What Are Dofollow Links and Why Do They Matter?

Digital marketing has snowballed into a massive, multi-faceted industry, driven by niche specialists and big data companies. When you, the average Gen Z business owner or academic thinks about digital marketing, you might think about having a website and maybe getting into an online magazine. In this era of fast and faster tech, it’s no longer what it used to be even five years ago, so your impression is outdated. There are many aspects to digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). One of these is the concept of permanent DoFollow links and NoFollow links. This is an explanation of both, and when each kind of link should be used.

DoFollow Links

These are links in web pages that link up to other pages on other websites. The links are used by search engine crawlers when conducting a search. DoFollow links are a good vote of quality of a site. The more links leading to a particular site or page, the better the ranking of that site. The sites linking to a webpage should be reliable and contain good quality, verifiable content in order to upvote the site they are pointing to. Sites with unreliable content will have the opposite effect. Permanent links are always more reliable, and longer-lasting in their effect on ranking. Of course, these types of links are only one factor which affects the ranking of a website in a search.

In Practice

When you include a number of DoFollow links in your post, you are giving credit or votes to those sites to which you are linking. If you use unreliable links or links to sites which have been flagged by the algorithms as unreliable or poor quality, this affects the other rankings of the other links, as well. This is why it is very important to firstly ensure that you always link to reliable, good quality sources, and secondly, try to build relationships with your own clients, and encourage them to link to your website in their own posts.

Sometimes, you can employ an agency to create posts which include DoFollow links to your website, which will improve the ranking of your website. These agencies are niche specialists in SEO and digital marketing, and most will produce good quality content with reliable, quality links to your site.

NoFollow Links

NoFollow links are the opposite of DoFollow links. They tell the search engine crawlers to ignore the link, and not to use it in their algorithms to determine ranking. Digital marketing specialists use this type of link when it can potentially do damage to the website’s ranking in a search engine.

If you have a website and you sell advertising space or have a public space for users to submit links, then these links, which you cannot verify or vouch for, should be NoFollow links. This is a modified DoFollow link that includes instructions in the code. This is what the piece of code looks like in HTML: rel=”nofollow”

In Practice

Your website content on each page, as well as blog posts and any other content you post, should contain links to reliable sources. These types of sources are usually news sites (although there is a list of unreliable news sites like the Daily Mail, a UK-based site). Other types of sources are recognized academic, legal and medical sites, and non-governmental or non-profit organizations. Sometimes, government websites can also be considered reliable, if the link points to official government policy or legislation. Recognized advocacy groups can also be considered reliable sources.

These are also the types of sites you want pointing to your content. So, it is important to nurture relationships and agreements with legitimate businesses and other entities of the kind listed above. If you have content which can add value to their services or agenda, then send their webmaster a friendly and helpful email, citing the content on your site, why it will add value to their site, and a request for them to link to it. Remember that webmasters receive these requests every day, so do not approach them with an attitude of entitlement. Rather just highlight the way you can add value, instead. If your request is valid, then there should be no reason why the webmaster will not help you out.

Likewise, you must ensure that the links you have on your site which may be dubious are tagged as NoFollow links. There is no reason why you should need to take them down, but they will affect your search engine rankings, in the long and short term, which will indirectly affect your business. So it is worth being aware of this factor, and knowing what to do about it is also a useful and important tool, whether you employ a digital marketing agency, or just stay old school and hire a website developer to keep you online and current.