The Power of Nofollow Links: Are They Really Worth It?

Last Updated: 8 months ago by BrodNeil

Are nofollow links worth it? This is a question that has been debated among SEO professionals for years. Some argue that nofollow links have no value in improving search engine rankings, while others believe they can still provide SEO benefits. In this article, we will explore the power of nofollow links and whether or not they should be a part of your SEO strategy.

Nofollow links were introduced by Google in 2005 and quickly adopted by other search engines. They were seen as a way to maintain the integrity of search results and prevent link spamming. By using nofollow links, website owners and publishers could indicate to search engines that certain links should not be considered when determining search rankings.

Search engines originally introduced nofollow links to combat spam and prevent paid links from manipulating search results. These links are essentially a signal to search engines that the linked website should not be given any authority or credit. Despite this, evidence suggests that nofollow links can still impact search rankings.

Nofollow links are HTML attributes that tell search engines not to follow a specific link. They are created by adding a rel=”nofollow” tag to the anchor tag. When search engine bots crawl a page and encounter a nofollow link, they will not pass any authority, credit, or PageRank to the linked page. (We are unsure as Google does not explicitly disclose this information. However, some SEOs have gathered data and gained experience to form a perception.)

Nofollow links do not directly contribute to a website’s search engine rankings. However, they can still have indirect benefits.

It’s important to note that nofollow links are not visible to users. They are only seen by search engines and are used to guide their crawling and indexing process. From a user’s perspective, a nofollow link appears and functions like any other regular link.

Using the nofollow attribute, website owners can control which links search engines should follow and which they should ignore.

While nofollow links do not directly contribute to rankings, they can still impact SEO. One of the ways nofollow links can be valuable is by driving traffic to your website. Even though search engines may not pass authority through these links, users can still click on them and visit your website. This can increase brand visibility, potential conversions, and the possibility of obtaining follow links from other high-authority websites.

The value of nofollow links lies in their ability to drive traffic, improve brand visibility, and increase the likelihood of obtaining follow links from other high-authority websites. While they may not directly contribute to search engine rankings, these indirect benefits can still positively affect your overall SEO efforts.

One perfect example is jeffbullas.com, all external links from this website are nofollowed. However, the traffic and exposure you can get from these nofollow links are tremendous. After all, traffic is what we aim for and why we want to rank in the search engines.

In addition to driving traffic, nofollow links also build your website’s link profile. A diverse link profile that includes follow and nofollow links can send positive signals to search engines. It shows that your website naturally acquires links from various sources, which can help improve your overall SEO efforts.

To understand the power of nofollow links, it’s essential to distinguish them from dofollow links. Unlike nofollow links, dofollow links are not explicitly marked with the rel=”nofollow” attribute. By default, all links on the web are considered dofollow, meaning search engines will follow and pass authority through them.

Dofollow links are the traditional type of links that are used to improve search engine rankings. When a website with high authority links to another website, some of that authority is passed to the linked page; this can help improve the linked page’s visibility in search engine results and potentially increase its rankings.

On the other hand, nofollow links explicitly tell search engines not to follow and pass authority through them. While they don’t provide the same direct SEO benefits as dofollow links, they still have a unique value.

Knowing when to use nofollow links is crucial for an effective SEO strategy. While marking all external links as nofollow may be tempting to preserve your website’s authority, this can be detrimental. Search engines expect websites to have a mix of both follow and nofollow links. A website with only nofollow links may appear unnatural and raise red flags.

One common scenario where nofollow links are often used is on user-generated content platforms. Websites like forums, blog comments, and social media platforms often add the rel=”nofollow” attribute to all user-generated links to prevent spam and ensure the integrity of their platform. This helps them avoid potential penalties from search engines and maintain a high-quality user experience.

Using nofollow links when linking to untrusted or low-quality websites is also a good practice. If you are unsure about the credibility of a website or are linking to a page with potentially harmful content, using the nofollow attribute can protect your website from any negative association.

