If you’ve been doing any kind of reading about link building, then you’ve probably seen people mentioning nofollow and dofollow links. These are very important terms to understand when you are trying to build great links back to your site in order to increase your search engine rankings. But, to the person who is new to all of this, it may be kind of confusing. I am going to help break it down for you.
Nofollow or Dofollow
When creating a link on a webpage using HTML, the standard code for that link is:
It includes the HTML tag, the URL the link will be going to, the text that will be shown on the webpage for that link, and the closing HTML tag.
You are able to add more HTML to the code above, in order to tell the search engine spiders whether or not you want them to follow the link when crawling your website. You may be thinking… “Why wouldn’t I want the search engine spiders to see all of the links on my site?” This is a very valid concern, which I will address further down. First, I am going to show you how to modify the HTML in order to tell the search engine spiders to crawl a link or not.
To tell the spiders to crawl a link, you don’t have to do anything. Simply using the format shown above, the search engine spiders will crawl the link provided.
To tell the spiders to NOT crawl a link, you need to add the following code to the HTML code above:
It would then look like:
Basically, there is no true dofollow, it is just NOT using the nofollow tag. Pretty simple, eh?
Why does this matter?
When you are using different methods (hopefully from this site) in order to build links on other websites (to increase your search engine rankings), you need to determine if the websites you are attempting to get your site listed on use the nofollow tag or not. If they do, it may still be a good idea to try to get that link there, but it is generally regarded as not the best use of time since the search engines don’t follow that link and you don’t get any increase in search engine rankings from that link.
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So, when you are looking for sites and blogs that you could leave your link on (through reciprocal links, commenting on a blog, directory submissions, buying links, etc) figure out if the links in the particular section of the site you are aiming for uses nofollow or not. (A good way to do this is to view the source code, or find some good dofollow lists such as Courtney Tuttle’s D-list )
Why wouldn’t I want the search engine spiders to see all of the links on my site? (Or, Why would I use “nofollow”?)
There are many reasons you would want to use the “nofollow” tag, such as:
1) Paid Links: This is recommended by Google. Essentially, your sites page rank give a small amount of rank juice to the sites you link to (which helps their search engine ranking, which is the purpose of link building, to get that juice from others). If you have a paid link on your site, it’s essentially buying a higher rank in Google. They don’t like that.
2) Maybe in your blog’s comment section (if using most blog software, this is automatic). It is up to you if you want your commentators to get link juice back to their site. It is personal preference.
3) When linking to major, very popular sites. If you are linking to google.com, yahoo.com, digg.com (the front page), cnn.com, or whoever else, they are already popular, so you might as well use nofollow since your link won’t make or break them.
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I hope this has been helpful. Feel free to comment or use the contact link in the top right of the page if you have any questions about this, or any link building subject.