What’s the Difference Between Dofollow and Nofollow Backlinks

Explaining what Dofollow and nofollow backlinks are.

Dofollow and Nofollow backlinks are often searched when it comes to Search Engine Optimization.

Many people provide answers for it…

But have you ever silently asked yourself, “In English please?”

Well, then this is the right article for you to learn everything about Dofollow and Nofollow backlinks without being confused. 

Dofollow and Nofollow Backlinks – For Beginners

Every website’s goal is to rank 1st on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

So, these pages are going through a page rank process. PageRank A.K.A. PR is a Google algorithm to find the relevance of the websites. 

Google has more than 200 ranking factors that are used in their algorithm. 

This is where links step in… 

Google uses links as one of their fundamental ranking factors. 

“Simply, a Nofollow link won’t be able to make an impact on search engine rankings whereas a Dofollow link is capable of doing just that.”

Anyone can check whether it is a Dofollow or a Nofollow link by going to “View page source” in their browser and look into the HTML code. Typically you can “right click” on your mouse and find this option on ANY page.

If there is a rel=”nofollow” attribute then it’s a Nofollow link, if not it’s a Dofollow.

Moreover, these Nofollows aren’t passed through Google’s PageRank algorithm.

So, when Google does this, you won’t be able to improve your link juice.

Where as Dofollow links allow search engine bots to follow the links. The more Dofollow links you have, the more link juice you get.

Code For Dofollow and Nofollow Backlinks 

The HTML code for the Dofollow and Nofollow is only different by a (rel=”nofollow” ) attribute which is included in the Nofollow backlinks. 

Let’s see the code difference in Dofollow and Nofollow backlinks. 

A followed link has the HTML code as the following: 

<a href=”https://ahrefs.com”>blue text</a>

Nofollowed link has the HTML code as the following: 

<a href=”https://ahrefs.com” rel=”nofollow”>blue text</a>

You can see it is the same code except the NoFollow link has rel=”nofollow”attribute added to it.

What is the purpose of a Nofollow? 

You might be thinking, why on earth would there be such a thing as a Nofollow backlink.

Well, Google doesn’t do anything without a purpose. If you are constantly engaged with blogs, you might have seen people leaving comments mentioning their own website links. 

Their intention is to improve their own search engine rankings by filling a comment section with many unnecessary links. This is called comment spam which is excruciating for both the bloggers and visitors. 

The most annoying outcome of this was, these spam sites went really high up in Google search results, ignoring the websites with high quality content. 

This is the reason why Google had invented the Nofollow tag in 2005.

After this, search engines such as Yahoo and Bing also supported the Nofollow tag. 

Famous sites including YouTube, Quora, Wikipedia, Reddit etc. use the Nofollow tag. Also, any paid link, such as press releases, should be nofollowed. 

So, Nofollow tag is basically a shield to block spammers and making it useless to post such comments, because they won’t get any SEO benefit. 

Are Nofollow Backlinks Useless? 

Although, Google says that they do not follow Nofollow backlinks, Studies say otherwise. 

According to a Ahrefs’s analysis of 51 global Google search results, Dofollow and Nofollow backlinks both have contributed equally for ranking high on Google. 

Despite the popular belief, Nofollow links help with your SEO rankings. These do increase your traffic significantly and convert Nofollow links into Dofollows if they’re from a popular site. 

Nofollow links make your website look more natural in front of Google’s eyes, which avoids the potential Google penalty. 

Do I need to analyze my website’s backlink activity?

The short answer is YES.

When your website has a healthy amount of Dofollow and Nofollow links it becomes organic and looks more natural.

This is generally called link diversity and during arefs’ study they found that as long as you have at least 10% Nofollow vs Dofollows, that your site is safe from a Google penalties.

Therefore, checking the quality of your backlinks is a must. 

What links should you have as “Nofollow”?

Any spam or paid links, such as affiliates should always be Nofollow links.

Below is a great infographic explaining all you need to know about backlinks.

no follow vs do follow backlinks

What Are The Best Backlink Analysis Tools?

There are many Backlink Analysis Tools you can use for tracking your link profile. 

Ahrefs, Linkody, cognitiveSEO, Diib.com, SEMrush, Kerboo and LinkResearchTools are among the best companies with Backlink Analysis Tools. You can try out one of these for your website. 

Among the aforementioned tools, for instance, Ahrefs gives a detailed analysis on backlinks, Competitive Analysis, Keyword Research, Content Research, Rank Tracking and Web Monitoring. 

It is well known for its freshness and amazing usability. The data it generates will be insanely accurate. Furthermore, they are so eager to add new tools and features according to their customers’ needs. You can get their 7 day trial for $7 to have full access to these tools. 

If you’re a beginner with SEO or have never done anything regarding on-page or off-page SEO then you’ll want to grow your website with Diib.com.

Dibb helps you with a growth plan, website monitoring, weekly snapshot email, comparison on your website’s performance to your competitors, SEO & keywords and much more. The tool is known to be very clear and understandable. Their slogan is completely true:

“We turn complex data into simple answers that help you grow”

You can get a free subscription to this tool and have limited access if you wish to try it out before purchasing or only pay $29 a month for full access.

The best part is, Diib provide tips, tools, and tutorials inside a massive library with over 1000 videos. You can view Dibb’s online reputation on our platform.

A more useful tool if you you’re beyond a beginner at SEO is SEMrush.

You can check what your competitors are up to, have an organic research, full advertising research, analyze competitors’ display ads, have a thorough backlink analysis, keyword research, traffic analytics, find new markets and niches according to your goal, have a complete CPC report, use their backlink audit tool and much more. 

Now, the tools on SEMrush are advanced and they do not provide consulting, so that’s why it’s wise for SEO beginners to start understanding the goal of SEO and how to build a foundation of relevance on your site prior to using SEMrush. With the beginner plan starting at $99, you want to make sure you know what you’re doing.

You can view SEMrush’s online reputation on our site as well.

Interested in learning more on the best backlink checkers? Check out Matthew Woodward’s million domain test case study.

A Quick note on Google’s Disavow Tool

When search engines are crawling your website, you can signal them to ignore bad links. This is called disavowing. You get bad backlinks from spam sites, spam comments, low domain sites or irrelevant target countries.

These bad backlinks cause your website to decrease domain authority, page authority , page visibility and SEO ranking. 

Disavow is an advanced tool which you should use with extreme caution. Using it on a hunch is wrong and can largely harm your website’s ranking.

This should be your last resort, so you should try to get the bad backlinks removed by emailing the respective website. 

You can find all the backlinks pointing at your website through Google Search Console.

There you can download the backlinks and choose the bad ones to eliminate. 

You can use SEMrush Backlink Audit tool to sift good backlinks from bad backlinks. 

The audit will show you the toxic links separately which you can later send through the Disavow Tool to make sure they are not assessed by Google. This way you can protect your website. 


By now you might have a pretty good idea that Nofollow backlinks are crucial for your website’s natural link building process and to get ranked higher on search engine results. 

You should always be cautious when you handle backlinks while keeping the Google policies in mind. 

Use a Backlink Analysis Tool and be armed with everything you need to make your website to grow and outshine your competitors. 

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