Why No-follow Links Can Actually Boost Your SEO

Not all no-follow links are created equal. Learning more about how search engines treat and perceive no-follow links can help you take advantage of their benefits. Let’s take a look at how no-follow links can help your SEO campaign succeed.

No-follow links have always been one of the most hotly debated topics in the SEO communities around the web. It is commonly believed that no-follow links don’t pass any PR juice to the pages they are linked to, and therefore, they are worth nothing.

Nobody goes after acquiring a no-follow link as badly as they do to secure a link that shares link juice with them.

Consequently, this leads to many missed opportunities to build a healthy SEO campaign.

Smart SEOs know the differences between good links and bad links, regardless of their attributes. Hence, rather than fret over the follow attribute of a link, they check the source of the link. If the source of the link is bad, it doesn’t matter if the link is followed or not – Google looks at it as a toxic link anyway.

Moreover, when Google weighs your link profile, it primarily checks if your link profile looks is healthy. Typically, an organic link portfolio is a healthy combination of followed links and no-follow links acquired earned from a wide range of sites having diverse link portfolio.

Therefore, by refusing to earn no-follow linking opportunities available on organic sources, you effectively let go of their potential benefits on your SEO campaign.

So, what are the potential benefits of no-follow links on your SEO campaign? Let’s take a look.

No-follow Links Builds Awareness

The web has undergone a dramatic transformation since search engines agreed to collectively follow the no-follow protocol in 2005. Today, links are shared, tweeted, +1éd and upvoted regardless of their HTML attributes.

Therefore, the links, whether followed or no-follow, are being seen and shared if they carry immense value for the target audience. Eventually, it helps your SEO campaign receives the traction necessary and results in lead generation.

In this highly informative post, Nicole Kohler shared a story on how she became a paying customer for Buffer following a link on Twitter. It’s remarkable in the sense that she was not even aware of what Buffer was all about.

No-follow Links May Actually Pass Value

According to Jason Lancaster, president of Spork Marketing, search engines including Google may be weighing no-follow links based on the following criteria:

  • The trust and authority of the linking site
  • The quality of the site being linked to
  • A link’s relevance to the page
  • The linking site’s overall propensity towards using no-follow attributes

In this post, Jason explains how Google may weigh no-follow links based on the above scenario. He cites the example of Wikipedia links that Google takes into consideration to determine the topical or domain authority of specific websites.

Applying Jason’s logic, SEOs can safely assume that not all No-follows are created equal.

Paul Shaprio, also echoes similar thoughts. He believes that rel=nofollow may still have direct benefits in Google’s perspective. His cites a study which concludes that no-follow links may still be used for link discovery.

No-follow Drives Traffic

According to Mike Sullivan who runs a blog named AnalyticsEdge.com, a no-follow comment to post on a popular blog catapulted his site to the 4th page of Google SERP for a highly competitive keyword phrase for no additional effort.

Mike believes this happened because the article where he left a comment ranked pretty highly on Google’s SERP, which caused his site to rank as well, even though it was linked to the blog post with a no-follow attribute.

While this may not be a regular occurrence, it does prove that Google doesn’t really look at all no-follow links equally.

Some Search Engines Index No-follow Links

According to Wikipedia, Yahoo! Indexes the linked-to pages even though the link has the no-follow attribute. Therefore, the no-follow links in your portfolio aren’t really as worthless as you might think they are, especially if you believe Yahoo can drive some traffic to your website.


From the above points, one thing is clear – some no-follow links have better potential –and SEO value- than others. However, one really must know the difference. In my opinion, online marketers can benefit from joining and contributing to the discussions across authority sites and social media platforms such as Quora, Twitter, abd Reddit.

So, peeps, let’s not frown upon no-follow links for they have immense potential beyond our perceived limit. Go out there, build some quality no-follow links for a healthy link portfolio and successful SEO campaign.

About Susanta Sahoo

I'm the founder and content marketing head at Top League. Our team can help you build great content that helps you rank high on Google and generate high-quality leads. Get in touch with us and let's discuss your project. I'm on LinkedIn & Twitter, just so you know.