To Follow Or Not To Follow, That Is The Question 2020

Link building for websites and SEO is becoming harder. As Google Penguin and Panda are updated and further algorithmic changes are rolled out, Webmasters are finding it harder and harder to get those ever-valuable back links to their websites.

Many websites and blogs that have been a source of back links through commenting facilities have also changed the way they publish those links. It used to be that approved blog comments were deemed as “do follow” but many now are shown as “no follow”.

You may think that that a link is a link however, that is not the case. There is a great difference between the 2 but both have values that are useful to any Webmaster and SEOs.

Do Follow Links

“Do follow” links are the back links that carry the most weight with Google. It is a visible vote from a Webmaster that they deem the website being linked to as worthy of recognition. By giving a “do follow” link the Webmaster has not only provided a clickable link to a web site but also tells Google that it can follow that link to the website and log the vote for recommendation. It is these links that so many SEOs and Webmasters crave as they dramatically help with a websites SEO and Page Ranking. It gets even better if the website linking uses keyword rich anchor text along with the “do follow link”. This helps Google not only make a note of the link but also what kinds of keywords that link in relevant for.

No Follow Links

On the converse, “no follow” links are as their name suggests. Although the link is made, which may be with keyword rich anchor text or not, the fact is “no follow” has little effect with Google. In fact it has no effect, which can be perceived as the problem with them. By being “no follow”, Google is aware of the link but ignores it as a sign of recommendation for that website.

To Follow Or not To Follow

So is there any point in spending time developing “no follow” links or are they just a waste of time?

Creating links to your website should not only be about raising your Page Rank. It is also about engaging with other web users and allowing them the opportunity to come to your website by following a link. The fact that a link is “no follow” does not mean that if someone clicks on it then they won’t taken them to your website.

Some of the most valuable SEO campaigns are launched using a variety of back links, including “no follow” links. If you are to launch a video campaign on You Tube, the link will be “no follow” but has a huge value in the amount of traffic it can generate by people clicking on it.

The cornerstone of good SEO is realising that the Internet is used by people and not just by search engines. Although “do follow” links are very important, by themselves they do not always generate clickable content. Most of the highly trafficked websites that offer the ability for back links are only for “no follow” links however, owing to the amount of visitors that these website get, that link can generate high volumes of traffic to your website.

The Debate Continues

Google is very keen on natural link building and Penguin has a keen eye on the SEO strategies employed by link builders. The Google anti spam team are very much alive to the “do follow” and “no follow” debate. There has been a lot of SEO chatter from Google and high profile SEOs that a predominantly “do follow” campaign can be deemed as an unnatural link building profile and as such can have a lesser effect that first thought. A natural link building campaign will have a blend of “do follow” and “no follow” coupled with diverse anchor text, from relevant websites.

As SEO moves on, all competent SEOs realise that those strategies that were being employed only 8 months ago are now not working as they once were. The science of search is changing and Google does not like how some SEOs and Webmasters have been manipulating rather than optimising websites and search engine results.

The key to successful SEO campaigns is diversity of links and organic growth. The days of paying a small SEO £300 for a link building campaign are far behind us, although even we still get emails offering these services.

Using “no follow” links in the right way should be an important part of any SEO campaign. What they lack in Google authority they can dramatically make up for in traffic generation and a heightened online profile. Couple this with the satellite uses of anchor text link diversity and suddenly, “no follow” becomes an important part of the SEO arsenal.

This article has been written by Richard Hartley who is a senior SEO at Big Red Rocket.

Richard is highly respected in the SEO industry and has a loyal client base both in the UK and overseas. Richard has worked with many well known brands in a variety of competitive market places and can be contacted directly through Big Red Rocket and Buy Followers UK.


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