What are Nofollow Backlinks and why do you need them?

Maximizing your site’s SEO requires a wide variety of resources. Backlinks are vital to increasing your site’s traffic and improving your visibility online. To get the most out of backlinks, it is important to use other sites even when you may not want to promote their content over yours. That is where nofollow backlinks come into play. Here is everything you need to know about nofollow backlinks and how they can help your site succeed.

A nofollow backlink is a backlink that will not affect search engine rankings. You can designate any link on your site as a nofollow link, and Google will not consider it when determining your ranking. Nofollow links can still increase the traffic on your site even though it does not directly affect your site’s SEO.

rel nofollow backlinks

Depending on the platform you are using, the nofollow tag may be added to links in blog comments or links to social media automatically. If you need to add the nofollow tag yourself on any link on your site you just add rel=”nofollow” to the HTML of the embedded link.

<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.yoursite.com/">anchor text</a>

This will mark the link as nofollow and will exempt it from Google’s algorithm. Some hosting sites like WordPress allow you to toggle nofollow tags on and off for all of your embedded links.

wordpress nofollow link
WordPress settings for nofollow backlink

Although they do not directly affect your site’s SEO, nofollow backlinks still bring a lot of value to your site. Nofollow links allow you to include backlinks on your site without passing on authority to that site. Nofollow links show Google’s algorithm that you don’t want your ranking to be brought down by that link.

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Nofollow links are often used to combat spam or solicitation on blogs or websites. The nofollow tag can be added to blog comments that spam links to other sites that you may not want to be associated with. If Google was to consider these spam links on your site, your search engine ranking on relevant queries could fall drastically.

source code rel nofollow
How to check rel=”nofollow” in source code

Nofollow links are also used for links to social media posts. Social media posts can be unpredictable and will not do anything to help your search engine ranking. Leaving them out of consideration will help you to keep credibility and climb the rankings faster.

Google Guidelines make it clear that any link that is paid for needs to be marked as a nofollow link. Google does this to prevent people from paying for the highest quality links to help boost their search engine rank to the top without providing accurate and authoritative content. This includes paid advertisements anywhere on your site. If Google finds a paid link that has not been marked as nofollow and is being used to influence your site’s SEO they can penalize you and take you to the bottom of the search engine rankings.

Although Google does not consider nofollow links when establishing the authority of your site in the search engine rankings, nofollow links still have plenty of SEO value. The number of backlinks on a site has been found to have a positive impact on search engine rankings. This includes both dofollow and nofollow links. The more backlinks you have, the better your ranking should be.

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Some studies have found that Google still looks at nofollow links and can increase your ranking if nofollow sites are relevant to your content. While this is unproven, it doesn’t hurt to include nofollow links in the hopes that it will still help with SEO.

Nofollow links may not be taken into consideration for your site’s SEO, but they still provide a direct link to your site. There is no difference between dofollow links and nofollow links when it comes to traffic generation. The people who visit a website and see a link to your site have no idea whether it is a dofollow or nofollow link and may feel motivated to click on it either way. While it may not bring in more traffic from a search query, a nofollow link holds the same traffic generation on the page.

ahrefs nofollow profile
Nofollow distribution in Ahrefs backlinks profile

The traffic from nofollow links can provide plenty of opportunities for dofollow links in the future. If a nofollow link generates enough traffic on a site, the content on that site may start to be included on other relevant blogs or sites through natural backlinks. Even though a nofollow link doesn’t directly help improve SEO, the dofollow backlinks that can spawn from increased traffic certainly do make a positive difference.

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Nofollow links are important because they’re natural. Every site and blog on the internet has links embedded that will not help them establish their credibility or authority on a subject. A site that has no nofollow links is actually more suspicious to the Google algorithm than a site with many nofollow links.

  • This is because Google measures each site by a natural link profile.
  • This ensures that a site is working naturally with a good mix of dofollow and nofollow links.
  • This helps Google weed out fake or ungenuine sites that are only leveraging dofollow links.

If your blog or site doesn’t have a good mix of dofollow and nofollow links in your natural link profile you could be penalized in the search rankings.  

WhiteCat Outreach can help you make the most out of your nofollow links with its SEO auditing services. The experts at WhiteCat can help you decide which links should hold the nofollow designation and how to still use those links to improve your website’s SEO and traffic. WhiteCat Outreach can also help you get high-quality guest posting opportunities with both dofollow and nofollow backlinks to bring more people to your site and raise your search engine ranking.