In this article, we will explain the difference between Dofollow and Nofollow backlinks, their significance, and how to use them to enhance SEO. Dofollow and Nofollow are crucial features that must be well understood to use them appropriately. This is a great time to learn about Nofollow links as Google now treats the Nofollow tag as a reference or hint to crawl content.

What is the Nofollow tag?

Google introduced the rel=”nofollow” attribute 15 years ago to prevent spamming of comments by users to build links and increase website ranking for specific keywords. Since then, Google has suggested the use of paid link attributes to avoid penalties. The Nofollow attribute instructs search engines not to follow the outbound link, which means that the link is ignored and not archived.

What is the difference between a link with the Nofollow and Dofollow tag?

The nofollow attribute is used in HTML source code, and most Content Management Systems offer the option to use it for link building. If you want to add nofollow attribute codes manually, here are examples that can guide you:

This is how a link with the Dofollow tag looks like in HTML:

<a href="">Anchor Text Goes Here</a>

This is how a nofollow HTML link looks like:

<a href="" rel="nofollow">Anchor Text</a>

Options for using Nofollow links for Google

In September 2019, Google introduced two new link attributes that provide webmasters with more ways to help Google learn about different links. These attributes are:

  1. Paid links rel=”sponsored”: Google recommends using the sponsored tag to identify links that are part of advertisements, sponsorships, or compensation agreements on your site.
  2. rel=”ugc” tag: Google prefers using the ugc tag to describe user-generated content like comments and posts in forums.

Google suggests using the rel=”nofollow” tag in the following way:

Use the nofollow tag if other values are not appropriate, in case you do not want the Google search engine to link or crawl your site to the linked page through your site. For links on your website, use the robots.txt file.

Normal and ِbnormal: Inbound and Outbound Links

Google evaluates links on each site to determine whether they appear natural or not. It does this by evaluating the presence of relevant links on the site, which include backlinks, Dofollow, Nofollow, and other links that appear normal in terms of number and density. Any abnormal links should use the Nofollow tag to prevent the search engine from crawling them.

What are abnormal links?

Google considers links abnormal if they are excessive, paid, or intended to manipulate rankings. Here are some examples of links or actions that may result in penalties from the Google search engine:

  1. Buying or selling links.
  2. Exchanging links.
  3. Guest posts with anchor text links full of keywords.
  4. Automatic link building.
  5. Using Dofollow features, including “Backlink Dofollow”.
  6. Press releases.

Recently, Google penalized the use of external links in guest posts. Therefore, it is vital to understand Nofollow and Dofollow links to avoid penalties and improve SEO.

Difference Between NoFollow and NoIndex Tags

To prevent Google from archiving a specific page, webmasters can use either the nofollow or noindex attribute. The nofollow attribute can be used for individual links, backlink nofollow or nofollow internal links. It can also be added to the HTML <head> section to tell search engines not to follow all links on the page:

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

However, if webmasters use the nofollow tag to prevent Google from crawling a page, they should be aware that this method was previously used to signal Google not to crawl a specific page through a specific link. Nowadays, Google treats nofollow tags as “hints,” so this method will not prevent Google from crawling the page through another route.

To prevent Google from archiving a specific page, webmasters should use the noindex attribute instead. The noindex tag tells search engines not to display pages with this tag in search results. If Google’s crawling bots see this tag, they will remove the entire page from search results, regardless of whether other sites link to it. To add the noindex tag to the HTML head section, webmasters can use the following code:

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

Alternatively, they can use the X-robots-tag HTTP header:

X-Robots-Tag: noindex

Using X-robots-tag has the advantage of allowing webmasters to prevent their entire page or specific elements from being archived.

Webmasters should avoid using the nofollow attribute to prevent Google from archiving pages. Although it was once used for this purpose, the noindex attribute is more efficient.

Crawling, Archiving, and Ranking in Search Engine Results

Crawling is the process of Google following links to discover new or updated content on web pages. Archiving, or indexing, is the process in which Google analyzes and stores all the information and content that it crawls. Ranking in search engine results involves Google selecting the content and information that the searcher needs and showing it in its archive.

Google announced that pages blocked from search engine bots won’t be crawled using the robots.txt file. However, they can still be archived when they link to another page. This means that Google can guess the content of the page based on the link that points to it and archive it even if it cannot clearly interpret the content of the page.

Does Google Treat Links with the Rel=”Nofollow” Tag as a Hint?

As of February 28th, John Mueller has not confirmed any significant changes to links tagged with rel=”nofollow.” Webmasters have noticed that changes to their sites’ SEO have been the result of their own efforts to improve it or recent changes to the Google algorithm.

It is still unclear whether Google treats links with the rel=”nofollow” tag as hints or whether any recent changes are significant and will lead to clear differences. Google wants to implement the rel=”nofollow” tag on websites in the best possible way.

Some experts have noticed an increase in the rankings of sites in search results across various sections. However, it is difficult to link these changes to the nofollow tag. There are many other factors affecting the ranking of websites in search results.

Google is looking for hints and other signs to determine the best way to analyze and use links in their system. One of the most important reasons for this change is the important information provided by links, such as how anchor text describes the content linked to it. By monitoring all the links they search for, Google can identify unnatural linking patterns.

Google confirmed that using links with the nofollow tag as a hint will not change how they deal with them.

By the end of this article, we hope you have learned about the distinction between backlinks marked with the Dofollow tag and those marked with the Nofollow tag, as well as internal links with the Nofollow and Duflo tags. You should now understand how to use each type of link, the benefits they offer, and how the new Google search engine handles links with the Nofollow tag.