What You Need to Know About NoFollow Links vs. DoFollow

Difference between DoFollow and NoFollow Links

A excellent moment to take a deeper look at nofollow links, both internal and external, and examine the advantages they offer, as well as different ways to use them, is now that Google, as of March 1st, treats the “NoFollow” feature as a tip for indexing and crawling.

We made the decision to deconstruct the fundamentals and offer link-building advice that every SEO and link builder should be familiar with after it became abundantly clear that there is a great deal of misinformation in the community on a range of topics linked to nofollow.

What Are NoFollow Links? 

For writers who were battling with people utilizing comment spam to attempt and establish connections in the goal of ranking for specific keywords, such “wedding invitations,” Google provided the rel=”nofollow” option in 2005. Google has since advised use the attribute sponsored links (a practice that can get you penalized by Google).

The nofollow property instructs search engines to ignore the marked outbound link, thereby indicating that the website does not support the connection.

How DoFollow and NoFollow Links Appear

In the HTML of your source code, nofollow is utilized. Although many content management systems (CMSs) offer a nofollow option when building links, if you must manually code them, we have some examples for you.

Here is what a dofollow link looks like:

<a href="https://domain.com">Anchor Text</a>

Here is what a nofollow link looks like: 

<a href="https://domain.com" rel="nofollow">Anchor Text</a>

Google’s NoFollow Link Options

Google introduced two new link properties in September 2019 to give webmasters more tools for assisting Google in determining the types of various links.


The preferable technique Google asks for if links are paid for in any way is to use the sponsored attribute to identify links on your site that were produced as part of advertising, sponsorships, or other compensation agreements.

This is how the sponsored attribute appears:

<a href="http://domain.com/" rel="sponsored">Anchor text</a>


Google advises designating links to user-generated content (UGC), such as forum posts and comment sections, as UGC. They did, however, note that you could remove this feature from links if you wanted to honor and reward dependable individuals who routinely make high-quality contributions.

The “user-generated content” (UGC) characteristic appears as follows:

<a href="http://domain.com/" rel="ugc">Anchor text</a>

Use the nofollow value when other values don’t apply and you’d prefer Google not to associate your site with, or crawl, the linked page from, your site, according to Google’s advice for using rel=”nofollow.” (Use robots.txt, as detailed below, for links on your own website.)”

Rel=”sponsored” and Rel=”Ugc” Should I Use Them?

AJ Ghergich stated in a recent Semrushchat that “Google has outgrown the original intent of rel=”nofollow” and that these adjustments are a manner of acknowledging/addressing that. For bloggers and publishers, rel=”ugc” is useful, and we want to use it on a number of clients. We don’t currently participate in paid link/content placements, so the term “sponsored” isn’t necessary. However, I anticipate that bigger publishers like Forbes will use it.

We got back in touch with AJ and requested his guidance on utilizing the new attributes:

“The significant change here is that the default catch-all was rel=”nofollow. It is now only appropriate to utilize it when neither the Sponsored nor UGC tags apply. This ought to be fairly uncommon.

  • When leaving comments on your blog or forum postings, use “rel=ugc.”
  • For editorials, paid guest posts, or link placements, use rel=”sponsored.”
  • When you can’t guarantee content that doesn’t quite suit UGC or Sponsored, use rel=”nofollow.”

What’s the difference between NoFollow and NoIndex?

We want to make sure that our community is aware of the distinctions between nofollow and noindex as well as their possibilities because we’ve found that there is some misunderstanding over how to prevent Google from indexing a page.

Meta Tag NoFollow

Nofollow can be applied to individual links, as was already mentioned. Nofollow can also be applied to a page’s head> to instruct search engines to ignore all of the links on that page:

<meta name="robots" content="nofollow" />

Please be aware that while using this directive in the past would indicate to Google not to scan a website via a certain link, it does not exclude Google from crawling a page in a different way. Additionally, if Google now considers nofollows to be “hints,” then this tactic will not be effective for you.

You must use the noindex tag if you don’t want Google to crawl or index any pages on your website.

Meta Tag Noindex

Search engines are informed by a “noindex” tag if you do not want a page to appear in the search results. According to Google, “Googlebot will remove that page totally from Google Search results, regardless of whether other websites link to it,” when it next scans the page and notices the tag or header.

They add, “The page must not be banned by a robots.txt file for the noindex directive to take effect. The crawler won’t ever see the noindex directive if the page is banned by a robots.txt file, but the page may still show up in search results, for instance, if other pages link to it.

For a specific page, you can add a noindex element to the HTML head section like follows:

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, follow”>

Is Google Using rel=”nofollow” Right Now as a Hint?

n February 28th, Barry Schwartz questioned John Mueller and Gary Illyes about how much change to anticipate.

Any idea how much will change if nofollow is able to be used for crawling and indexing on March 1st? @dannysullivan @JohnMu – @rustybrick Barry Shwartz

@methode may be aware, but he’s really busy. Additionally, sometimes the “change you see” (in external trackers, SEO-/BHW-twitter, etc.) isn’t the real change:)” @johnmu John

(In a more serious vein, we have nothing to report in that regard. practically nothing nothing)” @methode Gary Illyes

When we asked our community if they had noticed any changes to their websites in the discussion, the majority said that they had been caused by their SEO efforts or recent algorithm updates. We don’t know if Google has been utilizing them as clues continuously or if there will be any significant, observable impact. They want us to employ nofollow characteristics as best practices, that much is certain.

“A lot of our clients’ sites have experienced modest changes in site exposure, but it’s hard to say whether these changes are a result of Google’s change in how they handle nofollow. The majority of the modifications that we have observed actually result from updated core algorithms. — @BRCorrington Blake Corrington

If you did, you’d be a daisy. 🙂 There are over 200 ranking indications, which is one of the few things I take at face value from the GOOG press representatives. We are all doomed if utilizing this one had any effect. — @msweeny Marianne Sweeny

Correlation is not causation, insert Escape from SEO Here. All over the board and across numerous categories, rankings have risen. However, because there are so many other variables at play, it is impossible to link the Nofollow adjustments to those rankings. In order to better understand how to study and utilize links inside our systems, Google has stated that it is now looking at these cues and “other indications.” — @SEO AJ Ghergich

Google clarified this, stating that one of the factors for this shift was that such links offer useful data, such as how anchor text characterizes the page they link to, and that by examining all the links they uncover, they can start to identify “unnatural connecting patterns.”

Google added that the transition to a hint approach won’t alter the way we handle these connections. In general, we’ll approach them similarly to how we previously handled Nofollow and won’t take them into account for ranking. These suggestions provide Google more opportunity to learn, but we might not immediately see a significant effect from them.

How Can I Find Nofollow Links?

You can manually check pages one at a time to determine if nofollow tags are being used. Simply navigate to a page, right-click, and select “view page source:” to get started.

view page source

Then, use control or command F to look up nofollow. All of the nofollows on a page can be seen by clicking on the arrows.

find nofollow link

A balanced link profile is best whether it is DoFollow or NoFollow.

To create the ideal link profile, keep in mind that you need a balanced mix of do follow and no follow backlinks. Although do follow links may benefit SEO more, both should be included in your online marketing plan.

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