Are nofollow Backlinks Good for SEO?

Nofollow vs Dofollow is definitely a topic of debate among new bloggers. Everyone on this planet is showing interest only in dofollow backlinks which is quite understandable as well because they are recognized by Google as “Votes” of credibility and thus improves ranking in SERPs. But what about “Nofollow” backlinks. Are they useless for SEO?

In this post, i will clear your concept regarding the importance of nofollow backlinks for SEO.

Also Read >> How Google Ranks a Website : 200 Points Explained

What is a dofollow Link?

dofollow” is actually an HTML attribute which offers “link juice” and thus instruct search engines to recognize it as a vote of credibility. Search engine ranks a site, watching how many inbound links a page has and from what sites. If you have a blog which has so many do-follow backlinks from authority blogs of your niche, you will be ranked higher in SERPs.

<a href = rel=”external”>Example1</a>

<a href = >Example2</a>

The above links are dofollow. If there is no “rel” attribute in link, it will also be treated as dofollow link.

Note : dofollow backlinks from irrelevant sites are extremely harmful for SEO. Google may penalize you for this act.

Also Read >> Not getting Organic Traffic? Here’s the Reason and the Solution

What is a nofollow Link?

“nofollow” is also an HTML attribute which was introduced by google in 2005 to combat spammy comments on blogs. Now it is used to identify untrustworthy links and thus doesn’t add any SEO value. In short, a nofollow link tells search engine bots not to follow the link. An example of such link is shown below:

<a href= rel=”nofollow”>Example1</a>

<a href= rel=”external nofollow”>Example2</a>

nofollow link doesn’t add any seo value but still it can bring traffic to your website so they are not useless. Dofollow vs nofollow

How Search Engine Treat Dofollow and Nofollow Links?

  1. According to Google, they take “nofollow” seriously and doesn’t follow the link at all. However, the exact scenario is little different. Actually, google does follow the link but doesn’t index the linked page.
  2. Yahoo also follows similar approach. That means it also follow the nofollow link but doesn’t consider it in their ranking calculation.
  3. Bing doesn’t count “nofollow” links while ranking any site but it’s still not clear whether they visit such links or not.

Also Read >> Keyword Research using Google Keyword Planner Tool – Beginners Guide

Are nofollow Links Good for SEO?

Well, yes. It’s a bit complicated but let’s dig into things. Google states that their search engine takes “nofollow” leterally and doesn’t follow the link at all. But many leading minds in the SEO field have revealedthat google does follow the link but it doesn’t indexthe linked-to page(unless it was already indexed).

Google love natural links i.e healthy mix of nofollow and dofollow. Majority of sites including major social media sites give nofollow links these. Google is not a fool so it ranks a website on the basis of natural links.Wouldn’t it look suspicious if all your blog’s links were dofollow links?

From Last few weeks, i was trying to outrank my competitor site which was ranked higher than mine. The task looked easier to me at beginning because the stats(like DA, PA, PR etc) of that site were very much similar to mine. However,it was a tough task. Do you know why? It’s strange but it was due to “Nofollow backlinks”. When i gathered other data about that site, i realized that it has more “nofollow backlinks” than mine so started working on getting “nofollow” backlinks. At the end, it helped.

Google’s Panda update 4.0 penalized many blogs and websites on the basis of low quality links and some other factors. If you are also penalized, remove low quality backlinks and use a healthy mixture of dofollow and nofollow backlinks.

Also Read >> How Google decides where to rank your site in SERPs?

Other Benefits of nofollow Backlinks

Kulwant Nagi has also written about the benefits of nofollow backlinks. You can check that article here.

  1. Additional Website Traffic – People are not robots so they can’t detect “dofollow” or “nofollow” on the basis of “rel” tag of HTML. Links in any form acts as a gateway to your site and thus introduce your content to larger audience. If you want to get traffic through “nofollow” links, you must get such backlinks from a blog or site which is getting a large number of consistent traffic.
  2. Increase in Profit – Profit depends upon traffic. If you are attracting traffic to your blog, you are also increasing your chances of earning more.

