Nofollow vs Dofollow Links: Understanding the Difference

by JC Burrows  - November 21, 2021

Confused by the cryptic meaning of nofollow vs dofollow links? Feeling lost in the labyrinth of SEO rankings? Fear not, fellow web warriors! This guide is your ultimate decoder ring, unraveling the mystery and unleashing the hidden power of these link attributes.

Key Takeaways for Nofollow vs Dofollow Links

  • Strategic nofollow usage: Protect your site’s reputation and safeguard rankings by filtering outbound links with nofollow.
  • Harness the power of dofollow: Boost authority and ranking potential by linking to high-quality websites with dofollow magic.
  • Craft a natural backlink symphony: Blend nofollow and dofollow links for a diverse profile that search engines love.
  • Unleash the power of LSI and NLP: Infuse your content with hidden SEO spices and decode user intent for maximum search engine resonance.

Nofollow: The Gatekeeper of Link Equity

understanding your optimization score

Imagine “nofollow” as a discerning gatekeeper in the domain of PageRank. This HTML attribute, symbolized by rel="nofollow", whispers to search engines: “Halt! This link shall not bequeath its precious equity upon the recipient.” By wielding this power, we safeguard our website’s reputation and SEO currency, ensuring links lead to trustworthy destinations.

Beyond Nofollow: Unveiling the Link Attribute Alphabet Soup

However, “nofollow” is not the lone sentinel within the realm of links. “Sponsored” and “UGC” (User Generated Content) stand guard as well, each playing a vital role in the grand narrative of website assessment. These attributes serve as beacons, illuminating the context and origin of links, enabling search engines to interpret your online ecosystem with precision.

Unmasking the Nofollow: Tools for the Analytical Mind

Unearthing nofollow links demands the skills of a seasoned investigator. While inspecting HTML code remains a viable path, a plethora of powerful tools and browser extensions now exist – digital magnifying glasses that illuminate these hidden gems, empowering comprehensive link analysis.

Wielding Nofollow Strategically: A Master’s Touch

Nofollow links are not blunt instruments but surgical tools wielded with intention. Deploy them to shield your site from potentially toxic content lurking in user comments, paid links, or unverified sources. Think of them as a quality filter, meticulously curating your outbound links to preserve your SEO standing.

When Nofollow Takes a Backseat: The Power of Dofollow Links

However, remember that “nofollow” does not grant absolute immunity. For reputable, high-authority websites, unleash the might of “dofollow” links. These champions act as conduits, transferring valuable PageRank and bolstering the recipient’s ranking potential.

Nofollow and the Symphony of Natural Backlinks:

While nofollow links might not directly propel your rankings skyward, they play a crucial role in composing a natural and diverse backlink symphony. Search engines, like discerning concertgoers, appreciate variety. A strategic mix of nofollow and dofollow links paints your website as a well-rounded player in the online orchestra.

Dofollow: The Unsung Hero of SEO Authority

“Dofollow” links are the unsung heroes of your SEO campaign. They silently ferry PageRank and authority to deserving recipients, acting as the backbone of link-based ranking signals. When linking to trustworthy, relevant websites, let these unsung heroes do their bidding!

LSI and NLP: Supercharging Your SEO Arsenal

But link mastery alone is not enough. To truly conquer the SEO battlefield, you must equip yourself with advanced weaponry. LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords act as secret spices, infusing your content with depth and context. Think “link building,” “search engine optimization,” and “PageRank” – words that dance alongside your primary keywords, whispering to search engines, “This content speaks your language!”

NLP: Decoding the Search Engine’s Lexicon

And then there’s NLP (Natural Language Processing), your decoder ring for the search engine’s cryptic language. It helps you decipher user intent, ensuring your content aligns perfectly with what searchers crave. Think of it as speaking the algorithm’s native tongue, making your content an irresistible magnet for those coveted top rankings.

Frequently Asked Questions: Nofollow vs. Dofollow Links

Navigating the world of nofollow and dofollow links can be tricky. Here’s the lowdown on some common questions to help you master these SEO power tools:

What’s the difference between nofollow and dofollow links?

Nofollow links tell search engines not to pass on any “link juice” (SEO authority) to the linked website. Think of them as saying, “Hey Google, don’t count this link towards their ranking.” Dofollow links, on the other hand, are the default and pass on full link juice, boosting the recipient’s SEO potential.

Do nofollow links hurt my SEO?

Not directly. They won’t directly harm your rankings, but they also won’t help them. However, a natural-looking backlink profile includes both nofollow and dofollow links, so using some strategically can be beneficial.

When should I use nofollow links?

Use nofollow for:

  • User-generated content: Comments, forum posts, etc., where you don’t control the quality.
  • Paid links: Ads, affiliate links, etc., to avoid artificially manipulating rankings.
  • Unverified sources: Links to potentially unreliable websites.

When should I use dofollow links?

Use dofollow for:

  • High-quality, relevant websites: Linking to reputable sites builds your own authority.
  • Natural backlink profile: A mix of dofollow and nofollow signals a natural profile.
  • Internal linking: Link to important pages within your own website to boost their ranking.

What about sponsored and UGC links?

These are new link attributes introduced by Google to further categorize links. Use them as you would nofollow for sponsored content or user-generated content.

Will the upcoming nofollow update affect me?

Yes, Google is changing how they handle nofollow links. While details are still emerging, it’s likely that some nofollow links will pass on some link juice. Stay tuned for updates and adapt your strategy accordingly.

The Nofollow/Dofollow Tango: Mastering the SEO Dance

In conclusion, navigating the SEO landscape demands a graceful dance between nofollow and dofollow, LSI and NLP. By mastering these steps, you’ll craft a winning strategy that resonates with search engines and propels your website to new heights. Remember, the SEO scene is ever-evolving, so stay agile, keep your analytical mind sharp, and let your knowledge be your guide.

With this comprehensive guide as your compass, you can confidently embark on your SEO journey, weaving a narrative of authority and influence that captures the attention of search engines and audiences alike. Go forth, SEO strategists, and conquer!


  1. Larkin, K. (n.d.). Nofollow links and PageRank. Networks Course blog for INFO 2040/CS 2850/Econ 2040/SOC 2090. Retrieved January 9, 2024, from
  2. U.S. General Services Administration. (n.d.). How to get search engines to index the right content for better discoverability. Retrieved January 9, 2024, from
  3. Wikipedia Contributors. (2023, April 5). Nofollow. In Wikipedia.

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