In affiliate marketing, links can be a great way to promote your product or services and give your business’ website an SEO boost. However, sites that use too many paid links or embrace corrupt linking practices can be penalized by search engines. As a result, navigating the world of linkbuilding can be overwhelming for the average online business owner.
Thankfully, Easy Affiliate is here to help! In this post, we'll explain the differences between nofollow and dofollow links, what they mean for your site, and how to best use the two.
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What are Dofollow and Nofollow Links?
A nofollow link is a type of HTML attribute informing search engines that they shouldn’t give any authority from your page to the site you're linking to. On the other hand, follow links tell search engines they should attribute authority to the site you're linking to.
A nofollow link looks like this:
<a href=”http://www.website.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Example anchor text</a>
All nofollow links must contain the rel=”nofollow” HTML attribute. If you want to find out if your link is nofollow, simply highlight and right-click the link you're interested in, then select Inspect on your browser.
Your browser window will then split into two parts, and in the bottom portion, you'll be able to see the link's HTML source code. If you see a nofollow attribute listed, then it’s a nofollow link. If not, it’s a dofollow link.
A dofollow link is the exact opposite of a nofollow link. That is, it's an HTML attribute that is used to allow search bots to follow the link. As mentioned, this type of link allows search engines to give authority to the site you're linking to.
Why Do We Need Dofollow and Nofollow Links?
Google originally created nofollow links in response to blog comment spam. As blogging grew in popularity, spammers would leave links back to their websites in blog comments. As a result, these spam sites would gain rank authority on Google, and blog spamming became even more rampant. This led to Google creating the nofollow tag in 2005. Other search engines, such as Yahoo and Bing, soon followed suit.
What Links Should Be Nofollow?
Which links should always carry a nofollow attribute? Here are a few examples:
- Paid links
- User-generated content
- Links to sites you don’t want to endorse
- Sites that are deemed untrustworthy
How to Add and Generate Nofollow Links for Your WordPress Website
Following is a step-by-step tutorial on how you can add nofollow links to your affiliate website in the new Gutenberg content editor.
- In your WordPress dashboard go to Posts > Add New.
- If you haven’t already, be sure to write your blog post. If you’ve already written your content, select the text you want to link to, and click on the link icon in your toolbar.
- A text field will then open just below the text you selected. You can paste the external link of your choice in the box. Once you've finished, you can click the arrow icon to add the link.
- Once done, you can click apply or hit Enter to add the link.
- To add the nofollow attribute, select the block containing your link, then click on the three vertical dots icon on the top bar. This will open a menu with the option to edit as HTML. Click this option.
- You can now add the rel=”nofollow” attribute to the link. Once you're finished, click on the three vertical dots icon again, and select the Edit visually option to go back to the visual view.
How to Track Dofollow and Nofollow Links
Tracking your links isn’t as hard as you may think!
To see which links are nofollow and dofollow links in Google Chrome, right-click on the page you want to monitor and hit Inspect Element. In Firefox, right-click the page of your choice and click View Page Source.
Regardless of the browser you use, your next step will be the same. Hit CTRL+F and type “nofollow” in the search bar. All of the nofollow links will then be highlighted.
If you don't want to track your links manually, there are a number of tools you can use to manage and track your links in one place, including PrettyLinks, SEO Quake, and NoFollow Simple.
Are Nofollow Links Valuable?
Nofollow links don't get the direct benefits of dofollow links, but there are still some great reasons to use them:
1. Nofollow links are key to a balanced backlink strategy. Not every link on your site has to be a nofollow link. As a matter of fact, it’s normal for a website to have a healthy combination of both dofollow and nofollow links.
2. Nofollow links help build brand awareness and trust. If a business name or brand is mentioned on trustworthy, high-quality sites, visitors are exposed to that business and may consider it to be a credible brand.
3. Nofollow links increase traffic. Although these links may not help with a site’s direct page rank, they are still clickable. That means site visitors can still click through to the website, which increases traffic.
New Link Attributes to Look Out For
In 2019, two more link attributes were added by Google as new ways to identify different types of links:
- rel=”sponsored” – Use this attribute for sponsored links, ads, or any form of paid content.
- rel=”ugc” – UGC stands for user generated content. This tag should be used for user generated content such as comments and posts on forums.
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Nofollow and dofollow links may seem overwhelming at first, but this posts should help you as you continue on your journey into the world of link building and SEO.