Are No Follow Links Good for SEO or Not?

How many times have you read that no-follow links do not contribute to SEO? Even if you have read it for at least ten times in the last few months, it doesn’t mean it is right!  

To answer the question of whether no-follow links are SEO friendly or not, let us first understand what no-follow links and do-follow links are.

The do-follow links are an HTML instruction to search bots allowing them to follow the link. The search engine bots then follow the link and visit the URL it is referring to. Conversely, no-follow links are an instruction to the bots not to follow the link.    

Wait! In just a plain reading of the introduction, you must not assume that I am trying to convince you that no-follow links are not for SEO.

I agree that marking a link as no-follow means that you are asking the search engine bots not to follow the source of the link. And, this can make you interpret that the link juice is not passed on.

But, does this mean it is completely bad or worthless for SEO? The answer is, no!

Here are the reasons why no-follow links are also useful for SEO.


Initially, the no-follow attribute started as a way to identify paid links. The search engines expected link builders to indicate to them if they were building paid links by marking them as no-follow.

So, if you are putting no follow links, you are accepting that you have paid for specific links. And, Google understands that it is an advertising attempt. Businesses do advertise, and Google does not have a problem with that.

But, if you have placed links for advertising, you should not make the Google bots follow it! Gradually, black-hat SEO practitioners started fooling the search engines by making all links do-follow so that the bots follow their links.

Even the bots don’t want you to make them follow non-trusted sites, do they? This is the reason why the search engine views content with loads of do-follow links as link spamming.

Now, search engines have started penalizing black-hat link building by evaluating the quality of the do-follow links.

However, the presence of no-follow links helps you establish authenticity for your brand as you are following the search engine guidelines. And, you are also indicating that you aren’t practicing black-hat link building; nor are you trying to fool Google!  

When you appear authentic to the search engine bots, it helps improve your domain reputation in the search engine.

Prevent Penalty

At times, it becomes necessary to include multiple links of your sub-domain into the article. This is when you want the information about your business to be accessible to the targeted audience easily.

But, the search engine algorithm can treat it as a bad link building tactic if the link density is very high and all the links are referring to the same domain.

No matter whether you have paid for the links or not, Google views a piece of content with so many do-follow links to your domain as paid link-building. This is one of the ways it will distinguish paid links from the unpaid ones which occur naturally in less number.

Using no-follow links comes to your rescue when you have to include certain links for the readers but don’t want the bots to crawl over all of them. And, responsible link-building can save you from Google penalty!      

Quality Content

Moreover, differentiating what is for the readers from what is for the search engine also helps you create reader-friendly content. Ultimately, the readers are your prospective customers, and they matter!     

The content which is written merely for SEO doesn’t invite engagement or sharing. On the contrary, the top SEO agencies are aware that high-quality content is good, both for SEO and for increasing engagement.

A quality piece of content is the one which has links in limited numbers and only effective ones. And, a mix of no-follow and do-follow links indicates to the bots that there is no black-hat link-building practice.

In a piece of short-form content, it is better to include one vital link of your root domain or sub-domain as do-follow. And, it is better to mark the other links of the same domain or sub-domain as no-follow.

Traffic Booster

The first question that you must answer to yourself is; why are you doing SEO? All of us are doing search engine optimization to increase traffic to our website.  So, it is a good idea to try all the possible ways which can boost your website traffic.

No matter the link is no-follow when readers click on it they are directed to your website. So, you are still getting traffic. Heavy and relevant traffic to your website will automatically boost your search engine rankings. When it is fulfilling your ultimate aim of increasing traffic, how can a no-follow link be bad for SEO?


I have told you so many reasons why no-follow links are useful for your SEO. And, if you still want some real example to endorse this point, check a very high ranking site, and you will find it flooded with links, but no-follow! So, if you are one of those who used to believe that no-follow links are not suitable for SEO, I have given you so many reasons to accept that they do!

No-follow links are for the readers. Google is now considering no-follow links as a parameter to add to your PR.

Don’t just experiment with link-building by believing all the myths surrounding it. Make sure that you get the most ROI from your link-building activities by doing them right.

Try our link-building package now if you are unsure of how to do effective link-building!

Author Bio

Jin Markov is a Content Writer with, a research firm in the USA. He has an experience of 6 years and has been writing on SEO.