When other websites link to yours, it drives traffic to the site, builds trust, and helps slowly increase your website’s domain authority. Links are classified as do-follow and no-follow. Many people believe no-follow links are useless because they do not help boost site rank. As a result, no-follow links have gotten a bad reputation. But are do-follow links the only links that have value? Let’s debunk that myth and reveal why sites need no-follow links, too.
What’s the Difference Between Do-Follow and No-Follow Links?
Few people want to admit they don’t understand the difference between a do-follow link and no-follow links. They’ve only heard the negative hype about no-follow links. But what makes them different and why does it matter? Let’s go back in time to when people believed more links was better. They made irrelevant comments on blogs and created profiles with no value that existed solely to get a backlink to their sites.
Google recognized this spammy link building had a negative impact on the quality of search engine results. To improve the user experience, the search engine giant developed the rel=”nofollow” attribute to prevent search engines from following no-follow links. As a result, and unlike do-follow links, no-follow links do not improve page rank.
Here’s a helpful tip – want to know the type of link it is? Right click on the link, choose “inspect element,” then look for the “nofollow” tag. While do-follow links are the only ones that directly improve page rank, no-follow links also have value.
Everyone Wants the Juice
The ultimate goal is to get a do-follow link from a well-recognized site with high domain authority. These are the holy grail of links, and it can take a long time to land just one. The power these links have to boost another site is called “link juice” by SEO professionals. Everyone wants the juice, but there’s more than one way to get it. While you’re waiting for an elusive do-follow link, build no-follow links for an ongoing trickle of juice rather than a tall glass.
Still feel hooked on do-follow links? Consider sites get no-follow links from high-profile citation sites and trafficked sites. An example is Wikipedia, which provides no-follow links by default, yet a link from this site can really improve a site’s SERPs. And SEO industry leaders such as Neil Patel continue to advise clients to embrace no-follow links. The four most significant search engine ranking factors are domain trust, link popularity, anchor text of external links, and on-page optimization. With that in mind, don’t miss out on the seven major benefits of pursuing no-follow links.
Many leading online publications use no-follow links by default to attempt to discourage spammers and avoid Google penalties. It is impossible to get a do-follow link from these industry leaders. But, consider the website traffic and how many visitors could be exposed to your website with even a no-follow link from a site like this. While it may not boost the site’s page rank, it can build the company profile, establish trust, and draw attention to what the business offers.
Overlooking these no-follow links could mean losing an opportunity to get thousands of eyes on a site. Plus, having a link at a well-known site makes your company look authoritative. Inclusion at a recognizable site can be used in other marketing materials to show your company is recognizable, respected, and trustworthy. The right exposure builds brand awareness, especially if the link connects to a company’s brand name.
Traffic comes to a site with ongoing online exposure. Few people visiting the site know or care that the link is no-follow. When they click on the link, they will arrive at your site, just like a do-follow link. And each visitor is another opportunity to make a potentially profitable connection. Consider having a link at a popular site such as Entrepreneur.com, which predominantly uses no-follow links. The site gets heavy traffic. Numerous readers will see the article and possibly visit your website. These are referred to as first-tier links. But it doesn’t stop there!
Other companies, writers, editors, and journalists also read these articles. If they choose to link to the article at their sites, it is called a second-tier link. These second-tier links could be do-follow links. As a result, your site is getting the traffic and juice from both sites. No-follow links can ultimately generate a lot of targeted traffic.
Does your company offer a unique widget found nowhere else? Are you looking to bring attention to a subject, cause, or new product? Or does your company provide a specialized service unlike any other in your niche? Building links, whether they are do-follow links or no-follow, helps raise awareness. Industry-specific links are an excellent way to get the right eyes on a business. A no-follow link from a niche resource can be far more effective than a do-follow one from a general site.
Examine the user intent and reach out to the right target market to transform site visitors into paying customers. A link at a niche site could bring more leads than one chosen solely for being do-follow. Appearing at an industry-specific site can prove to be more valuable than a link at a generic website. The pages ranking first in Google average up to 40 percent of their backlinks being no-follow links, proving they’ve definitely got juice.
