Back to the beginning…
Link building is the process of acquiring links from other websites to your own, and is the hardest part of SEO. In a nutshell, links act as points, and Google’s metric to count these points is PageRank.
So, follow links are links that count as points, pushing SEO link juice and boosting page rank of linked to sites, helping them go higher in SERPs (search engine results pages) as a result.
Therefore a no follow link is a link that doesn’t count as a point, and doesn’t boost page rank. It is a notice sign for search engines that says ‘don’t count this’. It is no surprise then, that these links get no love.
So, why does it exist?
Well, thanks to Black Hat SEOs, link building became a great way to artificially boost page rankings, and the internet got very spammy. Blog comments and forum posts were littered with links and jibberish, and Wikipedia references got very messy.
It can be argued that the nofollow tag has actually done a lot of good in the online world, as most SEO spammers will no longer bother posting irrelevant links if they know they will be no followed.
When to use:
There is absolutely no shame in using the no follow tag… In fact, sites that accept a lot of guest content may want to consider using the tag as standard, as you could be at risk for penalties from Google.
You will also need to use the nofollow tag on any paid links, i.e. in any advertisements etc, as bought links are a big no no, and Google will punish you for them. Don’t get caught out.
Other instances where you would use the nofollow tag include blog comments, forums, and anything involving untrusted content. However, if you have a regular contributor who comments often, you may want to lift the nofollow attribute.
A side note:
Stop getting angry if people nofollow your links, a great piece of content, or a well placed blog comment/forum post can send a huge amount of referral traffic to your site!
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Search engines are not more important than humans, and you shouldn’t be thinking in terms of what is good for SEO, but instead what is good for your business, your brand, and what can help establish you as an industry authority.
How do you get followed links?
Good content, written for humans not search engines…
With thanks for the Photo by Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman