Do follow vs. No follow Backlinks (Difference & Comparision)

Those new to SEO might wonder what all the commotion is about do follow links vs. no follow links. Confused? Don’t worry; we are going to clear it all up.

One of the first things you need to learn about link-building is to differentiate between do follow and no follow links. While these two might seem like two identical elements, they can’t be more different in terms of the value they provide. Specifically, a high-quality do follow link can completely change the outlook of your site, which can’t be said for no follow links.

This blog will examine the difference between do follow and no follow backlinks, how they impact your overall SEO efforts, and much more. Keep reading to learn more!

seo training

What is do follow Link?

do follow links let Google and other search engines point back to your website or blog. So, every time you insert a do follow link on your website, it can point back to you, strengthening your authority by showing search engines what other websites, posts, and blogs are linking to you.

Here’s what a do follow link appears to be:

<a href=””>anchor text here</a>

Search engines follow every website link unless you add a rel=”no follow” tag. For instance, if you link to another site in your content, that link is a do follow link by default. A search engine considers your link a vote of confidence for the website you are linking to. 

Further, if a website links to your site by default, it signals to search engines that your website is a valuable resource. So, strive to build do follow backlinks. To know more about backlinks, read our blog on What are Backlinks in SEO? 

Some strategies include:

  • Publish valuable content that is helpful for your audience.
  • Develop a useful tool and give it for free so that other publications will link to it in their content.
  • Guest posts on websites that offer do follow links.

However, not all do follow links carry equal weight. Search engines evaluate various factors when determining a do follow link’s value, including:

  • Source Authority: Links from high-authority, reputable sites carry more weight than low-quality or spammy sources.
  • Relevance: Links from sites in the same or related industries are generally more valuable than unrelated sources. 
  • Anchor Text: The visible, clickable link text can provide context and relevance signals.
  • Link Placement: Links in the main content area are typically more valuable than those in the sidebar, footer, or less prominent placements.

Upskill Yourself With Live Training (Book Free Class)

Digital Marketing CourseSEO Course
Performance Marketing CourseGoogle Ads Course

Common Scenarios to Use do follow Links

1. Linking to High-Quality, Relevant Content

Use do follow links when linking to valuable, trustworthy, and relevant third-party content for your readers. This signals to search engines you endorse and vouch for the quality of the linked material. Unveil the secrets of SEO by enrolling in an online SEO course.

2. Internal Links

Links between pages on your own website should always be do follow. This aids search engines in understanding your site’s structure and hierarchy while passing link equity.

3. Authoritative Sources

When citing or referencing reputable, authoritative sources like government websites or respected publications, use do follow links to reinforce the credibility of your content. 

4. Business Partners or Affiliates

For trusted business partners or affiliates where you are not directly compensated for the link, do follow is generally acceptable if the linked content is relevant and high-quality.

5. Natural Editorial Links

High-quality, naturally earned editorial links from other sites, representing a genuine endorsement based on your content’s merits, should be do follow.

Also Read: What is On-Page SEO? Techniques, Factors, Elements

Benefits of do follow Links for SEO

Here are the benefits of do follow links for SEO:

  • Increased Link Equity and Authority: Quality do follow links from authoritative, relevant sites pass significant link equity, boosting perceived authority in search engines’ eyes.
  • Better Search Rankings: Accumulating valuable do follow links helps improve rankings for relevant keywords in SEO and queries.
  • Improved Crawlability and Indexation: do follow links aid search crawlers in discovering new pages, leading to better content indexation and exposure.
  • Referral Traffic: do follow links can drive targeted referral traffic from reputable sources, increasing visibility and potential conversions.

How do follow Link Work?

There’s no such thing as do follow link. To make a link do follow, there’s no need to do anything extra, nor does it require any unique attribute. Do follow links are default links found anywhere on a website. For example, if a link is available on your webpage linking to another web page on the same website, it’s a sheer example of a do follow link.

