What are dofollow and nofollow links? • AdFoxly Blog
Dofollow and nofollow links

What are dofollow and nofollow links?

In search engine optimization processes, you come across dofollow and nofollow link descriptors in both, external and internal links. Since ads on websites are also used as links, you may attribute either of those descriptors to them. But what does it mean – dofollow or nofollow? How should you use those descriptors and when? And how should you assign them to an ad-related link on your website?

What Do DoFollow and NoFollow Link Descriptors Mean?

The descriptors dofollow and nofollow are used in search engine optimization processes. They are added to the <a> tag in HTML. It doesn’t sound complicated and it is not complicated. A link with a dofollow descriptor conveys, for the search engines, a vote of trust and value from the starting site to the landing site. The nofollow descriptor does the opposite – it tells the search engine crawlers to not attribute any trust or value from the starting site to the landing site.

Dofollow and nofollow settings

What Is the Value of DoFollow Links?

The dofollow link descriptor tells search engine robots to go to the links marked with it. It also conveys part of the SEO value and trust and this way helps you gain more SEO points and increase your website’s rank in SERP.

If a large number of links with a dofollow descriptor lead to your website, it affects your site’s rank. What also matters, though, is that the source page is high in the search engine ranking, meaning it has a high level of trust. If a large number of sites that direct to your website are low ranked in SERP and have a low trust level, that negative aspect may impact your site as well. As a result, your site might drop down in ranking, or, in a worst-case scenario, Google might completely remove it from the search engine results. That’s why it is important to ensure the quality of links and source sites that direct to your site.

What Do DoFollow Links Look Like?

Links to websites can be seen on two levels. The first one is the way the user sees it. It may be the name of the page, a word, subpage title (for example in the menu), or an image, like in the advertisement. The second level is what you can see in the page code.

This is how the standard link looks:

<a href=”https://adfoxly.com”>Link</a>

In it, you don’t see any additional descriptor, but Google treats it as if it had a default dofollow descriptor, therefore to Google it looks identical to this:

<a href=”https://adfoxly.com” rel=”dofollow”>Link</a>

What Is the Value of NoFollow Links?

The nofollow descriptor, as the name suggests, is the opposite of the dofollow descriptor. It tells the search engine crawlers that you do not want to convey any value or trust from your site to the landing site. It is mainly used to protect the rank of your site in the search engine results page.

When Should You Use the NoFollow Descriptor?

Nofollow links should be used at least in two situations. The first one is if you want your site to look “natural” to search engine robots. A large number of dofollow links, combined with lack of nofollow links, makes your site seem focused on acquiring external links and therefore “artificial”. Google algorithms rank such sites low in search results or, in extreme cases, may completely remove them from search results.

You may also want to use nofollow links in case of internal links (within your portal) that are not relevant for search engines, for example, a privacy policy information page or a page containing a login panel.

What Do NoFollow Links Look Like?

As said earlier, dofollow links do not require the descriptor – Google treats it as a default. It is different with nofollow links. Still, nothing changes from the user perspective, the link may still be the advert image, the title of the page or a subpage. It looks the same. What’s different is the code.

This is how the nofollow link looks:

<a href=”https://adfoxly.com” rel=”nofollow”>Link</a>


Whether you use dofollow or nofollow link descriptors matters from the search engine optimization perspective. You need to bear in mind that diversifying your links, both those leading out of your site, as well as those leading to your site, is important.You should not allow for 100% links on your website to have a dofollow descriptor. Using nofollow descriptor in some cases instead, allows search engine crawlers to consider your site as more natural, which will increase its value and level of trust and as a result – its rank in search engine results page.

illustration by Ouch.pics

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