What is a nofollow link and when should you use it?
About Jen Thorne:
- Blogger at A Beauty Junkie in London
- Social Media consultant
- Twitter: @Beautyjunkieldn
- Instagram: @Beautyjunkieldn
What are the different types of links?
Historically, when the first search engine was created it based its algorithm (set of rules to determine the relevant results) on two things; semantics (the amount of times that a keyword is used on the page – see Episode 2) and external links. These links worked like votes – the more votes to a page or site, the more likely it’s to be popular, relevant and therefore it should appear top in the search results.
Dofollow links pass authority from your site onto the sites that you link to. This is the natural way to reference sites that you’ve read and would like to pass your “vote” towards.
Nofollow links do not pass authority from your site, even though you hyperlink to others. Google’s guidelines state that if you’re paid or given product in exchange for a link then it should be nofollow. Jen describes how she’s taken the approach of doing just this when working with brands due to Google penalising sites for not following their guidelines.
Add the code: rel=”nofollow” within your hyperlink (within the <a> tag).
- Yoast SEO, which is a good all-round SEO plugin.
- Ultimate Nofollow, which allows you to tick and untick the nofollow link which then adds this in.
How to use nofollow links when working with a brand?
If you have been paid for a blog post or provided with a product for a link then you’re required to nofollow the hyperlinks to the brand. As it’s also a legal requirement to disclose when you’re being paid for advertising products this can be checked. So whether it’s an asterisk or a collaboration statement that you use in your posts and social media, you’re required to do disclose by law whereas Google’s guidelines mean that if you don’t follow their rules then they can (and will) remove you from their search results.
Potentially this may even affect your audience. Keep their trust by disclosing collaborations and being clear as to what is an advert but in a natural way so that it’s still your tone of voice and your content.
Where does Social Media come into this?
All social media links are nofollow. This means they don’t pass authority to your site, however they help with faster crawling of your pages. They’re also great at amplification which means more people can see, share and then link to your content.
Jen, a social media consultant, suggests that you don’t bombard people on social media (aka Twitter) – pretend that you’re talking to someone in a pub and don’t ram your content down their throats. There are a number of different conversation platforms where the audience differs so the it’s about sharing things naturally, albeit each platform conversation is tweaks it in some way.
Don’t forget to share your older and legacy posts on social media. Remind your audience about it whilst helping Google see that it’s still relevant as well. Especially if it’s something seasonal and still worth a read, there’s no reason not to share it regularly.
Beyond the Links for Content
Brands should remember that there is the longevity of content creation. Pieces of content can gain traffic when they’re well optimised and gain popularity and hence visibility online. People will keep coming back to genuine reviews and brand shares so even though payment may mean a nofollow link, it shouldn’t be a reason not to sponsor influencers/bloggers.
Music credit: I Dunno (Grapes of Wrath Mix) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/56346 Ft: Jlang, 4nsic, grapes