As bloggers, we review products that have been purchased with our own money, gifted by a brand or even provided for a sponsored post. This review is normally accompanied by a photo as well as a link back to both the brand and sometimes a retailer you can purchase the product from. What you may not be aware of is the importance of knowing whether to use a ‘do-follow’ link or a ‘no-follow’ link, especially if you aren’t aware of the power a do-follow link has. So if you’re reading this and thinking ‘what the hell is a do-follow/no-follow link – read on because it’s something that all bloggers need to be aware of.
Why are links so important?
Before I delve into ‘do-follow’ and ‘no-follow’ links, you need to understand why brands like them and the power they have when it comes to SEO and your blog. Every time a website links to an external website, that website will get what is called ‘link juice’ – this means that when you link to a brand, that brand will rank higher in googles eyes. With lots of bloggers linking to this brand, their website will get more attention from Google and in turn, more traffic and higher ranking.
What’s the difference between ‘do-follow’ and ‘no-follow’ links?
To put it simply, do-follow links will give a brand the link juice they need to rank higher on google and no follow links don’t. Although they won’t get an SEO boost with the no-follow link, the brand will still benefit from referrals, brand awareness and traffic so it isn’t all that bad.
Why does it even matter?
When you think about it, asking a load of bloggers to include do-follow links is manipulating. A brand sends a blogger free products/payment, gets a link back, ranks highly on Google – it’s not organic and isn’t really fair. Most of the time brands will pay for do-follow links which also means that brands with a bigger budget end up higher in search results, making it a biased system. As you might probably guess, Google doesn’t favour this behaviour and can actually penalise those who are doing it, just think if Google decided to hide your blog in its results?
When should I use a no-follow link?
Basically, if the link is not organic, use a no-follow link. If you have been paid to review or product or sent a product for free, this means that you are providing a link in return for something. You should not offer a do-follow link in return for anything – money, products or services. If a brand or PR company is trying to pay you (bribe you) for a do-follow link then simply, don’t do it – they are putting your blog at risk and breaking the rules, they should know better. Use a no-follow link for:
- When you have been paid to write a post
- When you have received free products/services (even if they are free)
- When using affiliate links for commission
When should I use a do-follow link?
If the link is organic, you should use a do-follow link.
- Links to products you buy yourself (that you genuinely love)
- Other bloggers
- Your social media
- Internal pages
How do I insert a no-follow link?
If you’re using blogger there is a super handy box to tick called “Add ‘rel=nofollow’ attribute” – simply tick it and your link will be no follow. If you’re using WordPress, you can add a handy plugin called ‘Ultimate Nofollow’ which will add the same tick box to your links. Alternatively, there’s a handy piece of html code that you can insert which will also make your links ‘<a href=”http://www. website.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Link Text</a>’.
For more information on Googles linking guidelines, you can find out more here. It’s important to understand how to correctly use links, not only for your own blogs SEO but also to ensure that brands aren’t manipulating the system. Your external links need to be trustworthy and so make sure you consider whether a do-follow link is deserved.
An easy way to remember if you should use a no-follow link is to think – was I paid (money, products + services) or influenced by a brand/PR for this link?
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