Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Link Building
Many site owners want to know the difference between follow and no-follow links. Both kinds of links are seen and noted by the search engines, but the big difference is that a no-follow link doesn’t pass on any SEO value from one site to another.
No-follow links help ensure that spammers don’t take advantage of a popular site’s trust factor and run away with it. Since a no-follow link doesn’t pass any link juice from one site to another, it should (in theory) stop spammers from flooding a blog or site with link requests just so they can bump up their own site’s rank in the SERPs. Obviously it hasn’t stopped spammers completely, but it’s just one of the many ways the search engines are trying to keep an even playing field.
Now you might be asking yourself, if a link isn’t going to give any SEO value to my site why should I bother getting it?
“No Follow” doesn’t mean no value.
But even if a no-follow link doesn’t count in improving your rankings and the SEO value of your site that doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. For instance, a no-follow link can still send an immense amount of traffic to your website, which I’d argue should be the real purpose of any link. Some of the most valuable links in my link profile are no-follow links simply because of the number of targeted visitors they continually send my way. I’ll take great traffic any day!
For example, when you’re optimizing a video in YouTube you should try to get a link back to your site in the video description. YouTube links are no-follow, but that doesn’t mean that one of the 125 people who watched your video won’t click over to your site. Giving them that direct link as opposed to expecting them to remember and type your URL into the navigation bar helps eliminate some effort on their part, hopefully driving more targeted traffic your way.
Also keep in mind that even if they don’t “count,” Google still see and index the no-follow links that point to your site, which helps round out your link portfolio (and leads me to my second point.)
There has to be a natural distribution of “followed” and “no follow” links.
Thousands upon thousands of sites have implemented no-follow only links on their site, so your portfolio is bound to have more than a few of them. While there is no “right” percentage, if your site is overwhelmingly based on follow links it doesn’t appear natural. It looks like you’ve gone out of your way to avoid no-follow links. Your number one concern with link building shouldn’t be to only focus on follow links or avoid no-follow links; it should be to make sure your link profile is as natural and organic looking at possible. The search engines like to see a slow and diversified approach to link building which means there should be a good amount of no-follow links in your back link profile.