Crystal brought up a good question the other day and I didn’t have the answer. So I thought I’d do a little research, write about what I found and post it here. We both (Crystal and I) would love to hear your thoughts on DoFollow and NoFollow backlinks.
Before I go into DoFollow and NoFollow backlinks, I need to back up just a bit and do a little explaining about backlinks.
What are Backlinks?
Backlinks are links back to your site, blog, article, or anything you have on the internet. If someone likes your work and links to it, then you have a backlink. The right backlinks are good, bad backlinks are not so good.
What is a good Backlink?
A good backlink is a link to your blog/site/article from a reputable site on a related topic. For example, a backlink to NJFM from a site on how to improve your golf swing isn’t as good as having a link from another freelance writing or work from home site.
Quality and Authority
In addition to being backlinked from related sites, backlinks from high quality sites is also a plus. In other words, having a backlink from a high quality, authoritative site holds a lot more weight than receiving backlinks from brand new blogs with no ranking or no following. Imagine receiving a backlink from CNN or Oprah vs. a backlink from your Aunt Mary who is still trying to figure out how to add an image to her blog.
One Way or Reciprocal
Another plus with backlinks is whether or not they are one way or reciprocal. If you write great content, people will link to you. If you are trying to build links and offer the “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” type of link, that’s called reciprocal linking and they don’t hold as much weight.
All in the Anchor Text
There’s also the anchor text to be considered. Anchor text are the words used to link to the site. Keyword anchor text holds more weight than non keyword text. For example, I could link to Grandma’s site by saying, “Here’s Grandma’s site.” Yes, she gets a link, but she would get more benefit if I were to say something like, “Check out Grandma’s site if you want quality website content.” To use Dr. Oz’s phrase, “Make sense?” (I’ve been watching too much TV lately).
Finally, to get back to the topic of this post, there’s the Do and NoFollow backlinks.
A Little History
Many years ago, when blogging was a mere pup, links were generally DoFollow. So, when Google indexed/spidered any given blog, it would also send the spider to follow any links it found on the blog. This worked pretty well until spammers realized they could get some of the blog’s link juice by placing as many spammy comments on blogs as possible. As a result, Google developed the NoFollow tag. It doesn’t penalize the link; it just doesn’t give it any juice.
The Do Follow tag gives back the Google link juice that NoFollow took away.
Pros and Cons of DoFollow
The pros of DoFollow links are obvious if you are the recipient of the Google juice. Just imagine getting some of the Google juice if one of your articles was directly linked to by Google itself. Google has a PR of 10. Or, even Oprah, whose site holds a PR of 7.
Getting some of the link juice is great. However, DoFollow link juice goes both ways. If you have a ton of DoFollow links to spammy sites, it reflects poorly on you and your site may take a hit.
Is a Link DoFollow?
There are lists on the internet of DoFollow blogs, websites and social networking media. Since things on the internet change often, to truly find out whether a link is DoFollow, check out the HTML code. Visit the webpage and view the source. If you see
rel=’external nofollow’ it’s a NoFollow site and
rel=’external dofollow’ is a DoFollow link
If you use Firefox as your web browser, there’s a NoDoFollow plugin that will do the work for you.
Personally, I’ve never spent much time thinking about Do or NoFollow links (that’s why when Crystal asked, I couldn’t give her an answer). However, I’d like to hear your take on these types of backlinks.
Oh, A Shout Out before I End This Post
Speaking of backlinks, I’d like to give a shout out to Crystal’s sites. She’s got a couple of good ones. I especially relate to her The Best 50 Years blog (since I’m considered chronologically mature, but the jury is still out on my mental maturity), and her new blog Rugged Canyon Jewelry. Although, I think I first “met” Crystal through her Rock Climbing Jewelry site right after I wrote a review about a recent indoor Rock Climbing experience.
Thanks, Crystal, for asking the question.