What are Nofollow Backlinks?

If you’re a content marketer or writer, then securing backlinks is part of your SEO strategy. You might have heard the term “nofollow link” but aren’t sure exactly what these links are.
A nofollow link contains an HTML tag that tells search engines like Google to ignore the link. The actual tag looks like this: rel=”nofollow.” In most cases, nofollow links do not influence a page’s search engine’s rank.

Let’s take a deeper look at the difference between nofollow and dofollow links, and what this means for your online content.

The Differences Between Nofollow and Dofollow Links Explained

You and other visitors to a page can’t distinguish between nofollow and dofollow links. On a landing page, those hyperlinks look identical. But if you were to look at the HTML codes behind the scenes, you’d see the nofollow tag on the nofollow links.

Dofollow links do not have an HTML relay code after them. Clicking on either type of link will take you to the linked content or page. The main difference lies in what each link does to your page’s search engine optimization or SEO. Dofollow links give your SEO rank a boost, while nofollow links usually don’t.

Search Engine Rankings and Backlinks

Content and pages that have more backlinks tend to have higher search engine rankings. While backlinks are only one thing search engines use, pages without any backlinks usually rank lower. That being said, search engines’ algorithms don’t include nofollow links. So if you’ve got nofollow backlinks to your page, these won’t necessarily get you to the top of a search engine’s results. Most content marketers and companies build authority by capturing dofollow high-quality backlinks instead.

However, that doesn’t always mean nofollow links aren’t helping you out in other ways. There are exceptions to search engines’ algorithm “rules.” Even though Google says it doesn’t follow or include these links, some experiments have proved otherwise.

How to Determine Whether a Link is a Nofollow or Dofollow

While the naked eye can’t tell the difference between a nofollow or dofollow link, you can right click on links. Then, choose “view source” to see the HTML coding. Within the code, you’ll see the “rel=nofollow” string if the link is of the nofollow variety.

If you don’t see this string in the coding, you’re looking at a dofollow link back to your site or online content. For those who don’t want to sort through HTML, there are Chrome extensions like Strike Out Nofollow Links.

Once you install the extension and relaunch your browser, you’ll see nofollow links struck out on the page. It’s a visual cue you can use to scan a page’s links and instantly determine what type they are.


Both nofollow and dofollow backlinks exist in the world wide web of online content. To build authority and increase your page’s rank, dofollow links will give you more of a boost. Nofollow links contain an HTML code that tells search engines not to follow or include the backlink in their algorithms.

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