Implementing nofollow links correctly is essential to ensure they serve their intended purpose. To add the nofollow attribute to a link, include the rel=”nofollow” tag within the anchor tag. Here’s an example of how a nofollow link should be written in HTML:


<a href="https://example.com" rel="nofollow">Anchor Text</a>

It’s important to note that the nofollow attribute should only be used on specific links you want search engines to ignore. Using it excessively on all external links can be seen as an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings, which can result in penalties.

There are several misconceptions surrounding nofollow links that are important to address. One of the most common misconceptions is that nofollow links have no value. While it’s true that nofollow links do not directly contribute to search engine rankings, they can still have indirect benefits, such as driving traffic and improving brand visibility.

Another misconception is that nofollow links are entirely ignored by search engines. While search engines don’t pass authority through these links, they still crawl and index the linked pages. This means that even though a nofollow link may not contribute to a website’s rankings, the linked page can still be discovered and appear in search results.

In September 2019, Google changed how they treats nofollow links. They introduced two new link attributes – rel=”ugc” for user-generated content and rel=”sponsored” for sponsored content. These unique attributes give search engines more context about the link’s nature.

Introducing these new attributes does not diminish the value of nofollow links. Instead, it offers website owners more flexibility and granularity in controlling how search engines interpret their links. It’s essential to stay updated with the latest SEO guidelines and best practices to ensure proper implementation of these attributes.

There is a growing recognition that nofollow links can also play a valuable role in driving qualified traffic. This section explores why trading for traffic through nofollow links can be a smart move for your SEO strategy.

1) Targeting Qualified Traffic

While ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) is undoubtedly valuable, it does not guarantee qualified traffic. It’s essential to understand that not all visitors who come through organic search results are genuinely interested or relevant to your website’s content. By trading for traffic through high-volume traffic news sites or other reputable platforms, you can attract a more targeted audience – individuals who are already interested in the type of content you offer.

2) Expanding Brand Awareness

Building brand awareness goes beyond rankings and visitor numbers; it’s about reaching your target audience wherever they may be online. Obtaining nofollow links from influential websites allows you to tap into new networks and expose your brand to a wider audience. Even if these links don’t directly boost your search engine rankings, they can still bring valuable exposure and establish credibility within your industry.

Search engines have grown smarter over time and now place greater importance on the diversity and quality of backlinks rather than quantity alone. By incorporating nofollow links into your link-building strategy, you create a more natural and diverse link profile. This signals to search engines that your website is authoritative and trustworthy, positively impacting your overall SEO efforts.

4) Amplifying Social Signals

Nofollow links often come in the form of social media mentions or shares, which can significantly impact your website’s visibility. When your content is shared on popular social platforms, it generates social signals and increases brand exposure, potentially attracting a wider audience. While these links may not directly contribute to search engine rankings, they can indirectly influence SEO outcomes by increasing the popularity and authority of your website.

Although nofollow links may not have the same SEO benefits as follow links, they can still play a valuable role in driving traffic and boosting brand visibility. By understanding their potential power and incorporating them into your SEO strategy, you can maximize the value of these often underestimated links.

Nofollow links serve a specific purpose in SEO, helping to combat spam and providing more control over which links search engines should follow. They are essential for maintaining the integrity of search results and ensuring a high-quality user experience.

When using nofollow links, it’s crucial to balance follow and nofollow links. A diverse and natural link profile can send positive signals to search engines and help improve your overall SEO efforts.

Remember, while nofollow links may not directly impact search engine rankings, they can still provide indirect benefits such as driving traffic and increasing brand visibility. By utilizing them effectively, you can harness the power of nofollow links and enhance your SEO strategy.

Tara Mae Dela Cruz is a passionate writer and storyteller hailing from the Philippines. With a love for words and a vivid imagination, she weaves compelling tales that transport readers into captivating worlds. Her writing style is characterized by its lyrical prose and deep emotional resonance, drawing inspiration from her own experiences as well as the diverse cultures she encounters. Tara's work often explores themes of identity, family dynamics, and the power of human connection. When she's not writing, you can find Tara exploring new hiking trails or curled up with a good book, always seeking to broaden her horizons and find inspiration in the world around her.