General SEO

Dofollow vs nofollow backlinks-what they are and how search engines treat them


We all know that back link is the back bone of Google Search Algorithm and they continuously work to improve it so that people can get more relevant search result.

Google decides your ranking in SERP based on more than 200 signals (Ranking Factor) and ‘back link’ is one of them and is most important in current search algorithm.

In the starting of Google Search, Google were using Google Page Rank to decide ranking of your page but then Google noticed that people have started to manipulate the Google PR; then Google introduced a new criteria in search algorithm – ‘back link’.

Back links are links pointing to your website from other websites.

When we give back link to any website then we are passing the Link Juice to that website and if your site have more outbound link than inbound link then your sites Page Rank may decrease in next Google Page Rank Update.

There were cases where people don’t want to give the Juice but they wanted to make the back link. So in 2005 Google introduced the concept of ‘Do-follow and No-follow’ links.

To make a link ‘Do follow’ or ‘No follow’ require a small knowledge of HTML.

What is ‘Do follow’ link?

Every link have a attribute ‘rel’, if we set its value to ‘dofollow’ then link become ‘dofollow’ link and Google bot follow this link.

e.g. <a href=  rel=”dofollow”> My Sample Domain</a>

Whenever Google bot (crawler) find any dofollow link on the page, it crawl that linked page and pass the link Juice.

What is ‘No follow’ link?

If we set ‘rel’ attribute value to ‘nofollow’ then link become ‘nofollow’ link and Google bot will not follow this link.

e.g. <a href=  rel=”nofollow”> My Sample Domain</a>

When Google find any nofollow link on the page, it doesn’t crawl that linked page and don’t pass the link Juice.

Use of ‘no follow Link

Most of new blogger thinks that if ‘no follow’ links doesn’t have any SEO value then why we should go for it. I agree that it doesn’t have any SEO values but if you get a natural ‘no follow link’ from a famous blog or forum which is having tons of traffic then you will get quality referral traffic from this link. Google bot don’t consider ‘no follow’ link but human can see it and if they find it useful then they will come to your site as well.

SEO Tips – If you have paid links on your blog or website then make them ‘no follow’ to avoid any Google penalty. It is suggested by Google Webmaster Guideline as well.

FAQ’s about ‘do follow and no follow links’

Question – Why we should make links ‘no follow’?

Answer – To maintain a proper Link Juice for your domain we should use ‘no follow’ links. Google doesn’t pass link Juice to linked domain in case of ‘no follow’ link.

Question – What should be the ratio between ‘do follow and nofollow’ links?

Answer – Most of the SEO and Webmaster’s suggest that we should not worry about the ratio of these two. We should be natural while making a link ‘do follow’ or ‘no follow’. If you try to manipulate it then you will always worry about ratio and Google penalty.

Question – If we have duplicate link on same page then how Google treat them?

Answer – Google don’t consider duplicate links. If a page have multiple copy of same link then it just consider the first link.

Question – If I have 10 back links on my page and 5 of them are ‘do follow’ and 5 of them are ‘no follow’ then how the Link Juice distribute among them.

Answer –

Logic before the ‘do follow / no follow’ concept

If you have 10 back links then each will get 10% of page link Juice

Logic after the ‘do follow / no follow’

Total links are 10 so each must get 10% but 5 of them are ‘no follow’ so 50% Link Juice will just vanish.

So each back link out of 5 ‘do follow’ link will get 10% of link Juice.

Question – If I have two duplicate links on my page and one of them is ‘no follow’ and another one is ‘do follow’ then how Google treat them?

Answer – As per discussion in various forums, Google consider the first Link only in case of duplicate links, so it will consider the rel attribute value of first link; if it ‘do follow’ then your link will be consider as ‘do follow’ otherwise not.

We have tried to cover all the aspect of ‘do follow’ and ‘no follow’ links. If you have any query or suggestion then please share with us.


Webmaster World