Likewise, a link on a source website informs search engines to share the source site’s authority with the destination website. Do-follow links work as a vote of confidence for a website. They assure that you recommend a site you point to, which increases website rank.

What is no follow Link?

You can insert no follow links and not have them pointing back to you. Linking to another site establishes a relationship with the website you are pointing to. However, sometimes, you want to link to a resource and not build that relationship. Adding a rel=”no follow” attribute to a link serves that relationship. 

Here’s what a no follow link looks like:

<a href="" rel="no follow">anchor text here</a>

These links do not boost PageRank or help with better placement on SERP (search engine result page). Therefore, a no follow link from your website to another or vice versa do not pass link equity to the website it’s pointing to. Hence, search engines won’t follow that link as they crawl the website and won’t assign any value to that link.

Impact of no follow Links on SEO

The impact that no follow links have on SEO are:

  • Drives relevant traffic to your website. This is possible when people decide to follow the link.
  • Results in residual do follow links from other publications that identify that link and wish to link to it as a do follow link.
  • Help boost brand awareness.
  • Useful in building a natural link portfolio.

As you can see, no follow links aren’t totally worthless. They positively impact your SEO, although it’s mostly indirect. 

Interview Questions for You to Prepare for Jobs

Digital Marketing Interview QuestionsSEO Interview Questions
Email Marketing Interview QuestionsContent Writing Interview Questions

Common Scenarios to Use no follow Links

1. Sponsored or Paid Links

If you receive compensation for including a link on your site, mark it as no follow. This adheres to Google’s guidelines and prevents potential penalties for manipulative link schemes.

2. User-Generated Content

Use no follow and ugc attributes for links in comments, forums, and other user-generated areas. This helps deter spammers from gaming the system to boost rankings.

3. Untrusted or Low-Quality Sources

If linking to an untrustworthy or low-quality website, use no follow to signal you don’t necessarily endorse or vouch for that site.

4. Login/Registration Pages

It’s best practice to no follow links to login, registration, or account areas, as these typically lack valuable content for search crawlers.

5. Affiliate or Partnership Links

For affiliate or partner links where you earn referral commissions, use no follow and sponsored attributes to comply with search engine guidelines regarding paid links.

Also Read: Meta Title and Meta Description Length Guidelines 2024

Benefits of no follow Links

Here are the benefits of no follow links for SEO:

  • Increased Brand Awareness and Exposure: While no follow links don’t directly impact rankings, they can increase brand visibility and drive referral traffic.
  • Potential do follow Link Acquisition: Participating in communities and platforms that allow no follow links can establish relationships leading to future do follow opportunities.
  • Compliance with Guidelines: Using no follow for sponsored content, user-generated comments, and untrusted sources demonstrates adherence to search engine guidelines, avoiding potential penalties.
  • Crawl Budget Optimization: Using no follow for low-value or irrelevant pages helps search engines prioritize crawling your most important content.
  • Advertising Disclosures: no follow links disclose sponsored or paid links, promoting transparency and trust.

3 Major Differences Between do follow and no follow Links

Here’s how these two types of backlinks differ between each other:

1. SEO Value

no follow and do follow links differ in terms of their SEO value. While do follows benefit your website, only a few no follows are useful for your brand. A do follow link will pass link juice from another website to yours, thus improving its authority and reputation in search engines. 

However, that doesn’t mean a no follow backlink is entirely useless. You still get direct traffic from other websites, which can sometimes be immense when featured on a large platform. That way, you can grow awareness and potentially score additional indirect links. 

2. Indexing

One of the major functions of SERPs, Google crawlers crawl all over your website, looking for valuable content. They rely heavily on sitemaps and your architecture to get from one page to another. Among others, they also use links to reach specific content.

