Dofollow links are a core part of link building and something that you will eventually come across in SEO if you haven’t already.

However, just like their nofollow link counterparts, they’re something that you really need to understand if you want to build up a solid link profile.

What Is a Dofollow Backlink?

Dofollow links are links that Google (and other search engines) can use to transfer authority (aka, link equity or link juice) between your site and another. Dofollow links pass authority from one website to another without the original website losing anything.

If you have a link between two sites, dofollow backlinks pass authority between them. The new link passes this authority from the origin site to the destination site, like the link is a vote of confidence in the site it’s pointing to.

Why do Dofollow Links Matter?

In SEO, every site has a backlink profile that covers all of the links they receive. Linking with dofollow links means that the recipient gains some benefits on a search engine like Google, increasing the chance of them appearing higher in search engine results for relevant content (known as the PageRank metric).

When it comes to backlinks, website owners usually want them for the authority.

While the traffic is nice, the link equity increases the target site’s domain rating and lets them rank higher in most search engines. In simple terms, good dofollow links mean a higher PageRank.

For example, having dofollow backlinks from major websites pointing at your own site would push you higher in related search results. This higher PageRank would let you appear in search results more often for topics similar to whatever blog post is linking to you.

How do Dofollow Links Work?

Generally speaking, most websites will create dofollow links automatically when you link to another site. This means that no special tag is needed because a dofollow link is a default link in most spaces.

However, some pages may have restrictions on this. Blog comments are generally set to nofollow links by default instead, which stops users from linking other websites in the comments for a free domain rating boost.

What Are the Differences Between Nofollow Links vs Dofollow Links?

Nofollow links use a specific tag (“rel=”nofollow”) in the HTML code. This means that a nofollow link does not transfer any link juice when linked to another site. There is no impact on PageRank, no matter how on-topic the link keyword is.

Dofollow links are the exact opposite and can create link juice for whatever site they are linked to. This impacts PageRank, meaning that Google will pay attention to the link instead of skimming over it.

In general, if a link is dofollow, it will influence the target site’s authority and rankings in external links, whereas nofollow links will not influence the other website.

Both can still be used as regular links, so linking one page to another still allows users to travel between them.

How Can You Tell If a Link is Nofollow?

Checking if a link is considered dofollow or has a nofollow tag is easy. Dofollow links and nofollow links are visually identical on the page, but the HTML tag is always in the code.

There are various link tools that can check this, but you can also inspect the HTML code for the “rel=”nofollow” HTML nofollow tag.

Since most web browsers let you inspect web pages directly, you can easily look for “rel=”nofollow” on any page that links to you.

Are Dofollow Links Always Better?

In some cases, a dofollow link might actually be worse. If you have a lot of dofollow backlinks from spam content or bad user-generated content, search engine crawlers might notice the spam and penalise your search rankings.

If your site is receiving dofollow links that might be hurting your link profile, you can disavow them. However, this takes time, so compensating with better dofollow link-building can really help.

Understanding Dofollow and Nofollow Links in SEO

When linking to other websites, dofollow and nofollow links have a clear purpose, but optimizing your site for search engines requires that you use them well.

While your website will get authority if the link is dofollow, you should not be gathering up as many dofollow backlinks as possible from any pages that you can find. A natural backlink profile is important, and that means choosing backlinks carefully.

What Makes a Good Dofollow Link for Search Engines?

A dofollow link is not inherently good on its own – like any link, you need to choose the right combination of keywords and content.


A link works best when it is linking between two similar pages and/or sites. Dofollow links from pages about furniture are less effective when linked to a site about cars, meaning that the site being linked to gets fewer benefits.


A site can only give authority by linking to another if it has authority. Websites with an incredibly low rank will not offer much, and scam websites or those with no real authority may not provide anything at all. As mentioned before, too many spam links can even penalise the recipient.


The keyword or keywords within the link matter too. Using a related keyword in the linking text that ties back to the target website or page makes a huge difference, dramatically improving the backlinks overall.

Gathering Dofollow Links For SEO

Link building is an entire process in itself, focused on trying to build relationships with other sites so that you can gather useful links from paid content or other partnerships.

Link building relies on creating good linking opportunities on sites like blogs or informational websites.

Finding ways to get a link pointed to your website from another high-authority website is a core part of building a good backlink profile.

The more related links you can get from a high-quality website, the more your own website will increase in its ranking positions.

Creating Dofollow Links To Other Sites

Dofollow and nofollow also serve a purpose when placed on your own website. Just like you are link building for your own site, other websites also want to be linked to – which makes a nofollow link useful on your end of the linking system too.

In general, a nofollow link works as a way to deny another website your authority. This is good for avoiding outbound links to a website that might hurt your performance since a link to another website from your own can impact your own SEO.

Creating Backlinks

Any link you are placing that points to another website is an external backlink, and these external links are going to provide both traffic and authority as standard.

Creating nofollow backlinks for other sites means that you are not giving them authority, which is a preferred option in certain situations.

Since external backlinks do impact SEO in very subtle ways, this can be an important choice to make.

Search engines will notice if you have a lot of dofollow links pointing to strange sites or irrelevant content, so creating a nofollow backlink in its place can help you avoid this problem.

Why Does Anyone Leave Their Own Website or Blog Links as Nofollow?

Nofollow backlinks are a way to link to a site without giving it an SEO boost. A nofollow backlink is often used when a page needs to reference another page but does not want to give the site hosting that article or the blog post authority.

This could be due to PageRank competition, irrelevant content, or just not wanting to offer dofollow backlinks to sites that aren’t really benefiting them.

Should I Dofollow an External Link?

There is no reason to remove a dofollow link if it goes to a relevant website that you trust since this gives them a search engine boost while also potentially bolstering your own rankings.

However, if the other website is sketchy or potentially a scam site, then nofollow backlinks prevent you from endorsing a website that Google might identify as a risk.

Obviously, you would also probably want to make nofollow backlinks when pointing links at competitor sites. If you create content comparing one of your products to one of theirs, a nofollow backlink stops you from accidentally feeding them authority.

Dofollow Link Example

Dofollow links can be confusing, as this article might show. However, they’re actually quite simple when you boil them down to their most basic elements.

Below is an example of how a dofollow link works, what would happen if you set it to a nofollow link, and how search engines will respond.

A Good Dofollow Link

In this example, the dofollow link is on an article about furniture hosted on a blog about furniture, pointing to a page about a similar furniture topic or product.

This is perfect for PageRank benefits because Google is noticing the SEO value in the topic being related, the pages being similar, and both sites being genuine.

A Bad Dofollow Link

In this instance, the link comes from an about page on a blog about cooking, pointing at a furniture site. This has far lower SEO benefits since the topic isn’t relevant to the search keywords that the target site is ranking for. It would be better as a nofollow link because it offers no benefit in Google Search rankings.

A Good Nofollow Link

In this instance, a good example of a nofollow link would be a link pointing to a resource on an HTTP site (unsecured, unlike HTTPS) that is irrelevant and potentially not entirely legitimate. The link still exists, but search engines won’t penalise the site for creating it.

A Bad Nofollow Link

There isn’t really a “bad” nofollow link since site owners and webmasters are free to decide which links they want to keep dofollow.

However, nofollowing a very relevant and genuine site that isn’t in direct competition with you basically cuts off another source of link juice for them, which could have been an excuse to build links with them in the other direction.