How many times have you been to one of those SEO websites only to find someone dread about talking about nofollow links? What are these mysterious nofollow links and why do they cause so much angst among some SEO professionals? After all, isn’t the point of generating links to your site to increase traffic to affect your website conversion rates positively?
In this article, we shed light on what the nofollow link controversy in SEO is about and why you shouldn’t worry. We’ve heard a lot of inane things passed off as advice by some SEO marketers which cause harm to a client’s website. Some people spend more time talking about SEO than putting it into practice, so we don’t believe they are to be trusted either. You’ll learn why you shouldn’t fear nofollow links to your site and instead embrace them as opportunities to build your brand further.
Good Links, White Hat Links, Bad Links, and Nofollow Links, What’s the Difference?
In SEO, there’s a lot of terminology like this that’s guaranteed to make anyone’s head spin if they’re new. However, we’re going to explain each term in the simplest way possible.
With good links and white hat links, these are the links you get without having to ask for much in return. Usually, as you’re focused on building your social media and PPC presence, people are naturally going to link to your site if they like what they saw.
This often happens when you create an excellent piece of content like on your blog. You promote the post, it gets some traffic, and it potentially gets reposted on other websites linking back to yours. This is how you can get backlinks without having to pay a fortune on guest posting or anything like that, although there’s nothing wrong with picking a few highly reputable sites in your industry and giving the guest posting option ago.
Bad links are also easy to understand. Google pays close attention to websites and businesses that associate with yours. Getting links from lots of low authority sites will accumulate and affect your ability to rank as well in search engines. Though that’s nothing compared to what would happen when the majority of your links come from low-quality spam websites.
Even if your site has a lot of good, engaging content, it will be difficult to shake off the poor reputation of those spam websites linking to yours. You have to take action and report these bad links in Google Search Console. Sometimes, your website just got caught up in a negative SEO attack where shady tactics like these are used to knock down your SEO rankings deliberately. Link schemes and link pyramids are also a guaranteed way to score some very terrible links and get penalized by Google for breaking terms of service.
So I Know What Good Links and Bad Links Are, But What Makes Nofollow Links So Disputed in the SEO Community?
Nofollow links fall under a grey area where they don’t provide extra link juice to your site. You could post a link to your site on Moz, and it would count as a nofollow link. People would see the link and still visit your website, but you’re not going to have your domain or page authority go up all of a sudden.
The debate in the SEO community is whether these nofollow links have any direct effect on search engine rankings. Here’s what Matt Cutts has to say on the topic:
“We’re not taking into account the links from Wikipedia. Don’t spam on Wikipedia because they are nofollow. Don’t bother going spamming Wikipedia. It’s not going to make a difference on your search engine rankings because that will be nofollowed.
If you have a great resource and people find it via Wikipedia and it’s just fantastic, and people link to it because of that, or you’re getting a link in terms of direct surfers or visitors, then that might benefit your site…”
What Matt is saying is that the nofollow link by itself won’t do much for your website depending on the situation. However, notice how he does mention the potential positive effect of traffic that could come from a nofollow link.
It’s possible for a nofollow link to benefit your SEO in other ways besides ranking. When people like your website and content and find your business to be a valuable resource, then they’re going to spend more time on the website. Google monitors engagement statistics such as average time spent on the website and average pages per session viewed. Add in how people often share posts and content they like and having the right nofollow links can indeed have an impact on more than just your SEO.
In other words, you shouldn’t be paranoid about which links are nofollow or not. What’s more important is that you’re getting the right target audience to see your website and its content. You’re hoping to get noticed by someone really influential in your industry. It doesn’t make much of a difference than whether the link they gave you was nofollow or not. You still benefit from the traffic that they sent your way and the increased exposure you got as a result.
Some Quick Nofollow Link Tips
There’s nothing inherently wrong with having nofollow links on your site. These links when appropriately used are just as valuable as others. Nofollow links extend to many of the most popular websites used like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Quora. Here are some quick tips to help you make the most out of using nofollow links to the best of your advantage:
1. Promote Your Content on Social Media
There’s not much of a point in creating content if you aren’t actively sharing it on your social media accounts. To give your content a gentle push, consider paying for ads on social media to reach more people. On Facebook, it’s easy to reach thousands of people with extremely low CPCs. Make full use of boosted posts to get your content known. Consider advertising your content on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to name a few.
2. Republish Your Content On Other Platforms
Some SEO marketers frown upon this practice, but we disagree. Posting your best content on other sites like Medium gives your website more potential exposure if the post gains enough traction. There are criticisms over how the post on Medium would rank higher than the one originally posted on your website, but that’s not the point. You’re trying to get exposure which will generate traffic and lead to more sales and referrals.
3. Mention Your Brand
Nothing wrong with a bit of shameless self-promotion once in a while if you know how to do it with tact. Go on some of your favorite websites in your industry and contribute to the conversation productively. Drop a link to some website content you believe would add value. Quora is one place you can try this strategy. You can have your website mentioned in a short biography of yourself in each post like here:
4. Be Comprehensive and Memorable
Got something new to say on a topic? Even if it’s a controversial stance, go for it. Publish surveys, whitepapers, ebooks, and other comprehensive material supporting your claims. Also, you can try interviewing someone relevant in your industry and posting it on your blog. Unique content is going to get the most exposure for your site.
There’s nothing wrong with getting nofollow links on your site. It all depends on what sites you’re getting them from. Instead of obsessing over what percentage of links are nofollow or dofollow, focus on maximizing exposure for your business. The traffic will come, and you’ll then have the opportunity to build brand loyalty and boost your referrals to keep the sales pipeline going.