Nofollow Links and Dofollow Links

By Adam  |  14 Mar 2016 12:00:00

When you're doing content marketing, there will doubtlessly be times where it will be appropriate for you to link out to other websites. Maybe you'll be writing about a news story and you'll post a link to act as a kind of source. Maybe you'll be writing about a website you think is cool (and you think your customers will think is cool too) and will put in a link to that website. Linking is just a natural thing that's done on the internet. It would look suspicious if you didn't ever link out to anybody else. But did you know that there are different types of link? And that the kind of links you use is actually quite significant?


The two main types of links are nofollow links and dofollow links. Before I explain what exactly the distinction is, I'll have to tell you a little about how search engine algorithms work. When you search for something in a search engine, the top result will be the thing that has been determined as the 'best' choice. How is the best choice decided? Well, there are many factors: it measures traffic to the site, it measures how long people stay on the site, it measures the quantity and quality of content and it also measures the links to and from your site. If you have lots of links leading to your website, that's good, however, the kind of links makes a big difference. If they are dofollow links then that will mean that the website is openly endorsing the site and want search engines to take that into consideration. If they are nofollow links, that tells search algorithms to ignore them.


Does that sound complicated? Well, I'm afraid it is. Every website on the internet has a certain number of points, lets say, and the more points they have the higher they rank. There are no actual points, but it makes it easier to explain if you imagine there are. Every time you link to another website, you are giving them some of your points and telling search engines that they are good too. If you just link out to loads and loads of websites, this will be deemed spammy, you'll lose lots of 'points' and you won't rank highly. So if you were working on a piece of content and it would be appropriate for you to link to loads of websites for whatever reason, you would probably do them all as nofollow. You do, however, want to be using a fair share of dofollow links, because if you don't, it will look like you are merely doing so to avoid sharing these 'points' and so you'll lose some just for being selfish.


Really, there's no point system at play, but the true nature of things is extremely complex and nobody really knows exactly how it works for sure. Part of the reason this distinction arose was because comment sections were disrupting rankings when people spammed links, in case you thought it was a bit weird. So I hope that gives you a better idea of how linking works and that you'll be able to use this to increase your eCommerce websites ranking.

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