Google bots use do follow backlinks to discover new pages on your website. These links help with link equity on the internet, significantly improving visibility and hastening the indexability of platforms that accrue many links. On the other hand, a no follow link doesn’t provide that value, as bots will not follow it. Read our blog on Top 7 Free Backlink Checker Tools in 2024, and learn more about the various available tools.

3. Spam Prevention

The no follow attribute is crucial for preventing comment spam and other SEO tactics for gaining links. These hyperlinks are commonly used for forum posts and social media sharing that would allow marketers to accrue lots of high-quality do follow links with minimal effort.

As these platforms automatically put a no follow tag on each link on their site, there’s no way to manipulate these platforms to boost your website. In other words, you won’t gain significant marketing benefits from user-generated content besides direct traffic and brand awareness.

online seo course

Do follow vs. No follow Links: Which is the Best for External Links?

You are probably wondering which you should use for your external links. Don’t worry. We have you covered. 

Use no follow Link:

  • You don’t want to endorse a website
  • Place a sponsored link on your website
  • Add affiliate links to your website
  • Visitors are allowed to insert links on your website via UGC
  • You want to protect yourself from Google’s penalties

Use do follow Link:

Now that you know when to use no follow links for external links, you’re probably wondering when to use the do follow attribute to a link. Use the do follow attribute when:

  • Linking to an authoritative website
  • Endorsing a valuable resource for your users

Use the do follow tag signals to search engines that you endorse the website you are pointing to; for example, if the site is dubious, search engines will connect you with that dodgy website. So be cautious when linking out to other websites in your content. Use only the do follow attribute when you are sure the website is reputable. Aiming to build a reputable website and drive more organic traffic, join an SEO course taught by industry experts.

Also Read: How to Become an SEO Expert in 2024?

Do Follow vs No Follow Backlinks (Video)

FAQs on do follow vs. no follow Links

1. What is the difference between do follow and no follow links?

Backlinks fall into two major categories: do follow and no follow. do follow links pass link juice and help your website’s SEO. Conversely, no follow links do not pass any link juice and don’t affect your website’s SEO. Usually, no follow backlinks are used for links the website owner does not want to endorse.

2. What is the ratio of do follow and no follow links?

A good thumb rule is to aim for 60% do follow and 40% no follow links. Remember that both links are necessary for the long-term success of your website. This is because many high-authority websites offer only nofollow links, which still brings tremendous benefits regarding SEO and web traffic.

3. Why use no follow links?

no follow links can link to poor-quality websites or those that search engines consider spammy. If you are writing a blog and wish to cite your source, but the source is on a low-quality website, you might use no follow links to prevent your website from passing authority to another.

4. Is do follow good for backlinks?

A strong backlink profile must have a mix of do follow and no follow links. It’s best to acquire high-quality, relevant do follow links. But no follow links can also drive traffic and increase brand awareness. 

5. What are the benefits of having a mix of no follow and do follow backlinks?

Several benefits come with having a mix of no follow and do follow backlinks:
– Increase your rankings and visibility
– Create a natural link profile, improving your website’s credibility
– A mix of do follow and no follow links creates a multiple-link folio, mitigating several risks.

Free Courses for You

Course NameCourse Name
Google Tag Manager CourseAffiliate Marketing Course
Semrush CourseVideo Editing Course
Blogging CourseEmail Marketing Course
Shopify CoursePhotoshop Course


In conclusion, backlinks are a key element of SEO and should be integrated into your online marketing strategy. While do follow backlinks help improve your website’s authority and relevance, no follow backlinks can be useful for traffic and diversifying your link profile. However, it’s important to focus on quality rather than quantity of links and work with relevant and reliable websites to maximize the benefits.

Read more blogs:


  • Puja Sutar

    Puja Sutar is a proficient Content Writer at WsCube Tech. She holds B.Tech. in Electronics & Communication, and M.Tech. in VLSI Design. Her passion for technology and communication is evident in her insightful articles that simplify complex concepts for readers. Puja's writing is a valuable resource for tech enthusiasts and learners alike.