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Making the argument for nofollow links in SEO

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30-second summary:

  • The debate still continues in the SEO community on the variation of value from backlinks.
  • Google has shifted their position on these links.
  • What do we get for our efforts?
  • Are nofollow links worth the pain?

Are nofollow links a waste of time?

SEO practitioners have for years been told that nofollow links have zero value. It has become a mantra that has been repeated to the point where it has become a vulgar term to us.

Is this a healthy approach to link building though? Should opportunities for these diminished backlinks be ignored moving forward? Here I’d like to make the case for these lowly search engine signals.

What is a dofollow and a nofollow link?

I will keep this short. There are no dofollow links. All links start out as follows by default for search engines. Google came out many years ago with a new attribute called a nofollow[1] and asked website managers to add them to links in their comments section because unscrupulous spammers were causing havoc on their algorithms. It was an easy way for these black hat SEO types to build lots of links on multiple sites.

Over time, some websites added this attribute to other parts of their content, if not their entire website to dissuade marketers from trying to get links on their websites for SEO[2] purposes only. As a result, many marketers lost a lot of interest in these sites for providing them quality content.

Google with all of its vagaries, updates their position

A little over a year ago, Google came out and told us they had updated the algorithm to consider some nofollow links as hints[3]. The extent of what that means can be

Read more from our friends at Search Engine Watch

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