Socialization takes on a whole new meaning online. Everyone recognizes the value of being mentioned on social media, especially by favorite influencers. Companies establish designated social media accounts to make meaningful connections, post updates, and gain exposure. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more can put a little-known business on the map. Few people realize the links from most social media posts are no-follow. The power of these links is evident, further proving the value of no-follow links.
Guest blogging continues to be one of the most effective ways to build relevant links. Being focused on finding the do-follow attribute can mean overlooking the opportunity to get a link at a site with many social media followers. A link from the site, along with a link on their social media account, maximizes the exposure to your website. This creates a domino effect, with increasing opportunities for people to see your link and click on it. Getting broad social media exposure can have far more value than a do-follow link that gets a few dozen visitors – and no clicks. Choose link building opportunities at sites that attract visitors who are most likely to click on the link to find out more.
Few people can dispute the power of influencer marketing. Before people take action, they want to find out the experiences others had with a product or service. Influencers have a large following at their blogs and on social media. What influencers share and say can influence their followers’ decisions. A shout out from the right influencer can instantly increase traffic and improve conversion rates. Much like leading websites, influencers typically use no-follow links to avoid scrutiny from Google.
Think about the psychology behind influencer marketing. An influencer is a peer. People trust their peers more than large companies. Whether the link is do-follow or no-follow, it brings people who are ready to take action to your site. They already know about your business and respect the opinion of the influencer who mentioned it, giving this real link value.
Google defines the search engine protocols. Sites that fail to follow them slide down the search engine rankings or get omitted altogether. About 75 percent of Internet users never look at the second page of search engine results. Reaching the first page is crucial to improve conversion rates. Landing there requires knowledge, skill, work, patience, and time. Part of the process is building backlinks to your site. Google wants businesses to have a natural link profile. Thus a website should have a balance of do-follow links and no-follow ones. It can be 40/60 or 30/70, as long as you mix it up.
Many SEO marketers recommend including no-follow opportunities into any link building plan to ensure companies maintain a natural link profile. Being penalized by Google can instantly negate months or years of hard work. It makes sense to take advantage of viable no-follow link opportunities to have a clean profile and avoid being penalized in the future. Failure to tread cautiously can cause a site’s Page Rank score to go down. Savvy marketers always err on the side of caution, recognizing how challenging it can be to try to climb the ranks again. Adding no-follow links to your backlink profile is an advantage.
Besides ranking, authority is another quality sites want to attain. Clients, advertisers, and directories often check a company’s site authority before deciding to do business with them. Metrics such as Domain Authority and Page Authority matter as they measure a site’s potential. When these metrics are calculated, often no-follow links are included with do-follow ones. While do-follow links trickle in, building a steady flow of no-follow backlinks helps to improve site metrics. And these metrics not only boost site authority, but verify its credibility to potential business partners.
A site with impressive metrics attracts increased traffic and more possible business opportunities. When site rankings improve, other professionals may want to host content on the site or exchange backlinks. As the number of meaningful backlinks a site has increases, it continues to open more link building opportunities. No viable link resource should be ignored as it could be a source that drives traffic and leads to other links. Link building is a continuous process that slowly improves site metrics, creating multiple business income opportunities. For example, many high-profile sites charge a fee for posting quality articles. The more authority a site has, the greater the income potential.
The Bottom Line
Much like any other aspect of SEO, the underlying value of do-follow links versus no-follow ones goes beyond black and white. When it comes to SEO strategies, there is never a one-size-fits-all solution. Examine each link building opportunity to determine its relevance to the business and the potential for exposure. Overlooking a no-follow backlink that could provide an ongoing flow of “juice” could mean losing hundreds of potential leads.
Websites need traffic to rank well, raise brand awareness, and improve conversions. Choose reputable link building sites with quality content, strong metrics, and visitors from your target audience. You are probably the only one, other than the site owner, who knows if the links are do-follow or no-follow. The audience wants merely to visit sites that offer what they want. While no-follow links might have less “juice,” they have an equal – or sometimes better – chance of driving more traffic to your site. And a natural balance of do-follow and no-follow links is also a great way to stay in the good graces of Google.
Do you still have questions about link building and its value? Contact the professional team at Galileo Tech Media to learn more about SEO, boosting your rank, and attracting the steady stream of targeted traffic it takes to make your site a success.