How Nofollow and Dofollow Links Are Different

If you’re new to the world of search engine optimization (SEO), one of the most important things to understand is the value of links. So what are nofollow and dofollow links, and how do they impact SEO?

On this page, we’ll take a look at the difference between nofollow and dofollow links, when you should use them, and how they impact your overall SEO efforts.

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What’s all the talk about links?

You can think of search engine results as a competition for authority, and links count as votes in the contest. Each time another website links to your site, you earn credibility, and the more you have, the more successful your SEO efforts will be.

In other words, websites that receive more links will generally rank higher in search results for targeted keywords and phrases.

Links form relationships between pages and websites, and search engines use links to crawl, discover, and index new pages. Search engines also use links to determine the authority of pages and relevance to search queries.

Now that we’ve established the importance of links, let’s take a look at the difference between nofollow and dofollow links.

What is a dofollow link?

Dofollow links allow search engines and humans to follow them to reach websites.

In other words, dofollow links count as votes for your site’s authority, and they pass along “link juice”. So if you receive a link from a high-authority website, you will appear to be a more credible source, and it will boost your SEO efforts.

Google keeps tabs on the number of inbound links to your pages, and the more high-authority sites that link to your website, the higher you will rank in search results.

By default, all links are dofollow, so you don’t need to worry about making links dofollow.

What is a nofollow link?

On the other hand, nofollow links don’t help your site gain credibility in the eyes of search engines.

Originally created to combat comment spam, nofollow links are generated with HTML code, and they don’t pass link juice. In other words, nofollow links won’t boost your rankings in search results.

You can create a nofollow link by adding rel=“nofollow” to your links. Though you can add the code by hand, many content management systems automatically insert it when needed. If you have questions about how to add nofollow links, you can always check with your webmaster for advice.

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When should you use nofollow links?

Now that you understand the difference between dofollow and nofollow links, let’s take a look at when you should use them on your website.

Any time you link to another site that you don’t necessarily want to endorse, you can use the nofollow attribute.

Using nofollow links, publishers can instruct search engines not to count links to pages as “votes” in favor of that content. In other words, the nofollow tag blocks credit from being passed to other websites that you link to from your site.

Here are a few examples of when it’s appropriate to use nofollow links.


If you allow comments on your site, you can expect link drops—people posting a link to their website in order to receive link juice. To prevent them from receiving credit from your site, you can use the nofollow attribute.

Paid links

Want to keep links people buy on your site from passing credit? You can use nofollow links to avoid suspicious SEO practices and penalties from Google.

User-generated content

If you allow people to contribute to your website, you can use nofollow links to prevent your site from passing credit to other sites that you don’t necessarily want to vouch for.

In addition to these examples, you can use nofollow links any time you link to other sites and want to avoid endorsing them.

How do links impact SEO?

Building links from credible websites can boost your SEO efforts and help you appear as a more credible source.

Even though nofollow links don’t technically carry power, they can lead to other links that do. For example, a high-authority government website might link to you using a nofollow tag. Still, a number of other sites may see the link and link to you from their own site.

It’s important to keep this in mind as you work to create relationships with others in your industry, gain links to your website, and link to other content on the web.

Want to learn more?

Are you interested in learning more about link building and when to use nofollow links on your website?

At WebFX, our team of link building experts understands what it takes to build relationships on the web and earn your site credible backlinks from high-authority sites.

Contact us today to create your custom Internet marketing plan. We’re excited to work with you!