The Overlooked Value of No-follow Links

January 17, 2018

no-follow links

When it comes to SEO, no-follow links have a bad reputation. Although it’s true that not all links on the internet are created equal, if you’re trying to grow referral traffic and improve your search engine authority, no-follow links can in fact provide value, and should not be considered a waste of time.

Let’s start with the basics – What is a follow link?

A follow link is a normal, inbound hyperlink directing people to a page on your website. The more links you have circulating around cyberspace, the more SEO points you are earning. These points increase your ranking in SERPS (search engine result pages). Basically, the more links directing people to your site, the more reputable your site appears to Google, boosting your page higher in search results.

What is a no-follow link?

A no-follow link is created by associating an HTML tag to the hyperlink, making it exempt from acquiring SEO points. It is still a link directing people to your page, but it goes relatively unnoticed by Google, thus not ranking your site any higher in search results.

In 2005, Google introduced the no-follow tag attribute to alleviate a growing problem with devious spam links being left in the comment sections of blogs and websites. A few months after the no-follow tag release, Google announced that it recommended the no-follow route also be used for paid links.

Since most people equate SEO goals to search engine ranking, it’s easy to see why they credit follow links as good and no-follow links as bad. However, if the end goal is ultimately to bring people to your site and for them to purchase your products or services, then a well-positioned no-follow link could just as easily accomplish that objective.

Finding value in no-follow links

If the no-follow link is coming from a website with a high domain authority (DA) and large number of unique visitors per month (UVM), that link might not be seen by Google, but it is going to be seen by many hundreds of thousands of people who wouldn’t have had access to your website without it.

Furthermore, if the no-follow link is on a website or blog with a niche following of active and engaged readers within your target audience, then your website is being seen by the ideal demographic for your product or service.

Obviously, having a follow link combined with the situations mentioned above is ideal – the golden ticket of links, one might say. However, it’s important to remember that no-follow links are not worthless commodities; they certainly don’t do any harm. In fact, Google expects trustworthy websites to have no-follow backlinks to their site. This is a sign that you are marketing your brand, and that others trust your site.

It’s also vital to remember that good SEO involves a lot more than just high ranking web pages. Spreading brand awareness, delivering awareness to the right audience and optimising your landing pages and overall content are critical aspects of well-rounded SEO. Follow or no-follow, the link won’t mean very much if visitors aren’t inspired by your site.

In summary, strive for well-positioned follow links, but be content with well-positioned no-follow links. Build awareness, engage your audience, and create good content.

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By: Mandy Haakenson