Nofollow Links: Good or Bad for SEO?

Image from SXC.hu

This weeks question is “are nofollow links any good for SEO?” Another great question which has been a hot topic in the search industry.

So what is nofollow…

Wikipedia gives this great explanation:

“nofollow is a value that can be assigned to the rel attribute of an HTML a element to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index. It is intended to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, thereby improving the quality of search engine results and preventing spamdexing from occurring.”

How to a add nofollow to a link…

Typically a link would look like this in HTML:

<a href=”http://www.davecain.co.uk”>Dave Cain</a>

The HTML above would produce the following:

Dave Cain

To add the nofollow element to the above link, you would do the following:

<a href=”http://www.davecain.co.uk” rel=”nofollow”>Dave Cain</a>

So does it affect rankings…

The short answer is yes.

I tested the theory when I launched www.davecain.co.uk. After two days of launching the website I started gaining nofollow links to the domain name. After a week of achieving these links (20 nofollow links from trusted domains) I was positioned at the bottom of page one for a fairly competitive term.

My view on nofollow links…

My view on nofollow links is very simple. I like to grade links out of ten, so as an example a dofollow link is worth 10/10 and a nofollow link is worth 5/10. But these figures can change based on the following:

  • Website authority
  • Website trust
  • Website age
  • Page relevance
  • On-page link position

So as an explanation to the above, if you achieved a nofollow link from an authoritative website which is highly trusted by Google, this actually may be worth 7/10. Compare this to a dofollow link from a web directory that has no trust or authority, may only be worth 2/10. So as you can see there are other factors apart from dofollow and nofollow.

Should I target nofollow links…

Absolutely! One of the most important factors with link building is to make your activity look natural. Gaining just dofollow links from similar sources will start to look spammy and unnatural – so grab every link opportunity, dofollow or nofollow, with both hands.

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