What is a dofollow link? How dofollow and nofollow links impact your SEO

Head of Rush Analytics Dmitriy Tsytrosh

What is a dofollow link?

A dofollow link is a type of hyperlink that, when clicked on by a user, instructs search engines to continue following from one page to the other. This means that a dofollow links pass along “link juice” or “link equity” in the eyes of Google and other search engines.


Dofollow links are an important element of SEO as they are used by search engines to determine the relevance and authority of a website. By having dofollow links from external websites, it gives you an added boost in terms of rankings and visibility on search engine result pages (SERPs). The more dofollow links you have pointing to your website, the higher your chances will be of ranking higher in SERPs.

It is also important to note that a dofollow backlink should look natural, and not bought or exchanged for any purpose, as this can potentially do more harm than good. All dofollow links should come from quality websites with high domain authority and be relevant to the topic at hand.

What is nofollow link?

Nofollow backlinks are put in place to allow websites to link out to other websites without giving any editorial control over the linked page. They don’t pass page rank and can be seen as a way of disclaiming responsibility for the content of the linked page.

Nofollow backlinks should be used whenever you link from your website to another, but don’t want to create a connection that could benefit or hurt the ranking of either website.

Nofollow links work side-by-side with dofollow links, which are vital for building relationships and passing on link juice between different websites. Nofollow backlinks are a great way to advance your online growth by including other reliable sources on certain subject matters with no fear of getting penalized for providing outbound links.

How do I know if my link is dofollow?

HTML Code for follow and nofollow links

If you’re looking to determine if a link is “dofollow,” the best way to find out is by taking a look at its HTML code. If you see a “rel=dofollow” HTML attribute or no attribute at all, then you can rest assured the link on this web page is dofollow.

Are there any tools to check nofollow and dofollow backlinks automatically?

If you’re looking for a way to check the links on your website and determine which are nofollow or dofollow, there are several free tools available:

MozBar is an extension from Moz that works with Chrome, SEOquake works with both Chrome and Firefox, Link Analyzer is a standalone tool without any browser requirement — all of these options provide reliable results quickly. Whether it’s across entire pages or individual links, each one follows the connection to assess what type of link it is before presenting its findings.

What is the difference between nofollow and dofollow links?

Nofollow links are HTML code which contain a “rel=nofollow” attribute and tell search engines not to follow them. Conversely, high quality dofollow backlinks are visible to search engines and contribute to your website’s overall ranking strength and credibility. These high quality links usually have a “dofollow” html code that can be seen when inspecting the page’s source code.

do follow vs no-follow links

In short, when a high quality dofollow link is added to an HTML document or webpage, search engines will crawl the website and pass on “link juice” or ranking power to that particular website. On the other hand, nofollow links are not followed by search engine crawlers, so any power associated with them does not add inbound ranking juice.

Why people choose to make their websites and blogs nofollow?

Website owners often use nofollow tags on their websites and blogs, which signify to search engines that certain links should not be followed. This is done to protect the website from being penalized by search engines if it is linking to non-credible sources or directing users to inappropriate material. This also prevents the website from being associated with external sites which may damage its reputation.


While dofollow links have greater SEO benefits, nofollow links offer a solution for website owners who want to link externally but need to ensure that such linkages don’t hurt their business in any way.

So are nofollow backlinks useless?

Link building through nofollow backlinks may seem like a waste of effort, but they are far from useless. Having a variety of links pointing to your website, both dofollow and nofollow, creates a natural backlink profile that’s favored by search engines. Link profiles filled entirely with dofollow links look less organic and may be seen as an attempt to game Google for better rankings instead of trustworthiness. A diverse link profile is the key to stronger search results. Link building should include both dofollow and nofollow backlinks for best practices in SEO. 

Furthermore, if nofollow backlinks generate web traffic to your website, how can they be useless? Linking to sites with nofollow links provides added value to the user experience and can help establish credibility among web users. Thus, nofollow backlinks should not be disregarded – instead, use them to accumulate more followers and diversify your link building portfolio.

How soon will Google acknowledge a dofollow link?

With so many pages being crawled everyday by search engine spiders, the exact amount of time it takes for Google to recognize dofollow link is difficult to pin down. Nevertheless, you can expect that search engines discover a dofollow link within two and four days after posting.

When is it best to utilize dofollow and nofollow backlinks?

In certain scenarios, it is suggested that you adhere to the best practices and indicate links as nofollow. Google advises some forms of links be labeled either as nofollow or a particular tag specified below for maximum effectiveness.

Paid/sponsored links

To ensure accuracy and fairness in web search results, Google has instituted a rule that requires all paid links, including online advertisements, to be clearly labeled as “sponsored”. By doing this, we can avoid unethical practices like buying backlinks with the sole purpose of manipulating search engine rankings.

User-generated content

If your website has a comment section or some type of user-generated content (including links) you should be sure to label all the links as “UGC.” Spam is an inevitable part of this kind of content, so UGC will help reduce any issues without requiring constant moderation.


For optimal safety, if your site embeds links to content from third-party sources, it is essential that you designate those links as ‘nofollow.’ As a general practice, when the origin of certain content lies beyond your control and authority, please remember to mark such hyperlinks with ‘nofollow’ in order to avoid potential problems down the line.

Undesired endorsements

If you’re looking to keep your SEO score intact and not boost the rankings of a competitive website, nofollow links might be just what you need. It’s possible to adjust any link as nofollow; essentially, all links are set up as dofollow by default, so this will help ensure that others don’t benefit from being linked to from your domain without it affecting yours.

Which type of links should I use when building my SEO strategy?


The decision of which type of links to use when building your SEO strategy should take into account the desired outcome. Nofollow links are useful for instances where you do not wish to endorse or influence the reputation of the linked website, such as blogs and forums. On the other hand, dofollow backlinks are generally more beneficial for search engine optimization purposes, as they can help boost the visibility of your site in the SERPs and establish authority.


Ultimately, it is recommended that a mix of nofollow and dofollow backlinks is utilized in an SEO strategy, with approximately 75% being dofollow and 25% being nofollow.

What are the ways to get free dofollow links?

1.  Guest blogging

One of the best ways to get free dofollow links is through guest blogging. When you guest blog on another site, you typically include a link back to your own site in your author bio. This is a great way to get a high-quality link from a reputable site. However, it’s important to make sure that you’re only guest blogging on sites that are relevant to your niche.

2.  Broken link building

Broken link building is a process whereby you identify broken links on other websites and then contact the site owner to let them know. In most cases, the site owner will be happy to replace the broken link with a working link to your site. This is an effective way to get high-quality links from authority sites.

3.  Directory listings

There are many web directories that allow you to list your website for free. While most of these directories are nofollow, there are some that do offer dofollow links. Directory listings can be a good way to get links from high-quality websites. However, it’s important to only list your website in relevant directories.

4.  Forum signatures

If you participate in online forums, you can include a link to your website in your signature. This is an easy way to get free links from high-traffic websites. However, it’s important to make sure that your signature is not spammy and that you’re only participating in forums that are relevant to your niche.

5.  Social media

Social media is another great way to get free dofollow links. When you share content from your website on social media, people who click on the link will be taken directly to your site. This is an easy way to get traffic and links from high-authority websites. However, it’s important to make sure that you’re only sharing quality content on social media.

6.  Resource pages

Resource pages are pages on websites that list helpful resources on a particular topic. If you have a resource that would be helpful for people in your niche, you can contact the owners of these resource pages and ask them to include a link to your resource. This is an effective way to get links from high-quality websites.