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Do Follow & No Follow Links

It’s important to be aware of no follow for link building

Links are one of the most important parts of a successful SEO strategy, some say the most important part but that’s a discussion for another day. For now it’s important to understand the difference between no follow and do follow links and the contribution they make to your search engine optimisation campaign.

What does do follow and no follow mean?

The nofollow attribute was conceived a number of years ago by renowned Google engineer Matts Cutts and Jason Shellen of Blogger.com in a bid to thwart spammers who added links to blog sites with high PageRanks in a bid to improve their own presence on the web. The presence or lack of a no follow tag effectively determines whether or not the site being linked from has an influence on the rankings of the webpage being linked to. Do follow is essentially the opposite of no follow and refers to links that do not include the nofollow element in the links HTML tag.

How does the no follow attribute work?

To understand no follow tags, it’s important to first understand how links are put together in the HTML code of your site. Links are constructed as follows in the source code of your website:

Search Engine Optimisation

In this instance, the URL being linked to is the roi.com.au homepage and Search Engine Optimisation is the link anchor text.

To tell Google and other search engines not to crawl a specific link, you should assign a no follow value to the HTML element of that link, which would read in your source code as follows:

Search Engine Optimisation

By adding the no follow attribute, you are effectively telling Google that you don’t want the link crawled. There is no equivalent attribute for do follow or links you want to be indexed by search engines, it’s just assumed that if a nofollow tag does not exist, the link is to be crawled and indexed by the Googlebot.

Why do I need to know about no follow tags?

There are very slight variations in how search engines handle no follow links but in all major search engines – Google, Yahoo and Bing, the link is discounted from a ranking perspective, so where no follow tags exist, no SEO link value exists.

If you intend to source links for your website (which you have to do in order to boost your chances of securing high rankings), then knowing whether or not the site you are trying to link from has no follow tags is very important. If the sites you are hoping to link from have nofollow tags on external links, then the link juice value is zero and it won’t directly help your rankings.

However, having said that, it’s not necessarily a bad idea to comment on nofollow blogs and forums – there may be no direct link value but there is a certain amount of residual value to be had from spreading awareness of your website, especially on blogs and forums that might be read regularly by members of your target market.

Similarly, if you have a blog and you don’t want visitors to leave comments on your site purely for the sake of getting a link from your page, then you may want to use nofollow tags to dissuade them from leaving rubbish comments.

Don’t confuse no follow with robots.txt

It’s important to be aware that the no follow attribute is not for stopping pages from being indexed by Google. To do this in accordance with standard web practices, you will need a robots.txt file within the source code of the pages you don’t want indexed.

To learn more about how link building and advanced SEO techniques can help your websites performance, stay tuned to the roi.com.au blog. If you would like to know more about a comprehensive search engine marketing strategy for your business, encompassing all or any of the following: SEO & link building, PPC, social media optimisation, web design and copywriting call us today on 1300 650 274, we put your business first!