Ranking Higher: Why to say yes to nofollow links

Ranking Higher Why to say yes to nofollow links

Those of you operating in the world of SEO will know about follow and nofollow links. At first glance, only follow links appear to be useful when it comes to ranking higher. 

But did you know: nofollow links can actually help your content rank higher? If this comes as a surprise to you, you’ll need to read on.

Ranking Higher: Why to say yes to nofollow links Click To Tweet

In the following article, I’m going to be clearing up some common misconceptions about nofollow links and how you can leverage them to rank higher.

First of all, what’s a nofollow link?

Simply put, a nofollow link is a link that doesn’t help boost your placement in SERPs.

Nofollow gif

Here’s an example of what a nofollow link might look like:

<a href=”http://www.youramazingwebsite.com/” rel=”nofollow”>sampletext</a>

Essentially, it’s a HTML tag created to tell search engines like Google to not count the page for search ranking purposes (rendering it as spam!).

I get it, all of this makes nofollow links sound like they’re no good when it comes to SEO.

But believe me when I say nofollow links are not terrible, but in fact, just overlooked for the great purpose they serve.

Driving more web traffic with nofollow links

Just because nofollow links aren’t able to directly communicate to search engines, it doesn’t mean they can’t impact your page rankings.

Nofollow links help bring more referral traffic to your site.

Consider for a moment that you’re looking to build your page ranking with well-placed comments on blogs, forums and online Q&A websites like Quora. Doing so can provide valuable traffic to your website, regardless of whether or not it’s a follow or nofollow link.

What’s even more important, is that search engines like Google, don’t rank pages merely on the basis of follow or nofollow links.

Linked content shared via online platforms like Twitter and Reddit sends social signals to search engines—ultimately increasing your page ranking despite a nofollow link.

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This means the value of links back to your website should be evaluated based on whether it helps you establish industry authority rather than just SEO. Yes, it’s great to get follow links, but disregarding nofollow links will do you no favours when it comes to establishing a strong brand. At the end of the day, it’s a trusted brand that will convert visitors to your website.

Ranking #1 despite nofollow links

Fun fact: Wikipedia links continue to frequently rank #1 in search results despite being nofollow links. So you see, whether your links are follow or nofollow, it doesn’t impact your page ranking as much as you might think.

This also means it’s worthwhile for you to link to your website on Wikipedia where possible. In fact, Wikipedia monitors the resources and references they link to quite rigorously.

Still not convinced nofollow links can be worthwhile?

Gianluca Fiorelli of IloveSEO was conducting research on websites on Patagonia’s travel industry when he discovered the highest ranking page had a Wikipedia link:

“I dug into that link and discovered that it was to a post about the Welsh immigration in Patagonia present in that site’s blog. Is that link sending traffic to the site? Probably not at all, but it was noticed by someone in the BBC website, who finally linked to that same post citing Wikipedia. Boom, now that travel site not only has one link from Wikipedia, but it has also an important backlink from another trusted seed: the BBC.”

All this said, if you’re in a rather niche market or industry, linking back to your website on a Wikipedia page can bring great referral traffic, a bump in page authority and other follow links.

Related articles: Blog SEO Strategies: 5 SEO Tricks to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog 

Long live nofollow links. Saving us from spam helping garner attention for pages that deserve recognition.

Final thoughts

Look, I’m not here to convince you why having links back to your website is important. I trust that you already know that.

What I am here to say, is that valuable links that help your page ranking are often earned. There’s no shortcut round building a strong brand and nofollow links should not be overlooked.

Download PDF – Ranking Higher: Why to say yes to nofollow links

Remember, in order to boost your page ranking, you’ll need to build a healthy mix of both follow and nofollow links. While follow links show more immediate results, nofollow links can drive referral traffic and brand authority in the long run.


Anthony Bergs

Anthony Bergs is a project manager at Writers Per Hour. He always keeps an eye on the marketing sector to implement the best innovations in the strategies that he builds. He’s always open for new connections and partnerships.