Nofollow links have been around for more than a decade. As everyone is looking for ways to increase traffic to their website, the question remains whether nofollow links help SEO.
Let’s try to answer this question since the answer is important for knowing how to make the right strategy and what you can expect. But first, let’s see what makes nofollow links different and special.
What are nofollow links?
There’s a long-going debate on follow vs nofollow links. In order to really understand the important arguments from both sides, you need to know how links work in the world of SEO. In short, when a page contains a link that points to another page, the search engine will interpret this as a sign that there’s good content on this page and will give it a priority in the search result page. This, of course, allows more people to find out about this page and gives the website more traffic. However, this is only the case with dofollow links. Or is it really?
It’s easier to see how your business can use dofollow links. The search engine will directly (“directly” being the important word) give view them as a point, and count them before giving the page a ranking.
On the other side, nofollow links are very similar to dofollow links, but the difference is that they contain an HTML attribute. This specific attribute gives the search engine a sign that it’s a nofollow link, and as a result, the search engine treats them differently.
How Google treats nofollow links
There was a widespread theory that Google completely skips nofollow links and doesn’t give it any SEO value. However, this is not necessarily true, especially nowadays.
In order to find a definitive answer, we should turn to Google. Here we have Google stating that generally, these links will not be followed. In September 2019, Google announced a huge change to how nofollow links are counted. And as of Sunday, Mar. 1, Google is treating nofollow links as a hint.
Previously, nofollow links mean that Google will not follow them. After the new change, Google will take nofollow links as a hint. This means the search engine will decide whether to give SEO value to nofollow lins or not.
The new change will have a huge impact on link spam, link building, and other aspects of SEO. It also means that having a nofollow link on high-profile website (such as Wikipedia) might once again have some significance for SEO. Besides these changes, other links were introduced and it’s sparked a big debate on the Internet. What’s sure is that we’re yet to see the full consequnces of the new change and what it really represents.
How this affects you
We still need to adapt to this new change and what it means for SEO. For starters, you might need to find another way to give a signal to the search engine that you do not want a certain link to follow. Next, this means that we might see more spam. But it also means some website will get a better ranking, based on their links on forums. Either way, this is a huge change in the world of SEO and we are yet to see the consequences of it.
But, what you can focus on is your link-building strategy and Google guidelines from before. Google guidelines have been clear that Google doesn’t approve of any tactics for the sole sake of link-building. So, it’s not a question of whether a link is dofollow or nofollow. It’s more about organic SEO signals, so keep that in mind when building exposure.
Nofollow links help SEO indirectly
Without a doubt, the value nofollow links have for SEO is indirect, at least. So, even before the new change, a high-profile nofollow link was able to give exposure so it was worth the effort. This exposure was one of the contributing factors to the visibility of your website in the search result page. Nofollow link can help your brand earn exposure by sending direct referral traffic to your website.
Before the new change, it was hard to say that nofollow links affected SEO directly. However, after the change, we can safely say that it’s up to the search engine to decide how to view the link and choose whether to ignore the nofollow attribute or not.
The important part of SEO strategy
A good SEO profile should contain both dofollow and nofollow links. Now, more than before, nofollow links help SEO and that their importance is not to be ignored.
The truth is that nofollow links affect SEO, one way of or the other. If the effect is direct or indirect, it’s not really that much important. What is important is not to forget on nofollow links when creating your SEO strategy.
Even before the announcement from Google, there were a lot of indicators showing the significance of nofollow links. You could find online theories and case studies from people swearing on the results of implementing nofollow links into their strategy. Either way, viewing the link as a follow or notfollow might not be the best way. Nowadays, this statement holds true even more than before.
The new announcement from Google changes the perspective on nofollow links. With new changes, the links that were arbitrarily nofollowed might count and it’s up to the search engine to decide. But, you can also do your part to make sure that nofollow links help SEO. And it’s not about link spamming and or buying nofollow links. There are other tactics that don’t get old, and you might come up with them just by reading the Google guidelines. The organic SEO signals and driving organic traffic to your website is something that is very appreciated by the search engine, so try to keep that in mind.