Also Read>> What is Domain Authority and How to improve it?

When to use nofollow Links?

No one want to get penalized by Google so it’s extremely important to use nofollow links with care. I recommend the use of nofollow attribute in following cases:

  1. Paid Links – If you are using paid links on your blog or site, make sure that it is “nofollow”.
  2. Comments Without Moderation – If your site or blog allows everyone to post comments without moderation, you must use “nofollow” links. It will tell search engines that those links are not trustworthy and will save you from Google’s penalty as well.
  3. Links inside Articles which doesn’t require moderation – If you allow anyone to contribute content to your blog without moderation, you must use nofollow links.
  4. Embeds – If you are using any widget or Infographic which has a link to an untrustworthy site, you should make it “nofollow”.
  5. Other – If  any site is not trustworthy and you have a fear of being penalized by google due to that link, use “nofollow” attribute.

Also Read>> What is Google Humming bird Update?

What happens when you gets Large number of Nofollow Backlinks?

As i discussed earlier, “nofollow” attribute sends a message to search engines that the link is not trustworthy.Matt cutts says “nofollow backlinks cannot harm your site’s ranking”. However,if your site have a large number of nofollow backlinks from other sites, it’s extremely dangerous because all sites are indirectly saying google that your site is not trustworthy. Lets see the video by Matt Cutts:

Cutts says, it may change in future when some new type of spam loophole is detected. As long as you are engaged in posting quality contents, building direct traffic and not using anything disruptive, you should not have any problem with nofollow links.

Your Turn Now

I have already expressed my opinion regarding the importance of nofollow backlinks for SEO. Now, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts about it. Have you noticed any benefits of nofollow backlinks in SERPs? Share your ideas through comments.


  1. says

    Hello Ravi , You Fallen me into a great confusion ; Bcoz i read 100+ blogs daily and found only one thing that no-follow have no juice and their is no any effect of no-follow links.Now i what i do for my blog.Time waste on Do-follow or no-follow?

  2. says

    Nice breakdown Ravi! I stopped accepting guest posts after Google’s crackdown 😉 Nofollow is the way to go to keep your blog looking good, if you accept guesties. Thanks!

  3. says

    Hi Ravi,

    This will obviously continue to be an ongoing issue as Google updates and changes their algorithms over time.

    I think we all just have to use our best judgement when allowing any types of links.  I think I have a healthy combination and I still give plenty of dofollow links.  I am very picky though who I give them to and you have to prove to me that you’re at my place for the right reasons.

    I still have guest posts once a month and they get dofollow links as well.  I have not been penalized by Google and I’m going on my third year not but my guests are chosen by me to write so again I’m very cautious about who I have write for me.

    Either way I think it should be up to the individual.  I’m just not going to obsess over Google, it will do nothing but cause heartaches.


  4. says

    Hi Ravi,

    Excellent breakdown here. Man, trying to stay on Google’s good side seems like a never winning battle sometimes.

    Google uses backlinks to determine rankings but scares many people into not accepting due to so many getting hit by some serious penalties.

    I think balance is key. If your a regular on a site and trust it. As long as the site is related to yours, why not give them some link love?

    I totally agree with your reasons behind using No Follow links. Especially for paid links.

    Thanks for this Ravi. This is a important topic! Take care…

  5. says

    Hi Ravi, seen good post about nofollow backlinks as it helps in SEO ranking .And its been interesting over the last couple of years that seo experts have started to implement no-follow links into their strategies, personally i think its about finding the right balance. Personally i use no-follow links and will continue to do so until some one offers any concrete evidence.

  6. says

    Great post I think that it’s very much clear and smart SEO tactic to have a proper balance between do follow and no follow backlinks, enough of either one might look suspicious and unnatural to Google So play safe with your link building process

  7. says

    Well, according to my experiments, which i did in last few months, Nofollow Links does pass any link juice directly, but if those Nofollows are from authority sites and are from the body of the post, then it can help in ranking. But still, haven’t able to find the perfect conclusion. So, I think, we should not built nofollow links intentionally, as it cannot help directly to ranking.

    I may be wrong. What you think about this?

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