Many companies put a great deal of emphasis on search engine optimization (SEO) and do-follow links in order to gain visibility for the company website. If many different websites across the internet have do-follow links back to your website, Google bots see this as a sign of a website with great content. After all, why would so many websites be linking back to your website if it isn’t in reference to great content or because you offered great content? This will help your company website shoot (or eventually make its way) straight to the top of a search engine results page (SERP). This makes do-follow links extremely important; so important in fact that many companies have hired an expert or a team of experts just to make sure these do-follow links happen.
However, there is another type of link that isn’t quite as popular—no-follow links. For many businesses, these links can seem useless and often frustrating. A no follow link is a value that is placed on a link that prevents Google bots from following the link to its destination – your site. Many can’t help but wonder: What’s the point?
History of Nofollow Links
On the surface, it seems that these links are nothing but negative, but they actually serve an important purpose. The history of why these no-follow links exist in the first place is where the answer lies:
Nofollow links began in 2005 as a way to deter spammers from ruining the top content on a SERP. It was around this time that spammers realized they could put spam links in the comment section of a blog post for the sole purpose of boosting their website’s Domain Authority and SERP position. Google then created the no-follow feature to make sure that Google bots were not following these links and sending spammers to the top of SERPs. Google has since required all paid links to have a no-follow attribute.
Why Nofollow Links Still Matter
A no follow link should be added wherever a user can add a link themselves, such as in the comments. This is not only a positive rule for those who own a website, but also for those who get a no-follow link on a website. Consider how a no-follow link can benefit the companies on both sides of the no-follow link:
Site publishing the Nofollow link – Having a no-follow attribute on a link does not affect the site that is publishing that link. In fact, many websites include a no-follow attribute on their entire site so as to make sure that no spammer is coming to the site and trying to somehow get free link juice. It is a way for a site to make sure they are following the rules of Google and keeping the search engine honest and valuable.
The site where the no-follow link points – This is where most people immediately assume that a no-follow link is a waste. However, it’s important to realize that just because one of your links is a no-follow does not mean that users cannot click on that link and be taken to your page. Although this may not help your Domain Authority or SERP ranking, it is a way to get your company in front of the eyes of users. This link is free, so it is absolutely better than nothing. If you can get a no-follow link on a website with tons of traffic and active visitors, you’re bound to get a few qualified clicks.
The most important thing to remember is that your website does not revolve around search engines only. You are writing for your readers, and creating a loyal reader following will help you do well when it comes time for a search engine to crawl your page. Add no-follow links to your monthly marketing reports, do what you can do to get your website and your content in front of readers first, and worry about whether it’s a no-follow or do-follow link second.
Amanda DiSilvestro is the Editor-in-chief for Plan, Write, GO. She has been writing about all things digital marketing as a ghostwriter, guest writer, and blog manager for over 10 years. If you’re interested in outsourcing your content, check out her blogging services to learn more!