Why Are Nofollow Backlinks Important for SEO?

Why Are Nofollow Backlinks Important for SEO?

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Justin Trombetti
May 22, 2023

We’ve been doing link building for 10 years; some things change rapidly but others stay the same. One common theme among many of our clients over the years is a preference for dofollow links.

Why? Well, obviously, that’s where the “link juice” is coming from. At least, that’s where it’s *directly* coming from.

Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, but as with anything else in the SEO world, it depends what your broader strategy looks like.

So with that said, let’s talk about the dofollow vs. nofollow element of your backlink profile.

Should You Primarily Build Dofollow Backlinks?

Like I mentioned above, some clients only want us to build dofollow backlinks.

When is this a good idea?

  • When you already have a lot of links and link types.
  • When you’ve got limited resources, and need the most bang for your buck with a small quantity of links and budget.
  • When you have a long-term plan for diversity in your backlink profile.

When is a dofollow-only strategy a bad idea? Any time the above statements are not true, or mostly true.

We talked a lot in this blog about spam penalties and how to avoid them. If you want a deeper dive into the technical and algorithmic side of this, you might want to check that out.

As it specifically pertains to nofollow links, though, the key here is maintaining a natural backlink profile.

Gone are the days where you can focus on the technical aspects of Google’s ranking algos. Seriously, you won’t beat them anymore. They’re too heavily focused on quality of content and user experience. When Google sees a ton of dofollow backlinks, it’s pretty obvious that link building has been done in an unnatural way that’s probably not best for users.

The search engines assume that a great site will have a mixture of sources wanting to reference them, regardless of ranking competition. Now, like I said before, maybe you have plenty of volume and a good mixture of link types, but your DA is struggling.

In that case, go crazy on dofollow links and get that DA moving, but otherwise, slow and steady is going to win your race here.

Now, I’ve run and built a lot of websites. I know how it feels when you get to the point where you feel like you’re spending time or money on the stuff that’s not going to directly impact your bottom line, or visibly impact a KPI like domain authority. It can feel demoralizing and monotonous. Trust me, it’s better than spending your year recovering from a bad spam score.

Beyond that, though, there’s a lot of value in nofollow links that people often miss.

How You Can Get the Most Out of Building a Nofollow Link

Stop thinking solely about your DA; it’s one metric in a sea of many that need to work together to help you rank higher. Even if you tripled your DA, it might not necessarily be enough to get you ranking #1.

Start thinking about link building as an ongoing, holistic strategy wherein your primary goal is to show Google how much value you have. I liken it to a sales pitch. Imagine if you walked into a sales presentation and only talked about how good your pricing or your customer service team is, but not about how you can actually benefit your prospective client. Those are all great points, but you’re not showing any tangible value, and you’re not going to close that sale.

Here’s another secret: nofollow links can and DO pass some great DA if you do it right.

Yep, you read that correctly. The reason, simply put, is tier 2 backlinks. For those of you who don’t know what a tier 2 backlink is, it’s essentially a backlink pointing at a backlink you’ve built.

For example, maybe you’ve built a link on Wikipedia, and it’s nofollow. It’s not directly passing you DA, but all of a sudden this great source of information picks up 100 different backlinks as a source of information for other articles in your niche. Those secondary links are passing DA to you.

This comes full circle to why content is still, and probably always will be, king, and why quality is better than quantity, even in the nofollow world.

All of this plays into the way we do things at Invalley. Our Monthly Mix packages focus on powerhouse DA and direct impact, but also white-hat, organic, natural link building. The result is a long-term strategy you can actually scale against, without the fear of penalties.

Get in touch with us here to learn more about how we can help if the DIY approach just isn’t cutting it for you.

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