Are you looking to build backlinks to your website to help in your search engine optimization efforts? Then you should be aware of what is called a nofollow backlink. A nofollow backlink is one that the Google bots don’t follow back to your website. If the Google bots don’t follow the link, you don’t get any backlink benefit for your website. In other words, the backlink doesn’t increase your rankings in the search engines.
Google primarily ranks a site based on the number and quality of backlinks. A backlink is just a link from another website linking back to YOUR website. Quality backlinks can be links from any reputable source such as the New York Times website, a top blog such as Huffington Post, or maybe a college or government website. Even smaller, less known websites can help your search engine rankings when they provide a link back to your website. In fact, one of the easiest places to get a quick link is in the comment sections of major blogs. If you read an article and decide to comment on that article, you are asked if you’d like to provide a website. If you provide your website and the comment is approved, you have placed a backlink to your site on that blog!
But before you throw a party for having a new backlink, you better be sure that it isn’t a nofollow link. There are two easy ways to check for nofollow links. One way is to look at the comment section of a blog and copy someone’s name who made a comment and left a website link. Then view the source of that webpage by right-clicking and selecting view-source. Then do a CTRL-F (search) for the name of the commenter. When you find the name of the commenter in the source code, you’ll also see the link to their website. If you see the term nofollow anywhere in that link, more specifically rel=”nofollow,” then the blog comments are nofollows. The other way to quickly check for nofollow links is to use a program such as Google Chrome’s NoFollow plug-in. This plug-in highlights all links that are nofollow as you move around the web. It’s a very quick way to see what sites are giving away Google juice and what sites are not.
For example, take a look at this site, EzineArticles. Any links in the main body of the article on EzineArticles are nofollow links. Links in the author’s box, however, are regular follow links. So the benefit to the author of writing the article is to get that backlink from a quality website such as EzineArticles. Some other examples are how Facebook’s news-feed is all nofollow links, as are any links found in the Twitter feeds. You may wonder then, why do people place links on these sites if they aren’t getting any backlink credit? The reason people place links in these nofollow areas is to drive organic traffic to a website (meaning an actual person clicking on the link as opposed to just a link for a Google bot to follow). This is also the benefit of commenting on a blog or article that you like – even if the link you provide is nofollow. Obviously, you and the readers of the blog are interested in similar subjects. If you make an interesting comment based on the article, you may impress enough people to click on your link and check out your website. The more traffic you are getting to your website, the more Google recognizes your site as a popular site, without the backlink!
So when creating backlinks, be sure to check if the link will be follow or nofollow. Because unless you are looking to drive organic traffic to your website from high traffic sites that get a lot of visibility, the nofollow backlinks will not help you.