and then launched the no-follow tag to stop this spamming.
After this, now websites automatically add these no-follow tags to any links that it might find in its comment section.
As a result, a lot of people have stopped clicking on these links, but there are still a few who do click on these links.
Google can even punish or penalize a website that it might find using too many do-follow links.
Google launched the no-follow link system just to make sure that websites could stop manipulating the web page rankings, and this no-follow system seems to have worked pretty well.
Differences Between Follow vs NoFollow Links:
Now that we have established what do-follow and no-follow links are let us look at the major differences between these two types of links.
i) No-follow links disable the search engine bots to identify the links that are directed to a website. This means that these links do not have any valuable link juice.
The search engine bots will not be able to follow these; only humans can.
ii). On the other hand, the do-follow links make sure and enable all search engine bots to follow them and index them and reach the website that is being pointed to. These links have a high link juice value.
If a website or a user is linking back to your website, both Google and humans will be able to identify these websites.
Do You Need A Do-follow Link Or No-follow Link To Your Website?
A major question that website owners have is whether to use do-follow or no-follow links on their website.?
It is a tricky question. To get clarity about what kind of link to use, you have to first think of the websites that you are linking to in your posts.
When you link other websites to your post, most of them will be do-follow links, as this is the most feasible thing to do. Because when you link other websites to your post, that is how you can get those websites or even other external websites linking back to you as well.
For this, you have to make sure that the links that you are using in your post are relevant to the content that you are writing.
If the links are too irrelevant, Google or other search engines will consider it as spam.
But now, say, you have something that is not relevant to the content, and yet you want to add a link to it, you should go for a no-follow link.
For this, make sure that the affiliate links, sponsored links, ads that you place on your web pages, etc. are all no-follow links. This way even when users click on these links, you will still earn revenue and Google or other search engines will not follow them also.
Another great thing about the no-follow links is that you can use this to deal with your competitors in your industry.
Say, for example, you want to link to something on their site that users might find relevant, you can use a no-follow link here. That way you will not pass on any link juice to that website.
Also, if you run several websites, you would want all of them to link to each other on every possible web page without being spammy. The best way you can do that is by using no-follow links.
How To Check Do-follow and No-follow Links?
Both the do-follow, and no-follow links are important for any website, but if you are a website owner, you will obviously prefer other websites linking to your website through do-follow links.
However, a website owner does not know whether the link that points to his website is a nofollow link or a do-follow link. But worry not, we have got you covered.
Here are few ways in which you can check whether a link is a do-follow link or no-follow link.
Check the source code:
This is one of the most common methods to check a link, but for this to be effective you need to have a little working knowledge of HTML. You can use this method in any web browser.
For example, say you want to check a particular xyz.com website’s link to your website if the links used to your website is a do-follow or no-follow. So, you do a right click on that webpage and click the ‘View Source Code’ button from there.
Next, press Ctrl+F and enter xyz.com. Then it will show the result that on that certain webpage, wherever the author has used links to your website, whether those links are do-follow links or no-follow links.
Add the ‘No-Follow’ extension from the Chrome web store:
Few website owners might find the above method difficult. For them, there is an easier way out.
All you need to do is to visit the Chrome web store and add the No-follow extension from there to detect all the no-follow links a web page is using.
Once you add the extension, it will start working by itself. It will show you all the no-follow links in the rel=”nofollow” format and will highlight that in a red rectangle.
All the links that will come in the red box are no-follow links.
Add the ‘No-follow’ extension in Mozilla Firefox:
Like Google Chrome has its No-follow extension on the Chrome web store, Firefox too has its extension that detects and highlights all the no-follow links on a web page. To add this, you need to be using the Firefox browser.
Visit the settings page and add the No-follow add on to your browser.
Once you have successfully added the extension, you can then go to any web page and check if the links are do-follow links or no-follow links.
You need to go to a web page and then right click on it. Then select the NoDoFollow option from the list.
It will then show you all the do-follow links highlighted in blue and the no-follow links highlighted in red. This is one of the simple methods to check the links.
Also, unlike Chrome, Mozilla Firefox also points out the do-follow links, which gives a website owner more clarity.
We had already mentioned in the beginning that SEO is a maze of different layers that are all connected to each other. One of the most important components of SEO apart from high-quality content and keywords is proper links.
When a web page or content is search engine optimized, its chances of getting higher rankings on search engine result pages are more. These backlinks play an important role in Google’s way of determining the ranking of websites, even if they have similar content which is of high quality.
Websites survive on the internet based on their rankings, and that determines how much traffic they get. In the world of cut-throat competition, make the best use of do-follow, and no-follow links for your website.