How Do Dofollow Links Work For SEO? (Process Explained)

This search engine optimization (SEO) guide answers the question, “how do dofollow links work for SEO?”

Below, you’ll get a complete overview of the dofollow link process, including a detailed explanation of the working factors in SEO that affect a website’s search engine rankings.

There’s also a section with additional digital marketing resources that explain more about the fundamentals of dofollow links to help you create the most effective search engine optimization strategy.

How Do Dofollow Links Work For SEO?

How Do Dofollow Links Work For SEO?

Dofollow links work for SEO by passing PageRank from other websites to a target site. The dofollow link process helps search engines find, index, and rank web pages according to their popularity and trust for relevant search terms.

Dofollow Link Process Explained

The process for dofollow links consists of a website owner placing a hyperlink on a web page to connect it to a web page on another site they trust. When Google and other search engines see a dofollow link on a web page, it sends a directive to crawl the linked URL. In contrast, a link tagged with the nofollow attribute informs search engines not to crawl (i.e., follow) the link.

Search engine crawlers also use dofollow links to find new content on the web to index it in their databases. Additionally, dofollow backlinks are used by search engine algorithms to assess the popularity and importance of web pages on the Internet to establish an authority score. Google calls this system the PageRank algorithm, which is an important system for ranking web pages in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Dofollow Link Factors In SEO

Crawling And Indexing

The first way dofollow links work for SEO is by helping content get crawled and indexed in the SERPs. With dofollow links, search engine crawlers are instructed to follow outbound links and discover new web pages.

This process helps content get indexed in the SERPs faster, increases organic visibility, and improves rankings. As mentioned before, a nofollow link tells crawlers to avoid following external links, which can reduce indexing speed and search engine visibility for the target URL.

Website Trust

Establishing trust for the target website is another important part of the dofollow link process. These types of backlinks act as a sign of approval from other websites, which can help enhance the credibility of the linked web page.

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As a result, when search engines see dofollow backlinks pointing to a website, it helps increase the trustworthiness of the domain and its associated web pages. Google’s ranking system, in particular, has a TrustRank algorithm that measures the trust of the origin site that the dofollow link is coming from. And the higher the trust score is for the site sending the external link, the more trust the domain receiving that link acquires.

Verifies Link Popularity

Dofollow links also work to verify the popularity of content on the Internet based on off-site backlink signals. The more dofollow backlinks a page has, the higher the popularity and importance it signals to search engines.

This factor incentivizes website owners to create content that adds value to users and attracts other websites to naturally link back to it from their web pages. Dofollow links matter for SEO because when web pages link out to other domains, they’re validating the third-party content as credible and trustworthy sources of information.

In the SEO industry, a dofollow backlink is known as a vote of confidence or endorsement for the target web page. And it carries a lot of weight for the ranking algorithms.

Now, it’s also important for websites to get dofollow links from a number of different referring domains because Google’s algorithm may consider an abundance of inbound links from the same site as suspicious or unnatural.

A healthy mix of dofollow and nofollow links is also important for a successful SEO strategy. A website’s backlink profile that only consists of dofollow links, or a large quantity of them compared to nofollow links, may seem unnatural. Therefore, a healthy backlink profile will contain both nofollow backlinks and dofollow backlinks, which helps reduce the link spam signals.


One of the most important factors of the dofollow link process for SEO is that it passes PageRank value (or link equity) to the target website. Google’s algorithm, in particular, measures the quantity and quality of inbound links going to a website. Therefore, having a large number of dofollow links from authoritative websites is beneficial for search engine rankings.

Google PageRank is measured for each web page on the Internet. And each time a web page creates an external link, some of that PageRank value is transferred as link equity to the target site.

For SEO purposes, three variables matter for dofollow links: relevancy, authority, and trust. Relevancy means the content of the web page that includes the backlink is relevant to the target URL. Authority refers to the linking page having a high Page Authority score (i.e., a quality backlink profile of itself). And trust means the page sending the dofollow backlink has a good TrustRank score.

Keyword Rankings

Overall, dofollow links work to increase keyword rankings for the target page. The more dofollow backlinks a URL receives, the stronger the off-site SEO signals are for the content. This typically results in higher keyword rankings in the SERPs. And, if the dofollow links contain the same keywords in the anchor text that the target URL is optimized for, then these types of backlinks can help boost rankings even further in the SERPs.

Learn More About Dofollow Links

The links below explain more about dofollow links and how to use them correctly for better search engine optimization. Use these resources to expand your knowledge on the subject.

Dofollow Links Work for SEO Summary

I hope you enjoyed this guide answering the question about how do dofollow links work for SEO.

As you discovered, the dofollow link process directs search engines to crawl hyperlinks on a web page and to count those links as votes by the website owner for the target URLs. Dofollow links also work to verify the popularity, importance, and trust of web pages as well as transfer PageRank value (or link equity) to the destination URLs for ranking purposes. That’s why it’s important to understand specific dofollow backlink factors in SEO to get the best ranking results for your website.