Many link building strategies you see online tend to focus on followed (or dofollow) links. They teach you to find your competitors’ backlinks, filter away nofollowed links, and then ask you to outreach to those websites.
Are they wrong?
Of course not. Getting only dofollowed links gives you the best return on investments. You save time outreaching to them and remove the need to write guest posts just for a nofollow link.
But are nofollow links really not worth it?
Here’s what I think about NoFollow links
Getting dofollow links is definitely great for your SEO. The link equity from the website gets passed on to you — this way, whatever time and money you spend will be maximised for direct improvements for your SEO.
In all honesty, if the website is relevant to my niche, why would I not want that link EVEN if it’s nofollowed?
Let me illustrate.
I’m in the SEO niche.
Neil Patel, Backlinko, Ahrefs, and Moz are some of the most prominent authorities in the industry. If I had the chance to get a link from their website, but it’s nofollowed, do you think I would pass up on it? 😂
Of course not. The link is highly authoritative AND highly relevant.
Now, what if the website isn’t relevant to my niche? Say maybe I could get a link from Wikipedia, or the biggest news network in Singapore (CNA/Straits Times).
Would I then not bother trying to get that link? Chances are, I’d go for it too!
It might or might not pass link equity, but there are other benefits to getting those links.
Benefits of NoFollow links
Even though Google might ignore nofollowed links, there are other benefits to getting nofollow links.
- You get featured in relevant authority websites in your industry. This brings you additional exposure, awareness, and recognition for your brand
- You get featured in authority websites (Wikipedia, news networks, etc.). You introduce your brand to businesses and consumers who might be your potential customers
- You can add badges to your “As featured on” section on your website. This social proof builds credibility and increases the chances for conversions
I’m pretty sure there are other benefits to nofollow links, but I believe that the above are the most important.
Natural backlink profile
On top of the above benefits, I’m going to dedicate a section here to talk about how nofollow links make your backlink profile look natural.
If you’re doing natural white hat link building, chances are nofollow links will come naturally. You don’t have to worry too much about this.
However, if you’re using PBNs as part of your strategy, this is something you’ll have to consider.
The job of a PBN is to pass link equity with a relevant anchor text you can control to boost your keyword rankings. Many SEOs forget the fact that always having the keyword in the anchor is not natural.
And even more SEOs forget that you won’t get 100% followed links for all your links.
Here comes the next question…
How do I make my dofollow/nofollow ratios look natural?
I have yet to come into any case studies that have tested these variables. Until then, anything I say here is purely observational.
Unlike anchor text ratios, I believe that Google is less strict on this “ratio”. As previously mentioned, if you’re doing white hat link building or no linkbuilding at all, chances are these ratios will come naturally to you.
And if you were to use a tool like Ahrefs to observe the nofollow and dofollow ratios of many websites, you’ll notice that it’s crazy skewed.
Most ratios I observe are in the 80% – 95% range in favour of dofollow links.
Therefore, my personal belief is that you can keep your dofollow-nofollow ratio to be around 9:1. If you’re feeling kinda frisky, you can increase that number to 95%.
Chances are, it’ll still appear natural too!
Just keep in mind that there are a lot of other variables that will come into play in keeping your backlink profile looking natural, and you should consider all other factors as well.
Even if you’re doing white hat SEO, you should regularly do a backlink audit of all your links. (Shameless plug, I offer this service)
Make sure that your anchor text AND dofollow-nofollow ratios are natural.
The good thing about the dofollow-nofollow ratio is that followed links are natural even in the high 90% range. You’ll just need to have a few nofollow links to balance it out!
So when planning out your backlink strategy, don’t filter out the nofollow links immediately. Check them for authority and relevancy.
You definitely don’t want to miss the chance of getting a feature on authoritative industry blogs!