Dofollow Link Definition & Meaning

A dofollow link (or follow link) is one that indicates to search engines that the destination page should be crawled. If a hyperlink contains a rel=”nofollow” attribute in the HTML, it is considered a nofollow link and does not influence the search engine ranking of the destination page. The absence of that attribute, on the other hand, means the webmaster is giving editorial endorsement to the destination page of the URL. This endorsement benefits the destination page’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Dofollow vs. nofollow links

As mentioned above, dofollow links are ones that do not include a nofollow HTML attribute. This is the most prevalent type of link because a site’s webmaster usually places a hyperlink intentionally to direct traffic to another site. Backlinking with dofollow links to a reputable destination page is a favorable practice for search engine optimization (SEO), so there are fewer instances when an author would include a hyperlink that they do not want a search engine to acknowledge.

Nofollow links, on the other hand, are less common because the nofollow HTML attribute needs to be deliberately written in the HTML. Exceptions to this are pages that have a nofollow meta tag in the HTML header of a page, which automatically applies the nofollow rule to all links contained in the body content. (These implementations have become less common over time as web design and content creation have become more strategic.) Many content management systems (CMS) also automatically add nofollow HTML attributes to links in comments by default so that the page’s search engine rankings aren’t hindered by spam links.

How to find dofollow links to your site

The easiest way to find dofollow links on any website is to use the Google Chrome browser. Once the page with the link in question has been loaded, right click on the link and select “Inspect” from the menu that appears. A box will appear on the right side of the window and the HTML of the link will be highlighted. If the section of HTML between the <a></a> tags includes the rel=”nofollow” attribute, it is a nofollow link. If it does not, it is a dofollow link.

Alternatively, right clicking on the page and selecting “View Page Source” will open a new window or tab with the entire page’s HTML. Search for the link in question by using the CTRL+F (for PCs) or Command+F (for Macs) keyboard commands and entering the URL in the search box. Again, if the section of HTML between the <a></a> tags includes the rel=”nofollow” attribute, it is a nofollow link. If it does not, it is a dofollow link.

How to get more dofollow links

Because dofollow links are beneficial to search engine optimization, many marketing professionals and SEO specialists are tasked with finding authoritative websites to backlink to their respective sites. Some backlinking strategies are successful, but some can have negative consequences if not implemented carefully. This is because search engines like Google penalize sites that are suspected of link schemes, or link practices that are solely used to manipulate a site’s ranking.

Successful backlinking strategies include:

  • Guest blogging
  • Publish original content that can be cited as a source
  • Broken link research
  • Write testimonials or comments on other sites
  • Internal linking to other pages on your site
  • Create a shareable infographic

Dangerous backlinking strategies include:

  • Buying links
  • Link automation
  • Unnatural link exchanges
  • Link spamming
Kaiti Norton
Kaiti Norton is a Nashville-based Content Writer for TechnologyAdvice, a full-service B2B media company. She is passionate about helping brands build genuine connections with their customers through relatable, research-based content. When she's not writing about technology, she's sharing her musings about fashion, cats, books, and skincare on her blog.

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