If you want to use an effective tactic to increase your ranking and build up your rankings in Google, you need to have backlinks of external websites that link to your site. These backlinks will benefit you by increasing your website’s authority and signaling to Google that other websites are seeing your page and that it contains content relevant to specific queries.
Google constantly shifts rankings for any specific query as the algorithm for rankings keeps on getting updated. But if there is one thing that is sure in SEO circles, it is that backlinks play the lion’s share for determining which pages rank at the top. One thing that is much less clear though, is if no-follow links count or not.
As most people know, followed links i.e. do-follow links are links that are accounted for to increase your SEO “link juice”. This means having do-follow backlinks will help boost your page rank and aid your site in going higher in search engine result pages (SERPs).
On the other hand, links that are marked as no-follow are supposed to be discounted by Google’s algorithms. The common belief is that they should not add power to your website’s “link juice”. This means they will not help increase page rank or your page’s placement in the search engine results.
But just because a link does not impact your rankings for specific search queries in Google directly, it does not mean that it does not count as a point in your favor.
Today, no-follow links are not frowned upon by Google. They may have a ton of authority and relevance and can ultimately lead to higher sales for your business. This is after all the main goal of SEO.
With that in mind, below are reasons why no-follow links are valuable and can greatly benefit your website.
They Diversify Your Backlink Profile
Your backlinks should be diversified to decrease your chance of getting penalized. It is ultimately up to you how you prefer to allocate your ratio of do-follow and no-follow links. It is generally safe to have a 80-20 split – 80 percent do-follow and 20 percent no-follow.
If you have too many do-follow links and few no-follow links, chances are you are setting your backlink profile and your site to disaster. Even if a website has high authority content, this signals Google that this website is nothing more than doping and instead of providing authoritative and relevant information that you are only trying to bolster your rankings for monetary gains. In the end your website’s ranking could be penalized. This is the main reason why acquiring diversified backlinks is essential.
They Make Your Site Look More Natural
Having a good balance of both no-follow and do-follow backlinks make your site link profile look natural. Natural is a buzz word in SEO meaning how legitimate business websites should look like without too much SEO effort. If a site has mostly do-follow links unlike a regular site which would not pay attention to that aspect, then if tells google that an SEO effort was deployed. And this is not something google likes to see.
They Can Provide Organic Growth and Referrals
Do-follow and no-follow links are not just the only factors in determining how Google ranks different websites. There are over 200 identified factors and with Google’s changing policies, we can expect that there will be more soon.
A no-follow link that has been well-placed on an authority website with good traffic will garner potential referral traffic. This means it will help create more leads for your website. A good example of that is a link from Wikipedia and other similar reference sites like news sites, which provide no-follow links.
While many SEO believe these links will not influence your rankings with Google, they can however be used by many people as a point of reference. For instance, when a certain blog or forum mentions your site with a no-follow link, it does not mean that the word of mouth or the referral value used on these specific blog and forum is useless.
There will still be more people who will come back to that reference, click the link to your website and help bring more traffic regardless of the source.
Experience The Domino Effect of Backlinks
When you are looking for places or sources to get links from, you are not just limited to Google alone. It has been shown that social media sources including news aggregators StumbleUpon or Reddit are increasingly used as information resources.
According to a recent study from UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, more writers are turning to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter as their digital information get-goes. One good example of social search engine highly utilized today is Pinterest.
These social platforms provide no-follow links, and it would be a bad idea to discard this type of links, as a large portion of links and clicks come from social media nowadays. Here again avoiding such no-follow links would send a bad signal to google.
No-follow links have a great importance when it comes to tactical, white-hat SEO practice. Often times when a link is shared in one site, it will often appear in other places too. If you are reading a page with a mentioned link regardless of the source, you are likely to click it and go down the rabbit hole of the connecting links. This is how your link becomes connected to other contents from previous searches and how you may acquire more links if your content is informative to the reader.
Recent Research Shows No-follow Backlinks Count
A recent piece of research which came out in the past few days put the final nail in the coffin of the SEO experts who still believe that no-follow links do not count toward rankings. This article made a thorough analysis of a large data set of local rankings and found that no-follow links seem to influence which sites rank on page 1.
If you want to take the safe route, add various types of no-follow links to your link profile. As shown above, this should have many benefits, including increasing the credibility of your site in Google’s eyes and boosting your rankings.