Our Blog

23 Apr 2008

NoFollow vs. DoFollow – Should You Care?

There’s a pretty big debate being waged on websites today between the “no follow” link contingent and the “do follow” advocates. Which side of the camp are you on? Maybe you haven’t decided because you really aren’t sure how each type of link works.

No follow links were first developed by Google as a way to control spam links on blogs and other sites. There was a valid complaint that many legitimate sites were being penalized if they had a large number of links to other sites with little or no value. By adding the no follow tag to any links (rel=“nofollow”), blog publishers and forum owners were provided a tool to prevent spammers from posting endless useless comments simply to get a free link back to a site that you might not want to be associated with.

A “no follow” link gives Google and other major search engines specific instructions. When a “no follow” code is part of a link, the theory goes that Google will NOT follow the link to the other page and it will NOT include the link when calculating Page Rank for your web page.

On the other hand, it’s nice to share some link juice with those who take the time to comment on your blog, sign your guest book or otherwise contribute something of value to your site. After all, wouldn’t you like them to return the favor to you some day?

As a link builder, we often get requests to find only “do follow” links for our clients.  But should they really insist on that?  Should you count the ratio of no follow to do follow links to your site (or from your site) to try and figure out the perfect balance?

Three Good Reasons Not to Care 

In our opinion, you really don’t need to worry too much about ratios or link counts. Here are three good reasons why:

1. The search engines expect to see a balance of “no follow” and “do follow” links to your site. What those exact ratios are can be debated, but it is clear that you should not be trying to get every link to your site as a “do follow”.

2. We haven’t seen any concrete proof that the three major search engines aren’t passing some link juice through “no follows”. In fact, we have seen some pretty good articles indicating that they feel they received some good link love from “no follow” links from authority sites.

3. Focus on getting links for traffic and you won’t have to worry about it at all.  This is often lost with link builders. So much emphasis is placed on getting link juice for search engine rankings, that many forget that the best links of all bring real traffic to your site. If you get a link that sends you meaningful traffic, do you really care if it is “no follow” or “do follow”?

It all boils down to common sense – a balance of inbound links will generally do more to help your site when compared to concentrating on one method of link building. When in doubt, if it’s a quality site that wants to link to you, take the link, whether it is “do follow” or “no follow”.

[tags] no follow, do follow, link building [/tags]