I wrote a piece recently about understanding the difference between ‘dofollow’ and ‘nofollow’ links in terms of understanding your link profile from an SEO effectiveness standpoint after having the conversation with a client. The long and short of it being that ‘nofollow’ links have virtually no impact on your ability to improve your search engine rankings.
Whilst I stand by this, that view doesn’t cover the whole story, neither does it reflect the lengthy conversation I went on to have with said client. While in terms of SEO ranking effectiveness it is often considered that ‘nofollow’ links are essentially worthless, that doesn’t mean they don’t stand for something.
Don’t Say No to Traffic
Ok so it’s not a direct SEO ranking benefit but at the end of the day, why is it you’re putting all this effort into organic search? Because you want traffic to your site, right?
‘Nofollow’ links might not pass the good ‘ole link juice along, but as far as the user goes these are still working links that if well placed, can of course still send traffic to your site. Think of them a little like ‘micro influencers’. Ok, it’s not Kim Kardashian recommending your brand, but with any luck someone is paying attention to these little links even if it is just a social media share or a comment on a blog recommending you or one of your products. On a much smaller scale, these links still have the ability to send converting traffic your way.
They Don’t Have a Negative Affect
I’ve heard it so many times and every now and then I still see the notion crop up that having a very high ‘nofollow’ link percentage on your overall link profile is bad for your rankings or somehow looked down on my search engines. I’m going to go ahead and say outright that this is totally bogus.
Search engines are highly intelligent systems to say the least, many ‘nofollow’ links are autogenerated off the back of various platforms including your popular social media. These platforms are like free publish areas where anyone can post anything so naturally engines won’t look at these links as being prominent ranking factors and as such a ‘nofollow’ makes sense. But is it likely an engine notching up hundreds of thousands of ‘nofollow’ links to a given domain or brand is thinking negatively about this discovery? Of course not. While popularity can be negative if you’re going to be technical about it, the vast majority of reasons around a certain domain being frequently linked to regardless of where those links come from would only ever be seen as a potential positive.
Next time you hear anyone, especially an agency, getting on your back because you have too many ‘nofollow’ links on your link profile, remove a heavy leather glove from your jacket pocket, and slap them with it. Then turn and walk away.
Value Beyond Search Engines
So, ‘nofollow’ links don’t pass the liquid gold link juice in the traditional sense of SEO link building, we’ve covered this. Although they do count when calculating other scores. While page rankings systems including Alexa and various others aren’t directly used as a reference for your ranking ability, they are used as a general authority score.
These scores show the growth, popularity and traffic generating potential of a site. And in many of these calculations ‘nofollow’ links play a part in this. As such having a vast ocean of ‘nofollow’ links could actually increase your page rank across these various systems which are used to associate a backlink value etc should you be looking to sell links, editorials or even advertising space!