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Tom Howlett

Is There Any Value in No-Followed Links?

24th Jun 2011 SEO, Link Building 2 minutes to read

Stop SignThere has been many a debate on the value of no-followed links over the years. Do they present any value when it comes to ranking factors? Are they a waste of time and should they be avoided? The quick answer is that ‘a links a link’ and it should provide some sort of value whether it is do-follow or no-follow.

The no-follow attribute was introduced back in 2005 in an attempt to combat web spam. The same method can be used on a website to channel link value to the pages on the website that are more important (instead of to a terms & conditions page for example). Since the implementation, the no-follow link has had little effect on preventing web spam; some web users don’t even bother checking to see if the attribute is in use before unleashing spam.

Some webmasters have even removed the no-follow attribute from their Blog in an attempt to increase traffic to their site. It questions the current value of the no-follow attribute altogether. No-followed links are likely to be treated by the various search engines completely differently nowadays compared to how they were initially setup to do so.

Assessing the value of a No-follow link

You might come across a great website which is high quality and relevant to the industry you are involved in, a no-follow linking policy on that website should not prevent you trying to obtain a link. You never know, if you provide enough value they may even give you a do-follow link. One example of this would be commenting on a post and suggesting a helpful resource that you have created related to the subject of that post, the website owner may see it as a useful resource for their followers and link to it elsewhere on their website.

Rather than avoiding sites with a no-follow implementation, you should be trying to find sites related to your industry and attempting then to add value. This is still likely to be a quality link as it could send visitors to your site and possibly encourage other links.

It’s much more important to find a quality Blog, Forum or other website and involve yourself in the discussion than to become pre-occupied over no-follow and do-follow links.

How No-follow is treated by the different search engines

It is not known exactly how the different search engines treat no-follow links at present. Yahoo are believed to disregard the no-follow attribute, this could also be an approach taken by the other search engines. Google have openly said that no-follow does not pass any link juice, however they may have been forced to abandon this way of thinking due to the wide misuse of the attribute.

Best Practises

If you are not sure how to deal with no-follow links in your Link Building campaign, here are some best practises:

  • The quality and relevance of the site should determine whether it is a link worthy source or not (not no-follow or do-follow attributes).
  • Always aim to provide value for other users. Link to a helpful resource on your own website if you feel it would help others.
  • Don’t create a lot of worthless anchor optimised links on various blogs, forums and social media platforms.
  • Don’t spam.

You should aim to have a spread of links (no-follow, do-follow, anchor optimised, un-optimised) pointing to your website, this looks more natural to each of the search engines.

Image Source

Stop road sign on street via BigStock

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