DoFollow Or NoFollow? That Is The Question

DoFollow or NoFollow
Image courtesy of Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever thought about how search engines crawl your blog or website? Probably not, me neither. What are DoFollow or Nofollow links?

It wasn’t something I’d thought about until recently and then I started looking into it.

I’m sure you know that search engines have bots that crawl your site but did you know there’s a quota for how much they will search your links?

So it would make sense to make sure they definitely crawl the most important pages on your blog, wouldn’t it?

You don’t want to be leaking link juice all over the place after all.

My blog uses CommentLuv Premium and if you leave a comment on any of my posts (assuming you have at least 3 approved comments) you’ll be able to add a link back to your blog.

By default, any links in the comments on WordPress are set up as NoFollow but because I want to encourage more comments and conversation, I have my CommentLuv links set up as DoFollow.

What’s this DoFollow and NoFollow all about then?

To combat spam comments and links, Google set up the NoFollow tag (rel=”nofollow”).

It’s designed to prevent Google bots from crawling any links spammers have added to their comments.

Here’s an example of how to set up a NoFollow link:

<a href=”http://tim-bonner.com/” rel=”nofollow”>My Blog</a>

Any link which doesn’t have the NoFollow tag added to it is a DoFollow link. There isn’t a corresponding DoFollow tag.

Whilst DoFollow links are acknowledged and crawled by search engines, NoFollow links generally aren’t.

With my blog having CommentLuv, allowing DoFollow links can have its advantages and disadvantages. It’s a question of whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Advantages of DoFollow

  • The idea behind having CommentLuv on your blog with DoFollow links is to encourage comments and to give visitors the opportunity to generate backlinks to their blogs.
  • DoFollow blogs tend to attract visitors to my blog out of curiosity, which gives you a boost in traffic.
  • CommentLuv encourages people to share my posts on social networks to be able to receive the DoFollow link.

Disadvantages of DoFollow

  • Spammers love DoFollow links and I’m getting more and more of them trying to add a link and I’m spending more time moderating comments.
  • With all the DoFollow links going elsewhere, it could be diluting the authority of my blog.

So what does Google have to say about DoFollow comments? Here’s a short video from Matt Cutts which gives some insight into this.

For me, there’s a few things to consider but I’m keen to keep my blog DoFollow as I think the benefits of increased visitors and more interaction outweigh the negatives.

The amount of spam comments I am receiving has increased over the past few months but with the way I have WordPress set up I can intercept them.

I always require the first comment to be approved before it will appear on my blog. That way, I can moderate things without too much hassle for me or the commenter. After that, any further comments are automatically approved.

It isn’t fool proof but it weeds a lot of the comment spammers out, along with Akismet and GASP (also part of CommentLuv Premium).

When is it essential to use NoFollow links?

Google gives some advice on how and when to use NoFollow links on Webmaster Tools, which includes another video from Matt Cutts on the subject.

In particular, Google give specific examples where NoFollow links might be used.

  • Untrusted content: If you don’t trust a particular link in a comment or just don’t want Google to follow the link;
  • Paid Links: If you have affiliate links on your site, Google urge you to make them NoFollow;
  • Crawl Prioritization: If you still have the login link to WordPress on your blog, make this NoFollow and consider removing altogether as this is a security risk.

Amendment – 20 March 2013: I looked into this further following a comment from my friend, Thedore, and WordPress automatically make the Admin and Login links NoFollow if you use the Meta widget. All of the other links on the widget are still DoFollow though (RSS entries and the link to WordPress.org).

To allow Google to crawl other more interesting links on your page, I would also suggest making any links to social media sites NoFollow and if you’re able to, any links to subscribe to your newsletter or email list.

So, over the past few days, I’ve spent my time:

  • Auditing all the comments on my blog and removing links to untrusted content;
  • Making the affiliate links on my blog NoFollow;
  • All links to social media sites are now also NoFollow.

Now, over to you… Is your blog a DoFollow or a NoFollow blog? Can you think of any other advantages or disadvantages of using DoFollow links? Do you make your affiliate links and social media links NoFollow? What other ways do you control how Google bots crawl your site?

I’m really interested to know your thoughts on this and I’d love it if you would leave a comment below to let me know.

P.S. Please share this post with all of your friends if you’re feeling social Smile!

