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What are Dofollow and Nofollow backlinks? Understanding their importance

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

Nofollow vs Dofollow Links

Search engine optimization or SEO as it is commonly known as is the backbone of digital marketing. It helps rank webpages.

There are several terms like doindex, noindex, dofollow, nofollow, meta robots, etc., that hold equal importance from an SEO point of view.

In this post, we will discuss Nofollow and Dofollow backlinks.

What is the value of Backlink in SEO?

Google uses the quality and quantity of inbound links to measure the value of your website. In 2005, Google has used a point system- PageRank to determine the value of a page and show it in the search results. PageRank considers the value of links pointing to your site or page. High-value links can help boost your site rankings in search results.

What is a Nofollow Backlink?

These are links with a rel=”nofollow” in the HTML code of the website. It tells crawlers not to follow these backlinks. Google will not transfer authority or anchor text if it comes across a nofollow link.

Simply put, nofollow links tell search engines to ignore a link and since they do not pass PageRank, they are less likely to impact rankings.

For example: <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>anchor text</a>

SEO value

Nofollow backlinks do not pass on link juice. Only people can follow these links. These links do not help boost Page Rank or website ranking and have no SEO value.

Do nofollow Backlinks hold any value?

Nofollow backlinks do not pass on link juice. Only people can follow these links. These links do not help boost Page Rank or website ranking and have no SEO value. That said, nofollow links still contribute value in many ways.

  • Nofollow links are needed for a natural backlink profile

As a rule, a website must have a mix of nofollow and dofollow links pointing to it. However, make sure that you cultivate a backlink profile that appears natural. You don’t have to contact every site that links you with a nofollow link asking for a dofollow link.

  • Nofollow links can bring traffic and boost your brand value

Often, links from high-traffic websites are set to nofollow. While they may not have a significant contribution to your site’s PageRank, they can help bring in a lot of traffic when people click through to check your website. These visitors who arrive at your website from another website via a link are called Referrals in Google Analytics.

For example, if your site is linked to a New York Times article, the reference can benefit your brand greatly.

  • Nofollow links can help increase your dofollow links

The links you gain from popular websites can help bring more awareness. As more people know about your site, you are more likely to get dofollow links organically. For example, Neil Patel’s traffic from Quora resulted in more fans and followers of his blogs, which may lead to more links.

How to Make a link “nofollow”?

To make a link nofollow, make the following changes to the code;

  • Switch to the HTML view in your blog editor, so you can edit the code directly.

  • Locate the link you want to change to nofollow.

  • Add the no follow attribute <ahref=”” rel=”nofollow”>Example anchor text</a>

When can you use a Nofollow Backlink?

You can use a nofollow backlink when you don’t want to pass link juice to or endorse the linked website.

For example, in 2005 comment spam became an issue and to overcome this issue, webmasters used nofollow backlinks. These links were able to make the comments fields nofollow so the website wouldn’t benefit from spamming comments with links.

You may use nofollow links for any affiliate links, sponsored links or user-generated content.

2 Important types of nofollow links

  1. Robots Meta tag This <meta name=”robots” content=”nofollow” />, tells the crawlers not to follow links on the entire page

  2. Link Attribute This <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>, tells the crawlers not to count the link in terms of ranking pages

What is a Dofollow Backlink?

A Dofollow backlink allows search engines to follow them and reach the website. Dofollow backlinks influence your backlink profile as they send signal to search engines about what the linked website is about.

The best way to give someone Dofollow is by including the targeted keyword in the anchor text.

An example of dofollow link is:

<a href=””>anchor text</a>

SEO Value

If you have a Dofollow link on the website, search engines and people can follow you. They pass link juice that is beneficial to get your website rank higher.

How to Get a dofollow link?

To get dofollow links, you can consider creating compelling content. Remember, unique and original content gets shared and linked naturally. You may also consider guest blogging on relevant sites to build referral traffic and an SEO boost.

How to make a link “dofollow” in your website?

By default, any new link you create on your site such as in a blog post will be a dofollow link.

Effect of dofollow links on your site rankings

Search engines crawl the site via dofollow links. This helps the bot to understand who is linking to who. This relationship passes “link juice” from one site to another.

For instance, if a reputable site having a high PageRank links you, the search engines will see your site as more credible and increase your PageRank. Eventually, this can improve your ranking in search engine results.

What is the Difference between nofollow & dofollow links?

  • While nofollow links attributes do not allow search engine to follow them, dofollow links allow all the search engines to follow them and reach a site.

  • Nofollow links do not pass on link juice and only humans can follow the links. Dofollow links give link juice and a backlink.

  • You can use nofollow link attribute to links that you don’t want to pass link-juice.

  • To dofollow link, you can add keyword in the anchor text. It means, when you are linking to any page or site you must use targeted keyword as anchor text.

How to check if it is a Dofollow or a Nofollow backlink?

A few ways to check whether a link is Dofollow or Nofollow are;

  1. SEO extensions

  2. HTML code

  3. Backlink analysis tools

1. SEO extensions

A few browser extensions will help you know if a link is a Dofollow or a Nofollow backlink. GrowthBar, BuzzSumo extension, MozBar, SEOquake, Mangools SEO extension, etc., are a few examples of SEO extensions that are worth trying to gain information about backlink analysis, traffic info, Alexa Rank, etc.

2. HTML Code

If you already know where the backlink is, you can simply take a look at the HTML code of the referring site.

If you know where the backlink is placed, the easiest way is to take a look at the HTML code of the referring website:

  • Right click on the anchor text. Select “Inspect element” or “Inspect” (depending on your browser). You can even press “Ctrl+Shift+I” in Chrome.

  • Check the code for rel= “nofollow”. If you do not find it, it means the link is Dofollow

3. Backlink Analysis Tool

You can use backlink analysis tools such as LinkMiner to analyze your own or your competitor’s link profile. You can use the backlink analysis tools if you don’t know what backlinks the website has or their anchor texts or their placements.

To use the tool, you need to;

  • Enter the domain you want to know backlinks for

  • Click on the backlinks (left table) and once the referring website loads on the right side of the screen, click on the anchor text to locate it.

What is the best ratio of dofollow and nofollow links?

While there is no “best” ratio of links pointing to your site, some people follow 50-50 mix and others use 40-60 (nofollow- dofollow links). That said, there are still others who follow 30-70, nofollow/dofollow links.

We recommend you include a variety of link types for your site. To get an idea of what might be great for your industry, you can go through a few websites in the same industry as yours. Try to choose high-ranking sites.


Dofollow backlinks have more SEO value than Nofollow backlinks. However, it is recommended that you have a healthy balance of Dofollow and Nofollow links in your link profile. Together they can help you earn higher rankings on SERPs.

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