One common question in the search engine optimization (SEO) space is whether or not nofollow links help your rank higher in the search results. Given that backlinks are one of the key ranking factors, it stands to reason that nofollow links could potentially have an impact on a website’s SEO performance.
However, it is important to note that nofollow links are not given much weight by Google and other search engines. This means that they will not directly impact your ranking on the search engine results pages (SERPs). However, nofollow links can still be beneficial to your website in other ways.
What Are Nofollow Links?
Nofollow links are simply links that do not pass on any link juice. This means that they will not help improve your website’s ranking in the search results. However, they can still be beneficial to your website in other ways.
For example, nofollow links can help increase traffic to your website. This is because they can help you get more exposure on the internet. Additionally, nofollow links can also help build relationships with other websites.
So, while nofollow links may not directly impact your website’s ranking, they can still be beneficial to your overall online presence.
What Is the Purpose of Nofollow Links?
The purpose of nofollow links is to help improve website traffic and relationships with other websites. The claim is that because nofollow links don’t pass link juice, they’re not as valuable as do-follow links. However, that’s not entirely accurate. While it’s true that nofollow links don’t directly impact your website’s ranking, they can still be beneficial to your overall online presence.
Nofollow links can help improve website traffic in two ways:
• By giving your website more exposure on other websites. When your website is mentioned on another website, it helps increase your visibility and brand awareness. This can lead to more people visiting your website, even if they don’t click on the nofollow link.
• By helping you build relationships with other websites. By having your website mentioned on another website, you’re building a relationship with that site. This can be beneficial if you ever need to ask for a favor, such as a link from that site in the future.
The exposure associated with a high-profile nofollow link can result in more traffic and brand awareness for your website, even if the link itself doesn’t directly increase your website’s search engine ranking.
What Are Contextual Nofollow Links?
Contextual nofollow links are links that are wrapped around a piece of content on a page. The nofollow link attribute is applied to the entire block of content, not just the individual link.
For example, let’s say you have a blog post with 10 different links in the body of the text. If you add the nofollow link attribute to the entire blog post, all 10 links will be nofollow links.
As such, these contextual nofollow links can drive relevant traffic to your website or blog post, thereby spreading brand awareness. They help you establish and carve out individual authority in your niche, thereby bringing you numerous future collaborations and marketing opportunities.
Some of the primary benefits of using nofollow contextual links are:
1. Improve Your Rankings on SERPs
One of the main reasons to use nofollow contextual links is to improve your website’s ranking on the SERPs. By adding nofollow links to your blog post or website, you are essentially telling search engines that your site is more relevant and trustworthy than other sites that don’t have any nofollow links.
2. Indirectly Drive More Traffic to Your Website
Nofollow links can indirectly drive more traffic to your website. When you add nofollow links to your blog post or website, you are essentially telling search engines that your site is more relevant and trustworthy than other sites that don’t have any nofollow links. This will help improve your website’s ranking on the SERPs, which can ultimately lead to more traffic.
3. Help You Better Connect With Other Websites
Nofollow links can also help you better connect with other websites. When you add a nofollow link to another website, you are essentially vouching for that site and saying that it is a trustworthy and relevant source of information. This can help build relationships with other website owners and may even lead to them linking to your site in the future.
4. Enhance Your Brand Visibility and Awareness
Another benefit of nofollow links is that they can help enhance your brand visibility and awareness. When people see your website listed on other sites, they may be more likely to visit your site and learn more about what you have to offer. This increased exposure can ultimately lead to more traffic and conversions for your business.
5. Get More High-Quality Backlinks
While nofollow links may not directly boost your SEO, they can still indirectly lead to more high-quality backlinks. How? By increasing your brand awareness and visibility, you’re more likely to get mentioned by other websites and bloggers – and these mentions can turn into links over time. So although nofollow links may not have an immediate impact on your SEO, they can still be beneficial in the long run.
How Does Google Handle Nofollow Links?
Google considers dofollow links as a vote of confidence and trust – the more dofollow links you have, the better your chances of ranking higher in search results. Nofollow links, on the other hand, are more nuanced.
When nofollow was introduced, Google released this statement:
“Nofollow” provides a way for webmasters to tell search engines “Don’t follow links on this page” or “Don’t follow this specific link.” This is useful for pages with content that can be deceptive, like paid links or link schemes. By telling search engines not to follow such links, webmasters can help improve the quality of their search results.
In other words, Google views nofollow links as a way to prevent spammers from gaming the system.
Fast forward to today, and nofollow links are still primarily used as a way to combat spam. However, apart from that, they are used as hints. In other words, they give Google a little bit of information about your website. That said, they’re also used for other reasons, such as:
• To link to untrusted content: If you don’t trust the content of a page, you can use nofollow links to prevent search engines from passing along PageRank.
• To link to low-quality content: In some cases, webmasters will use nofollow links to link to pages with low-quality content.
• To link to sponsored content: Many times, sponsors will pay for links on websites. In these cases, the webmaster will use nofollow links to ensure they’re not passing along PageRank.
Google’s algorithms have evolved over the years, and they now take into account the content surrounding a nofollow link. In other words, Google doesn’t just discount nofollow links; it actually uses them as a signal to better understand the context of the page. These hints/signals are used to better understand the overall topic of a page, which helps Google determine if a page is relevant to a user’s search query.
This means that even though a nofollow link doesn’t pass along PageRank, it can still have an impact on your search engine rankings.Nofollow links are a valuable signal to Google, and they can help you rank in search results — even if the link itself doesn’t pass along PageRank.
In this case study, on a large media website like Forbes or Huffington Post, any links in the body of an article are typically nofollowed. However, the homepages of these websites have a lot of PageRank.
When a user clicks on a link in an article on one of these websites, they are taken to another website. This other website may not have as much PageRank as the media website, but the link from the media website still has value.
In this scenario, the nofollow link is acting as a “vote” for the other website. This vote helps to increase the other website’s ranking in search results.