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Dofollow vs Nofollow Links: What Is the Difference for SEO?

In this article, you’ll learn about the difference between dofollow vs nofollow links.

As you’ll discover below, nofollow and dofollow links have different purposes depending on who is creating or acquiring the backlink.

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), it’s important that you understand the difference between nofollow and dofollow links so you know when to use them in your content, which types really matter to improve your website rankings and traffic, and the best ratio for nofollow vs dofollow backlinks.

Dofollow vs nofollow links

Dofollow vs Nofollow Links

The main difference between dofollow vs nofollow links is that dofollow links pass on authority to a website while nofollow links do not transfer PageRank signals. Dofollow links directly improve SEO because they share link juice whereas nofollow links only have indirect SEO value.

Difference Between Dofollow and Nofollow Links Comparison Chart

Here are a quick overview and side-by-side comparison between dofollow and nofollow links. If you’re looking for something more in-depth, then keep reading.

CriteriaDofollowNofollow
PurposeTo pass PageRankNot to pass PageRank
SEO ValueHighLow
CrawledAlways crawledMay or may not be crawled
IndexedAlways used for indexingNot always used for indexing
Anchor Tag AttributeNone requiredrel=”nofollow”
Best Backlink Ratio75% or more25% or less

What Is a Dofollow Link

A dofollow link is a link that points to your website for Google and other search engines to crawl and index. Dofollow links help with search engine optimization by passing the PageRank authority of the origin site to the destination site (or web page).

As explained in this other article on what is a dofollow link, these types of backlinks are made by default in most website HTML editors for the anchor tag element. No extra coding is required.

Types of Dofollow Links

  • Guest post links
  • Editorial links
  • Acknowledgement links
  • Badge links
  • Press release links
  • Testimonial links
  • Review links
  • Resource links

What Is a Nofollow Link?

A nofollow link is a link that is not typically used in PageRank calculations. Nofollow links are a way for publishers to tag links so search engines like Google do not count them as points (or votes) to affect the placement of a web page in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

However, the calculations for PageRank using nofollow links have changed. Beginning on March 1, 2020, Google started treating nofollow link tags as a hint for the purposes of crawling and indexing content in the search engine and not as a directive. Therefore, nofollow links may pass PageRank value if the algorithm determines it is useful for ranking and indexing purposes.

As explained in this other article on what is a nofollow link, there are several different ways you can tag a link to be nofollow to help search engine crawlers understand the relationship with the linked page.

Types of Nofollow Links

  • Paid links: These nofollow links should include the rel=”sponsored” attribute and be used for advertisements or paid placements.
  • UGC links: These nofollow links should include the rel=”ugc” attribute and be added to user-generated content (UGC) links, such as comments and forum posts.
  • Nofollow links: This is the default nofollow value with the rel=”nofollow” attribute that should be used when other values don’t apply and you don’t want Google to associate your site with the linked page.
  • Multiple rel values: You may also specify multiple rel values as a space- or comma-separated list, such as: rel=”nofollow sponsored” or rel= “ugc nofollow”.

When to Use Nofollow and Dofollow Links

You should use nofollow links when the content you’re linking to is untrusted, sponsored, user-generated, or paid for. You should use dofollow links when the linked content is trustworthy, credible, and you want to pass PageRank from your website to the destination site.

If you’re ever having trouble deciding between nofollow vs dofollow links when linking out to another website, the best option is to just create a nofollow backlink. That way, you don’t get penalized by the search engine algorithms if the site is untrustworthy or should have been classified as nofollow link based on the previouslly mentioned guidelines.

Best Ratio Between Nofollow and Dofollow Backlinks

There’s no specific ratio for nofollow and dofollow links according to most SEO experts and link building agencies. However, based on data from Alexa Rank in the United States, the most common ratio for nofollow and dofollow backlinks is a 25/75 mix.

The most successful websites with the highest rankings and traffic have a greater number of dofollow links than nofollow links in their backlink profiles. Therefore, you should aim for at least a 25/75 ratio for nofollow and dofollow links for your site when acquiring backlinks.

Difference between dofollow and nofollow links summary

Dofollow vs Nofollow Links Summary

I hope you enjoyed this guide about dofollow vs nofollow links.

As you discovered, the main difference between dofollow and nofollow links is that dofollow links are always crawled by search engines and used to pass PageRank value for SEO, but nofollow links are not always crawled or used for indexing purposes and may or may not be used for assessing page rank calculations.

However, nofollow and dofollow links are both important for a healthy backlink profile and can help you acquire targeted traffic from the linked websites. So it’s good to work on increasing both forms of backlinks for SEO and brand awareness.