DoFollow and NoFollow are important factors for SEO that influence the ranking of a particular Website in search engines. DoFollow is a term that does not exist. It is a term given to Websites that are not using the rel=“nofollow” attribute in links. nofollow is a value that can be assigned to the rel attribute of the HTML link to instruct some search engines not to pass on any influence to an outbound link. NoFollow and DoFollow control how a Website passes its PageRank or link juice to other links.
Although search engines don´t pass along the link juice (or let PageRank flow) they still follow and index these links. The nofollow value is not meant for preventing content from being indexed by search engines.
What Exactly is NoFollow?
NoFollow (rel=“nofollow”) means that PageRank or Link juice will NOT be passed to a link. It tells major Search Engines, especially Googlebot, that this link can be followed, the linked page is crawled and indexed, but the PageRank score will not be taken into account.
The attribute that defines a link as NoFollow is rel=“nofollow”.
A typical NoFollow link is like this:
What Exactly is DoFollow?
DoFollow is the exact opposite of NoFollow. A DoFollow link will let your PageRank flow to all external and internal links. When you remove the rel=“nofollow” attribute from a link, then the link becomes DoFollow. The absence of the nofollow value makes the link a DoFollow. Search Engines robots, especially Googlebot, will crawl the link, index it and the PageRank score will be taken into account.
A typical DoFollow link is like this:
How Do I Know if a Website is Using NoFollow?
There are 2 ways to check:
- View the Source code: Highlight the link that you want to check and view the source code of the Webpage. There are several ways to To view the page source depending on the browser you use. You could either select “source” from your browser´s menu or you could right click on the page to view the source from the context menu.
- Use an Add-On: Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers have add-ons that highlight a NoFollow link on a Webpage without actually looking at the source code.
Advantages of rel=“nofollow” Attribute
- Minimize Comment Spam: Especially the comment spam that is manually filled by real users once they know that your Website is DoFollow. Automatic spam will not be affected. Robots that submit spam will not check your link status.
- Not Passing on Your PageRank:You might not want to pass your PageRank to Websites that are completely unrelated to your field, as this, with time, may cause your PageRank score to go down.
- The overall PageRank of your Website is preserved.
Disadvantages of rel=“nofollow” Attribute
- You will not attract more visitors to comment on your Website, thus getting less traffic.
- Without improving popularity, you may not get inbound links to your Website. Thus your PageRank will not improve.
- Less traffic, means less clicks to any advertisements you have on your Website, and thus less earnings.
Where Should I use rel=“nofollow” Attribute
Use the rel=“nofollow” attribute whenever you don´t want to pass your link juice. Regardless what you read otherwise, never add nofollow to any internal pages of your Website. Here are some scenarios when to use NoFollow:
- Use NoFollow for single pages that has more than 100 links. For example, a resource page having several hundred links.
- Use NoFollow for Trust Badges: like the Better Business Bureau and VeriSign, you can add rel=“nofollow” to those links.
- Use NoFollow for your RSS feed. This ensures that your RSS feed isn´t indexed before your Website.
- Use NoFollow when linking to any “questionable” and untrusted Websites.
- Use NoFollow for mega Websites and Social Networks such as: Facebook, Gmail, Adsense, etc.
- Use NoFollow if you link to Web browsers such as Mozilla and Chrome.
- Use NoFollow for paid advertising. If you sell advertisement space on your Website, those ads should always have a rel=“nofollow” attribute inserted in the Link.
- Use NoFollow for affiliate links.
Is NoFollow a Bad Thing?
No not necessarily, consider the following: The NoFollow links might have no effect on PageRank but they still refer real people. As long as “real visitors” can follow the links, that´s great. Eventhough you do not get link juice from the NoFollow links, you still get real visitors.
NoFollow isn´t bad. There´s nothing wrong with getting NoFollow links. While they don´t pass link juice, they do help associate your Website with anchor text.
Matt Cutts on: When to use NoFollow
This is from Matt Cutts own words. Reference…
Let´s do another pass at the question “How does Google treat sites where all external links are no-follow?”
The short answer is that Google does not treat those sites any differently in our rankings, but it´s still not a good idea to do that, in my opinion. Here´s why. When Google sees a nofollow link we drop that link from the link graph we use in our web crawl: we don´t use that link to discover new web pages, and we don´t use the anchor text from that link in our scoring.
So it neither helps nor hurts your rankings to nofollow all your external links. But it´s a good thing in general (and for your visitors) to link to high-quality sites from your site. Nofollow is great 1) for links to sites that you don´t trust, 2) for paid links, or 3) for links to sites that you don´t want to (or can´t) vouch for. But I definitely wouldn´t recommend putting nofollow on every external link. And it almost never makes sense to put nofollow on internal links – those are links that you do trust and vouch for, because they are yours.
By the way, I talked about this in a lot more detail at PageRank sculpting back in 2009.
Advantages of DoFollow
The advantages of adding DoFollow links on your Website are:
- You will attract more visitors especially for comments, thus getting more traffic, exposure and popularity.
- With an increase in popularity, you may get more inbound links to your Website, which helps your PageRank to increase.
- The increase in traffic may also increase your revenue from affiliate programs and other advertisements.
Disadvantages of DoFollow
- The PageRank of your Webpage will be passed to external links. The overall PageRank can be reduced.
- However, you can offset the decrease of your PageRank by attracting more inbound links.
- You get an increase of spam Comments, which require extra time and efforts from your side.
Which Links Should be Set as DoFollow?
To reemphasize, the non-existence of the rel=“nofollow” attribute, means that the link is DoFollow. Links that should be kept DoFollow are:
- All Internal Links. Internal links will help spiders crawl your pages more deeply and they will get indexed often.
- For a blog, links pointing to posts should be kept DoFollow.
- Niche links can be DoFollow. Always give a link to a Website that shares the same content as yours.
Why Blog Owners Abandon DoFollow?
The answer is simple Comment spam. Spam does not have to be automated. A person can leave just as many worthless comments as software just to get link juice. For every person who takes the time to make a genuine comment, there are several who do the following:
- Leave a trivial comment.
- Leave a short summary of the Post.
- Leave a flat out spam comment unrelated to the topic.
- Leave spam comments on several posts in one session.
- Ultimately, as long you keep providing great content and services that people want, your Website will grow.
- Whatever your decision is, just remember that one “authoritative” link can be more effective than several low level links.
- You can build relationships through commenting. Leaving thoughtful comments is a good way to start a relationship with an influential blogger in your field.
- Remember that DoFollow blogs are giving you link juice in exchange for your quality comments. So, be considerate. If you post junk comments, blog owners will get tired of moderating and taken advantage of, and will eventually turn NoFollow back on.
So What would I choose? The best approach is to use a mixture of DoFollow AND NoFollow links. I would favor the DoFollow option but with restrictions. I don´t use the rel=“nofollow” attribute for comment links for this blog because I moderate all comments.
Your Turn to Talk
What is your opinion about NoFollow or DoFollow? Does PageRank or link juice mean anything to you? Does DoFollow gives you the extra incentive to post a comment?
WordPress Plugins – Comment Spam
Using a WordPress blog, you have not only solid core code with built-in tools to prevent comment spam, but there are also several comment spam protection plugins to choose from if you feel you need additional spam protection. With all this protection, you still have to deal with the manual spam yourself. The best approach to comment spam is to moderate all comments before being published.