Dofollow and Nofollow Links: How They Impact Rankings in 2021

As soon as you start a new blog, you want to gain  the top ranking positions in SERP. However, you also have to remember that it  does not happen overnight. You should build a certain amount of quality links before then only you’ll  be able to start seeing first results of your activities.

It is a well-known fact that not all the links are equal. There is very  much big difference between getting an Abel Prize and just getting a bonus at work. Don’t you  also think so? We know that some backlinks can give more value in Google search.

As you already know, all the  links are divided into Dofollow and Nofollow. We will cover all the basic things about each one and whether they are really worthy for SEO activities.

Dofollow vs. Nofollow Links

What is a Dofollow backlink?

Dofollow backlink passes the authority (link juice) from the referring website to the linked website. Crawlers count these links and their anchor texts. Therefore, dofollow backlinks directly influence your backlink profile because they send a signal to search engines what is the linked website about.

What is a Nofollow backlink?

Nofollow backlink does not pass the authority because the tag rel=”nofollow” in the HTML code of the website tells crawlers not to follow these backlinks. Google does not transfer the authority or anchor text across nofollow links.

Here’s an illustration of backlinks:


“The difference between a Dofollow and a Nofollow link is that the Dofollow link passes PageRank signals (some refer to this as SEO or link juice), and a Nofollow link doesn’t,” said Paul Ronto, the CMO of RunRepeat. In other words, the distinction lies in how the Google algorithm treats each such link. “On the technical side of things, the only difference between the two is that a Nofollow link has a very small tag (rel=” nofollow”) in the code,” Ronto said. This tag lets the  search crawlers know that the link shouldn’t affect the PageRank score. “Human users can still interact with the link, this is purely an algorithm distinction,” Wulfe said.

So, the links still function in the very same way, but Google sees them differently depending on the tag used, and as you may have guessed, Dofollow links have the greater value than Nofollow links.

SEO value of Dofollow links

Dofollow links are an HTML attribute that is also  used to allow the search bots to follow the links. If a webmaster is linked to your site with dofollow link, search engine bots and people can follow you too. They pass on the  link juice and really benefit your website to get a high Page Rank.

Google takes notes of all the Dofollow links and figures how many users are linking to your page in order to get how really good the page is. The more Dofollow links that  you have, the more points you will get. The best way to give the follow link is to make use of the keyword as the anchor text. Here is an example:

[<a href=“”>Bloggeroundup</a>]

It is extremely  important to not get Dofollow link from anywhere, but also to  gain a follow link from a reputable website. If you can also post a link on New Your Times or CNN, you will cut a melon!

Dofollow links are those  links that can help you to increase Page Rank, gain more SEO points and boost link juice what makes your site highly ranked in SERP. Dofollow links are  the real votes of the credibility by Google.

Link building is undeniably a powerful strategy to boost your SEO, and according to Moz, “99.2% of all the top 50 results in the SERPs have at least one backlink pointing to their site.”


SEO value of Nofollow Links

Nofollow links don’t allow  the search engine bots to follow your links. These links don’t pass on link juice. Only people can follow these links. They don’t help you to boost the  Page Rank, website rankings and have no SEO value. It is a notice for the search engine not to count a link.

As we know Nofollow links don’t pass the  link juice but it can also help to get traffic on your website. We  guess you’ve noticed many times the Nofollow rel tag. If you will use the Nofollow link HTML tag, you won’t do any harm for your website. Search engines even respect this tag. Here is the example of this tag:

[<a rel=”nofollow  href=””>Bloggeroundup</a>]

The Nofollow tag can be good for the SEO – most webmasters use this tag not to follow untrusted content. These links belong in the  paid links, forums, blog comments and some untrusted content.

Google have recently noticed that they will count all the Nofollow links to boost PR for your page. But it depends on where the link is placed and the quality of it. If you place it at the beginning of your text, it will give more impact than if you post it at the bottom of the page.

The Benefits of Nofollow links for SEO

You should also follow the principle of diversity. I mean it is very important to use Nofollow links for your inbound link profile. It will look all  suspicious if all inbound links are Dofollow and it is not natural. Don’t you think so? Therefore, you need to maintain a balance between your links and use both Dofollow and Nofollow links. A healthy mix of the Nofollow links can even give a good influence on Dofollow links.

Good and quality link is a perfect gateway in your website that shows your content and can give a good amount of traffic. If you have the  Nofollow links on Wikipedia or Google blog it doesn’t mean the link is not valuable, vice versa, sites with a lot of traffic can give many added benefits.

