I hope you enjoyed the rhyme of my title, which puts you in the mood: this article will be a lesson on SEO web, simple and casual … but complete! If you’re interested in SEO, you’ll soon hear about “nofollow” and “dofollow” links. What does it mean exactly and what impact for your site? This is what we will see together.
The difference between “do follow” and “no follow” links
If you have a good command of English, you could deduce that the links “do follow” and “no follow” are opposed. The order they give (“follow” or “do not follow”) is for search engines. It tells them in which case they must take into account or not a hypertext link present on a website. You would have understood it :
- the links “do follow” give a positive order: they specify to Google that the links on your website must be followed, and therefore taken into account in its algorithms
- the “no follow” links give a negative order: they ask Google not to follow the links on your site and ignore them.
This indication is set in the source code of your web page, adding the tag “no follow” to your links (in red in the example below). If this tag is not present, your links are understood as “do follow” links. I say that this does not change anything for the reader, who does not see the HTML code of your page.
Why it’s important
The difference between the “do follow” and “no follow” links is essential when referencing a site. Indeed, to establish the rankings of websites in the search results, Google relies on many criteria, including the number and quality of links pointing to a site. But if a link is “no follow”, it will pay little attention to it. As a result, most people are obviously looking for “do follow” links, which can improve their web referencing if they come from quality sites.
What does this mean to you?
When you have a website or a blog, you are inevitably concerned by this problem of “do follow” and “no follow” links, at several levels:
- you must control the links that point to your site: if they are in “do follow” and from sites that have a bad reputation (pornographic sites, gambling, etc.), this may negatively impact your SEO . We must therefore disavow them, which amounts to canceling their action after the fact. To learn more, you can read our article on negative SEO .
- you will have to choose which link policy you want to set up on your site: “do follow” or “no follow”?
- as part of a linkbuilding campaign (actions to retrieve links pointing to your site), you will probably be keen to favor links “do follow”. You will then have to identify the sites that allow this type of links. Beware, however, diversity is important: if you only get links “do follow”, it may seem suspicious to Google.
To manage these different aspects, you will need:
- a tool that allows you to analyze links pointing to your site
- to master the advantages and disadvantages of each type of link for your site
- to know if a site allows links in “do follow”.
I tell you more just below!
How to distinguish your links “do follow” and “no follow”
There are many tools to check the links you have got and whether they are “do follow” or “no follow”. At Alesiacom, we particularly like Webceo. You can register for free on the platform and ask the tool to scan your website. You will then access via the tab “Backlink” to a table that summarizes the links pointing to your site. For each of them, the tool tells you if they are do follow or no follow, and which are suspected “toxic”. So it’s a great tool, but it can be difficult to handle for the uninitiated. If you are not comfortable handling it, you can ask a webmarketing agency for help.
How to identify sites that have a “do follow” link policy
A simple search in Google will allow you to generate lists of sites that allow comments in “do follow”. At first glance, this is a gold mine for your linkbuilding campaign: every time you comment on one of these sites, you will get a link and therefore contribute to improving your SEO. No rush however: this strategy is quite dangerous! Indeed, sites that claim loud and clear that they allow comments in “do follow” are badly seen by Google and may be penalized … and thus indirectly penalize your own SEO.
Moreover, the relevance of the links pointing to your site is also important: commenting on all the sites with links “do follow” that have nothing to do with yours is not very clever because it may confuse search engines. If you are a French e-commerce site specializing in the sale of shoes and you get links from Canadian automotive websites, Belgian clairvoyance and Swiss pregnancy products, how do you want Google to easily understand what you do ?!
Should we opt for links “do follow” on your site?
Personally, I opt for the “no follow”, but the choice is yours! Sites that allow “do follow” links generally observe:
- an increase in the number of comments
- an increase in their traffic
- more loyal visitors
- but also more spam and uninteresting comments …
Indeed, by authorizing the links “do follow”, you will attract on your site of the people who contribute only with the aim of improving their web referencing. Suffice to say that it is not always relevant and that sorting can quickly become very tedious …! However, you will be forced to do this sort … otherwise your site may lose its value in the eyes of your readers by showing spammy comments. Yes, every medal has its reverse …