Before getting started with the topic, Let us quickly discuss what is rel Nofollow and why is came into existence.
There was a time when webmaster’s had to put in a lot of effort to keep ‘robots‘ from ‘crawling’ web pages. They had to go through the trouble of telling search engines and robots not to follow a particular web page. To make the task easier for webmaster’s, rel attribute was created with Nofollow, popularly called as rel Nofollow.
What is Dofollow ?
The Dofollow attribute does not exist in practice. When speaking of Dofollow, you just mean that you are not using the Nofollow attribute.
What is Nofollow ?
We can say that Nofollow is a way of telling search engines not to follow any type of links on a specific web page. If the link on a web page is used with the rel=”nofollow”, search engine’s bots will not follow this particular link. Bottom Line – The link does not count as a valid Backlink.
It is also called noindex nofollow. An example when using HTML.
<a href=”http://www.justanexample.com” rel=”nofollow”>Anchor Text</a>
Why to use Nofollow ?
Nofollow is used mainly to cut down link spam. There are unethical ways for websites to garner lots of backlinks, thereby pushing up the website’s PageRank. Nofollow helps in avoiding spam comments on blogs and websites. It has become a powerful tool for the webmasters and has given them more freedom to choose the type of link building as per their convenience.
How Does Rel Nofollow affect Google PageRank ?
All the web pages with the Nofollow attributes are ignored by Google, i.e. Google bots do not follow them. So, the links contained in the webpages will not be accounted for in the calculation of PageRank. Talking of backlinks, say that you have posted an inbound link to your blog or website on hundreds of websites or forums and if these websites or forums use the Nofollow attribute, then what happens? Well, you don’t get link juice!
Should you spend time on building Nofollow links ?
There is no harm in building a few Nofollow links as they might help you in driving some traffic to your website. However, we would advise not spending too much time and energy on it since these don’t provide any link juice and will not help in improving your page Rank. You should mainly target dofollow sites or dofollow blogs for link juice, Take a look here.
How to check for Nofollow links ?
Now that you know what is nofollow, a very simple and easy way to check Nofollow links is to view a website’s source. Just right-click and click on View page source. Press a Ctrl+F to open up Find and search for the word ‘Nofollow’. This may require a lot of patience, but there are extensions that can be used as well. Again, this is not a very wise thing to do as website’s can change their preferences any time.
How does Nofollow affect Guest posts ?
Say you have written a brilliant article and posted it on a popular niche blog as a guest post thinking you will get tons of traffic and backlink to your website. But did you check if the website for which you are writing a guest post for, uses a rel Dofollow or a rel Nofollow attribute for link building ? You can understand why this is important. You don’t want to write quality content for a website that will only give you a Nofollow link in return. You may argue that you will get traffic from the guest post irrespective of the link type if it is a authority site, however a dofollow backlink is always better than a nofollow backlink.
At the end it all drill downs to backlinks and Page Rank. Nofollow may have benefits for webmasters, however it is not advisable to focus entirely on Nofollow links. Yes, a mix of Dofollow and few Nofollow backlinks will be a pretty decent idea.
More on backlinks – What are Backlinks and the Advantage of Backlinks.