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90 Comments on "DoFollow Or NoFollow? That Is The Question"


Vineet Saxena
1 year 5 months ago

Hi Tim,
I can see why this post of yours has loads and loads of comments. What I had read was that there is nothing like nofollow. It was like no dofollow. The dofollow links add pagerank juice to your blog while nofollow links do not add to the link juice. Anyhow, we must be really careful with assigning dofollow to the links from our blog.
Thanks.
Regards,
Vineet

1 year 5 months ago

Hi Vineet

Thank you for your comments.

I tend to leave most of the links in my posts as DoFollow because Google is also interested in the reader experience.

If you NoFollow all of your links, then you’re not necessarily providing that.

Some may consider that as giving away free link juice, however I don’t because I think Google are also suspicious of too many NoFollow links.

The main links I use NoFollow on are:

– Social Media Accounts;
– Affiliate Links
– Links which I don’t necessarily trust.

All others I leave as DoFollow.

Tim

Mel
1 year 7 months ago

Thank you for this very helpful article. I made my blog DoFollow for the same reasons as you, and I’ve had a ton of spammers. I allowed it at first, but after reading this I am going back in and marking them all as spam. Very helpful. Thanks.

Mel

1 year 7 months ago

Hi Mel

My pleasure. DoFollow does tend to bring out the spammers and backlink hunters.

I always moderate the first comment for anyone leaving a comment and if I still wonder about them, I add them to the requires moderation section.

Great to see you and thank you for your comments.

Tim

Craig McBreen
1 year 7 months ago

Hi Tim,

Funny, Adrienne’s post today triggered something in the back of my noggin and I had remembered you’d written (and commented) about this a time or two.

Anyway glad I found this after a quick search. Very informative! Something that used to be on the periphery for me is now front and center!

Damn spammers making us do more work ;) Bugger!

Hope things are well.

1 year 7 months ago

Hi Craig

Great minds think alike, eh? The same title as well!

I’m pleased you found it informative and had remembered I’d written about it :-).

I thought about making my site completely NoFollow other than internal links but I think that could also be detrimental SEO-wise.

Linking out to relevant sites seems to be something that Google are looking out for as a good visitor experience.

It’s a shame that comment spammers have to spoil our fun, isn’t it?

Great to see you Craig. I’m very well thank you and will be stopping by your blog very soon.

Commenting is getting the better of me these days, so I apologise in advance that I’ve not stopped by sooner.

I hope you’re well too.

Craig McBreen
1 year 7 months ago

No need to apologize, I’ve been in the same boat … just starting to get back up to speed with commenting ;)

1 year 7 months ago

Thanks Craig and glad to hear you’re getting back into commenting too! :-)

Susan Velez
1 year 9 months ago

Great article, I just got the comment Luv Premium plugin in hopes of driving traffic to my site and building an online presence and relationship with my readers. I am still really new with all this. However, I decided to make the comments on my site dofollow. I have put all my heart in SEO once and it did not help doing everything that the search engines wanted, I still lost a lot of my rankings on the last update.

With my new blog, I am working more on building a relationship with my readers. Yes good rankings will help, but if you build a following and have a great relationship with your readers, I see that as a good thing, even if Google does something you really don’t like.

Your post really helped me out with the settings on my plugin. Great advice.

1 year 9 months ago

Hi Susan

Welcome to my blog and thank you for your comments.

I try not to rely on Google so much these days with all of the updates causing mayhem a lot of them time!

CommentLuv certainly helps to generate interest in people commenting on your blog and to build relationships.

I’ve found blog commenting a lot of help with direct traffic too.

Have you tried Triberr to generate traffic via Twitter?

That helped to increase my traffic from social media.

Glad that my post helped you out Susan.

Have a relaxing Sunday and I hope you’ll stop by again soon.

Tim

prabhat
2 years 5 days ago

great article tim
yes giving dofollow links will attract more visitors as well as spammers but it will surely bring more comments to your blog. but actually i have a question here. does giving DOfollow links to others passes your PR means will your PR decrease if you give DoFollow links to others

2 years 4 days ago

Thanks Prabhat

That was a slight concern of mine about PR being diluted by having DoFollow links.

I’m sure it does a little but I’m not so bothered really because I’m trying to create a community of like-minded people.

If Google likes it then great and if they don’t, fair enough, I can live with that.

From what I’ve read, since the last few Google updates, it’s more about the content and social media shares in any case.

I rely less and less on SEO to achieve anything with Google.