Understanding Follow vs No Follow Backlinks

A Complete Guide

The digital marketing experts at Gemini have put together a guide on what you need to know about follow vs no follow backlinks.

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No follow links, follow backlinks, domain authority, oh my! When it comes to boosting brand awareness and improving your site’s SEO performance, there’s a lot to think about. In fact, there’s a lot to learn when it comes to follow vs no follow links alone. But don’t fret! The digital marketing experts at Gemini have put together a guide on what you need to know about follow vs no follow backlinks.

What the Heck is a Backlink Anyway?

A backlink is a hyperlink from one web page to another. The link could lead to a website, a web page or some other type of web resource and acts as a citation. If a site references your site, Google crawls the link and takes note of the reference.

What are the Benefits of Backlinks? 

Some backlinks allow Google to judge the authority of your website, therefore improving your site’s search engine rankings. Other backlinks improve site performance by increasing brand recognition, endorsing your website, and building relationships between websites.

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Over the years, Google has evolved in the way it judges each backlink and has parsed them out by type: follow and no follow backlinks.

What are Follow Links?

Follow (or do follow) links are crawled, credited, and valuable backlinks that build your site’s authority for SEO purposes. They are created when a site includes a hyperlink to your website without altering the code to prevent search engines from crawling it.

It’s Time to Give a Damn About Your (Site’s) Reputation

With follow backlinks, Google credits your site with authority in search results positioning. The impact of the backlink is influenced by the referring website’s authority. In turn, more authoritative sites provide more valuable backlinks than less authoritative sites.

Take Forbes, for example: search engines consider this site highly authoritative, meaning a backlink from Forbes would carry more weight than a backlink from a lesser-known brand. So, when you gain follow links from authoritative sites, your site’s reputation and authority increases.

Everything Changed When the World Wide Web Became the Wild, Wild West

When search engines first began crediting sites for gaining follow backlinks, opportunistic but nefarious site owners started to take advantage of the system. They began getting backlinks anyway they could with no rules and with reckless abandon like mischievous cowboys in the wild west.

From posting links on message boards to editing Wikipedia articles to link to their own site, the whole system became a spam-filled mess as folks did whatever they could to gain follow backlinks. With all these brands going rogue, search engines needed a solution, and the solution was the creation of no follow links.

What is a No Follow Backlink?

No follow links are backlinks that are edited by the referencing website. They can be edited manually or automatically to communicate to search engines that the link shouldn’t provide a boost to the linked website.

Sites that allow users to post, often implement a tool that automatically ties a tag to all site links to help reduce spam. No follow links are created with this no follow HTML tag:

<a href=”http://www.website.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Link Text</a>

For example, if you post a link on Facebook, the tag above will be auto applied, making it a no follow link. This just means that search engines will ignore that link and not count it toward a site’s backlink profile.

Although no follow links may not count toward improving your ranking in search results, users can still click on these links to visit your page, which does increase brand awareness and traffic to your site.

What are the Benefits of No Follow Links?

After learning a little more about no follow links, you may be thinking, what’s the point of gaining no follow link if it doesn’t boost my site’s authority? There are pros to backlinks, we promise! Although they don’t directly benefit SEO, they do produce referral traffic. Several other benefits of no follow links include:

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1. No Follow Links Can Boost Domain Authority

Backlinks improve domain authority by driving reputable traffic to your site, therefore increasing your brand’s credibility. Having domain authority is crucial in a successful website; it allows you to outrank your competitors and become a thought leader in your industry.

2. No Follow Links Can Put You on the Path to Follow Links

As no follow links drive more and more valuable traffic to your site, the more and more brands will think of you when adding a follow link in the future.

3. No Follow Links Build Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is necessary when growing your business online. When the traffic from a no follow backlink gets to your website, the visitors learn about your business, products, or services.

Follow or No Follow, that is the Question.

Are you still unsure of what backlinks are? Interested in learning how to check for no follow links or follow links? We can help! Get access to more information on backlinks and the various efforts that go into producing an exceptional website by getting in touch with Gemini—we look forward to helping your site and brand succeed!

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