That sort of traffic will also  allow you to deal with conversions, leads and even get a Dofollow link. Getting the  links on the social media is what you should lead to creative awareness about your content. It is really good to get links on the authoritative websites and social media, forums and blogs that can attract good traffic to your websites.

The moral of the story: Don’t think what links will be valuable for your SEO, think about links that can be worthy for your business, product, brand or service. Think about  those links that can increase your brand authority. Try to build website trust!


How to check whether a link is Nofollow or Dofollow

There are a few ways to check the type of backlinks: Dofollow or Nofollow.

  1. Right-click on the page and click “view source. You will see a screenshot. In the source code, you need to just press Ctrl+F and search for your site name and comments in the screenshot. Now you can check the type of a link.
  2. There are also many useful extensions you can download for Firefox or Chrome automatically that will define whether a link is Dofollow or Nofollow.

New link attributes

In September 2019, Google announced two new link attributes as an evolution of the nofollow attribute to have new ways to identify the nature of links. For almost 15 years “nofollow” was the only way for flagging sponsored or advertised links. From now on, there are 3 ways to flag these links:


Use it for links that are part of advertisements, sponsored or in other way compensated cooperation.


UGC means User Generated Content. Use it for user generated content such as forum posts and comments.


Use it for links when you don’t want to pass any ranking credit (link juice) to the linked page.

All three attributes will be used as hints which links should Google include or exclude in Search.

Do I need to change the link attributes on my website?

No. The nofollow tag remains supported as it was all the time. Though the three attributes already work, the nofollow will become a hint for crawling and indexing purposes on March 1, 2020.

For WordPress blog, you can use the Robots meta plugin to define the noindex, nofollow and noarchive tags on a post. If you want to remove all Nofollow links from comments, you can try Dofollow plugin.

But how can we monitor the spotted backlinks and be sure that all the dofollow links stay as they are and don’t become nofollow one day?

Special backlink monitoring tools like the one from SE Ranking allows you to automatically import any site’s backlinks that it has  and provide a detailed analysis and filtering facilities.

When monitoring your backlinks with SE Ranking, you can track their status, check the most important SEO parametres, define suspicious links and create a ready-to-go disavow file for Google.

Try how it feels to check and control all your backlinks in one place – 14 days are completely free.

Google’s 2019 updates on Nofollow links

Prior to the September 2019 update, Google also treated the “nofollow” attribute as an instruction to ignore the link. From now on, Google takes it as a hint for rankings and later on — starting in March 2020 — it will use it as a hint for crawling and indexing as well.

What does “using it as a hint for the rankings” mean? Previously, the “nofollow” attribute was a command, and now it’s rather a recommendation. This means that if Google deems it necessary – it will give such links credit, recognize them as spam or use them for various ranking purposes.

Long story short:

  • Google didn’t use nofollow links for rankings or indexing.
  • As of September 10, it uses them as “hints” for rankings.
  • Starting on March 2, 2020, Google will be using them as “hints” for crawling and indexing.

Moreover, Google initiated two new link attributes to point out the specific role of a link: rel=”sponsored” and rel=”ugc”.

Up until now, the “nofollow” attribute was just the only way to mark a link that shouldn’t be taken into account by Google. Now, Google suggested more specific options. The “sponsored” attribute should mark  be all paid and sponsored links. And “ugc” should be applied to links in user-generated content, i.e. comments, forum posts, etc.

Does it mean we should rush to replace the nofollow attribute with the new ones? No, it’s okay to leave your paid or user-generated links with “nofollow” attributes.

Can the new attributes be  also used in combination with “nofollow”? Yes. You can use them together if needed: rel=”nofollow sponsored”, rel=”nofollow ugc”.

Main takeaway: Don’t worry, there’s no need for any radical changes, just keep the updates in mind in the future. Everything’s fine, guys!

Before Google introduced the concept of Dofollow and Nofollow links, the world of the search engine optimization (SEO) was about as chaotic as the wild west (minus the shootouts).The  Bloggers and website administrators alike would also engage in spammy back linking practices that involved adding links to their company’s website too anywhere they could for the sake of backlink juice.

Today, it’s harder than ever to just  create and execute a successful backlinking strategy. In fact, 65% of marketers say that link building is the most challenging SEO task. But that’s a good thing, as it means that ranking on the first page of any Google search now requires a web page to be truly valuable, as we will discuss in this article.

We’ve asked SEO experts to explain the difference between Dofollow and Nofollow links, why they both  matter, and how you can start building them.

