A simple guide to understanding follow vs no-follow links

If you are new to SEO (or you are part of a few Facebook groups for bloggers) then you may have seen the topic of follow vs no-follow links pop up every now and then. It seems to be a very confusing topic for most people.  Don’t fear – in this blog post, I unpack follow vs no-follow links, making it as simple as possible to understand (and implement).

Before I discuss follow vs no-follow links, I want to discuss links and the benefit it has for SEO. Whenever a site links back to your website, you will get a small SEO boost. The more links you have pointing to your site, the bigger the boost.

A simple guide to understanding follow vs no-follow links

I want to clarify something though – when it comes to links to your website for an SEO boost, it is important to remember that links from sites with a low-quality won’t help much for SEO. Therefore it is important to get sites with high authority, and high link values to link back to your site.

A simple guide to understanding follow vs no-follow links

Now, let’s get back to follow vs no-follow links.

Follow links are links that give some SEO boost to other websites. This helps to improve the page ranking and authority, making the website more appealing to search engines. Follow links direct links to other websites for search engines to crawl – it’s kind of like a roadmap. By including follow links, you are telling search engines that they can follow that link to another website and give that website some SEO juice.

For example: As a beauty blogger, I like product A, B and C, and I recommend that my readers buy these products. To make it easier to find, I include a direct link to the website where these products can be found. When my readers click on that link, they will be taken to that website and they will be able to view (and/or purchase) my recommended product. This link on my website gives the other websites I am linking to a small SEO boost.

Be careful though. Search engines can easily penalise a site with too many follow links that appear spammy!

No-follow links work in a similar way.

Yes, you can click on a no-follow link and still be directed to another website, but that website won’t receive an SEO boost. When you include a no-follow link, the link will point to nothing in the eyes of the all mighty search engines. There is no SEO boost and no increase in page ranking.

No-follow links help to decrease the load of spammy content we see daily and therefore it is perfectly fine to include a no-follow link. Because links are so important for the SEO ranking of a website, people went to do many nasty things to get higher rankings – spamming their links everywhere and even paying for links. And because search engines aren’t stupid, they quickly added the no-follow link to avoid spamming. P.S. Buying links or building your own backlinks is spammy, annoying and won’t get you anywhere. Just don’t do it. Focus on your site quality first. Don’t try to trick the system.

If there is one thing I want to tell newbie bloggers, it is this: STOP spamming your link in the comment section of blogs. Most blogs automatically adds a no-follow link to your blog address and it means NOTHING. You’re only making hard work for yourself, and annoying everyone else. Rather focus on creating great content that people would want to link to and share with others. If your content is good enough, people will come to you. Share it on social media and other content sharing platforms, but don’t be spammy. RANT OVER.

To add a no follow link to your site, simply add this HTML code where you want the link to appear:

<a href=”http://www.addyourlinkhere.com/” rel=”nofollow”>TEXT</a>

No-follow links aren’t all that bad either. In fact, it can hold great power for your website. I recently found this great article on moz.com about the hidden powers of no-follow links. It’s an interesting read and I totally recommend it if you want to learn more about this topic.

So, when do I use no-follow links?

  • Affiliate links
  • Sponsored links – especially if you don’t endorse the site 100% (yup, people will do a lot for $$$)
  • Advertising
  • Comments – great for avoiding low-quality sites to get a SEO boost from you.
  • Links to a competitors website

Here’s a quick summary:

Follow links: outbound links that give SEO juice to other websites

No-follow links: outbound links that give no SEO juice to other websites

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