If you have been trying to learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for some time chances are you have heard about dofollow and nofollow links. But what are they anyway, and how do you find out if a link is dofollow or nofollow? And how does this affect your sites search engine rankings?
Lets start with the background.
The original idea with nofollow was to reduce comment spam on blogs. In 2005 Google’s Mat Cutts and Blogger’s Jason Shellen proposed a way to address the problem with spam comments and the result was the nofollow attribute that can be added to links in a webpage.
This makes no sense to you if you don’t know what a link looks like in HTML, so lets look at what a simple link looks like in the HTML source code of a webpage.
<a href=”http://www.simonbyholm.com”>Simon’s SEO Blog</a>
That’s the link HTML for a simple link pointing to this blog’s homepage with the anchor text “Simon’s SEO Blog”. This is what it will look like in a webpage:
Ok, so what about the nofollow and dofollow stuff you were talking about?
So what about it?
Here’s what the same link will look like when it has the nofollow tag added:
<a href=”http://www.simonbyholm.com” rel=”nofollow”>Simon’s SEO Blog</a>
Look at that! I added the text rel=”nofollow” to the link. That’s what a nofollow link looks like. Learn to recognize and stay away from these kind of links, they are of little value for SEO.
What the nofollow tag does, is it tells Google to disregard the link and to not give any link juice to the target page. Specifically nofollow links does not pass PageRank to the target page! This means you should not pay for links from directories or other sources if they carry the nofollow tag.
So what about dofollow, what’s that? I hear you asking.
Dofollow is the opposite of nofollow. It’s a standard link with no “nofollow” tag added. A link that will pass link juice and that is good for your search engine rankings if it points your way. It’s just easier to call it a “dofollow link” than to say “a link with no nofollow tag”, don’t you agree?