What Is PageRank and How Is it Affected By Dofollow Links?

A web’s PageRank is essentially its value in Google’s eyes. “PageRank signals are  basically the points that tell Google and other search engines the page that is being linked to is valuable or has valuable information on it,” said Ronto.

Pages with a greater PageRank usually appear higher up on the search engine results pages (SERP). “There are a ton of other factors that help a page or a site rank well in the SERPs,” continues Pronto, “but links are seen as very valuable and [a] core cue to the search engines of  the worthy information.”

Natalia Wulfe, the CMO of Effective Spend further explains, “When a highly ranked website links to the  lower ranked site with a dofollow link they are passing along their ‘link juice,’ which is boosting the value of the lower ranked website’s value to the search engine.” The lower ranked site gets more PageRank points from the high-quality Dofollow link.

Ronto adds, “The  points are the very  important distinction on why a DoFollow link is better than a NoFollow link when you are out there building the links back to your site.” While dofollow links may be essential for SEO purposes, nofollow links are crucial for websites as well.

Should You Still Use Nofollow Links?

“Nofollow links do still have the value,” said Ronto. In fact, even if they don’t count for the  PageRank, they’re still noticed by search crawlers. “A site that has zero Nofollow links,” Ronto explains that , “could be a red flag to the crawlers, denoting something which is  spammy or fishy going on.” That’s because the most sites gain Nofollow links naturally over time. Websites can use Nofollow links to avoid association with spammy websites, while still linking to information that may be valuable to its readers.

“The other reason to utilize the  Nofollow links is for sponsorship purposes.” Wulfe said. Many high-quality sites use Dofollow links when they’re paid to the  link to other websites, but default to Nofollow links for non-sponsored links, so they don’t give their link juice away for free.

Therefore, you want the  portion of your site’s backlink profile to be Nofollow links so you can get  the backlinks from high-quality websites and signal to search crawlers that your site is legitimate and not spamming Dofollow links.

How You Can Effectively Build Dofollow and Nofollow Links

“Every website should be looking to build the  high-quality Dofollow links,” declared Wulfe. She said the easiest way to get  the Dofollow links is to search for mentions of your brand within the content on other websites that haven’t linked to you. You can reach out to the author or the  site owner directly and ask if they’d be willing to add a Dofollow backlink to your website. If the mention in the content was positive about your brand, there’s a good chance they’ll be open to the request.

“A second, slightly more difficult method is to search your competition’s backlinks using a tool like the Ahrefs,” Wulfe said. You may find that you have better content than your competitor, and could ask the website to switch their Nofollow link to your site instead. In other cases, you may also be able to get your brand added to a listicle that mentions your competitors. Pitching these may not have the highest success rate, but it’s another method for obtaining the high-quality Dofollow backlinks.

“When it comes to the link building,” Ronto says, “there are  really are no quick and easy ways to build quality links.” The best backlinking methods are constantly changing as the Google updates its SEO algorithms. In Ronto’s opinion, “The number one method is to create an amazing content that people want to link to naturally.” If your content is highly valuable for your audience, search engines will pick up on this and rank your website accordingly.

While it makes sense to  focus on the quality content to garner Dofollow and Nofollow links, consistently generating the  valuable content is challenging for many websites. “This is really why link building is so difficult,” Ronto said.

The link profile of your company’s website is also one of the most important elements of your search engine optimization (SEO) ecology. It’s essential to know how your site links within its many pages as well as how it links to and from the  external sites. One of the most important yet most often overlooked aspects of websites’ link profiles is their nofollow links.

Your link profile is incredibly valuable. A solid link profile can increase your page views per visitor rate, boost your search engine rankings, and ultimately cultivate more domain authority for your website. Nofollow links play an essential role in building a strong link profile for your company’s website.

As 2020 approaches, it’s a very good idea to reconsider your current nofollow link settings for your website. The Search engine rankings are more difficult to improve thanks to numerous updates to the Google Search algorithm over recent years, and it’s vital for all you to know how your brand’s website could benefit from having nofollow links in the right configuration.


It is a well-know fact that everyone wants to get Dofollow links. The best way is to create epic and original content that will attract traffic and makes it shared and linked in a natural way.

When you focus on creating an awesome link profile, try to get a healthy balance of Dofollow and Nofollow links. Both links can deserve a good place in SEO.

Ashfaq Ahmad

I Ashfaq Ahmad Founder of BloggeRoundup. A blog that helps you to learn blogging, SEO, affiliate marketing and make money online tips. Join my Facebook Group and stay connected with other pro bloggers.

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