Many companies put a great deal of emphasis on search engine optimization (SEO) and dofollow links in order to gain visibility for the company website. If many different websites across the Internet have dofollow links back to your website, the Google bots see this as a sign of a website with great content. After all, why would so many website be linking back to your website if it isn’t in reference to great content or because you offered great content? This will help your company website shoot (or eventually make its way) straight to the top of a search engine results page (SERP). This makes dofollow links extremely important; so important in fact that many companies have hired an expert or a team of experts just to make sure these dofollow links happen.
However, there is another type of link that isn’t quite as popular—nofollow links. For many businesses, these links are useless and often frustrating. A nofollow link is a value that is placed on a link that prevents Google bots to follow the link to its destination, your site. Many can’t help but wonder: What’s the point?
History of Nofollow Links
On the surface it seems that these links are nothing but negative, but they actually serve an important purpose for both a website owner allowing links on his/her website who gets a nofollow link somewhere along the line. The history of why these nofollow links exist in the first place is where the answer lies:
Nofollow links began in 2005 as a way to deter spammers from ruining the top content on a SERP. It was around this time that spammers realized they could put spam links in the comment section of a blog post for the sole purpose of boosting their website’s PageRank and SERP position. Google then created the nofollow feature to make sure that Google bots were not following these links and sending spammers to the top of SERPs. Google has now required all paid links to have a nofollow attribute.
Why Nofollow Links Still Matter
A nofollow link should be added wherever a user can add a link themselves, such as in the comments. This is not only a positive rule for those who own a website, but also for those who get a nofollow link on a website. Consider how a nofollow link can benefit the companies on both sides of the nofollow link:
- Site publishing the Nofollow link – Having a nofollow attribute on a link does not affect the site that is publishing that link. In fact, many websites include a nofollow attribute on their entire site so as to make sure that no spammer is coming to the site and trying to somehow get free link juice. It is a way for a site to make sure they are following the rules of Google and keeping the search engine honest and valuable.
- Site where the Nofollow link points – This is where most people immediately assume that a nofollow link is a waste. However, it’s important to realize that just because one of your links is a nofollow does not mean that users cannot click on that link and be taken to your page. Although this may not help your PageRank or SERP ranking, it is a way to get your company in front of the eyes of users. This link is free, so it is absolutely better than nothing. If you can get a nofollow link on a website with tons of traffic and active visitors, you’re bound to get a few clicks.
The most important thing to remember is that your website does not revolve around search engines only. You are writing for your readers, and creating a loyal reader following will help you do well when it comes time for a search engine to crawl your page. Do what you can do get your website and your content in front of readers first and worry about whether it’s a nofollow or dofollow link second.