Are No Follow Links Really Worthless?

No follow links

Let me give you a short answer to this question followed by a much longer answer. The short answer is: yes, no follow links are really worthless, except when they’re not. Confused yet? Let me break it down for you: if your one and only question is whether or not no follow links are useful for link juice (i.e. backlinking), then they are worthless.

Beyond that though, they may yet have some real value if you use them correctly. Here’s what you need to know:

What Are No Follow Links Anyway?

For the still wet behind the ears among us, no follow links are links which include a small bit code which says “rel=nofollow” this tells Google not to index the link which is mentioned there meaning that it provides no benefit as far as Google is concerned for building the rank of a website.

Many bloggers automatically set their links to no follow for the simple reason that it helps cut down on spam since the link juice isn’t there. Others will leave it on to encourage comments but moderate and still others have automatic approval on the theory that more comments, even if they are spam comments make their blogs look busy.

Why No Follow Links May Not Be So Worthless

Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about reasons why you may want to spend some time commenting on no follow blogs (this is the most common way that links get embedded, but they can also be embedded in the site itself).

Comments May Have Them Turned Off But Body May Have Them On

Often, bloggers will have do follow links in the body of an article, but no follow links in the comments section of the blog. Again, this is meant to cut down on spam.

However, from a purely Google perspective, putting in those no follow links in a comment and leaving a truly insightful comment may well be worth something. That’s because most bloggers read their comments and if they see a comment which seems particularly insightful, they may amend the original post and add that comment along with a do follow link to the main page.

Comments May Get Do Follow Turned Back On

Another reason from a purely Google perspective is that bloggers may decide at some point in the future to turn on do follow for the comment links in their blogs. This effectively means that the links you left and long since forgot about may become valuable backlinks after all.

Direct Traffic

Finally, I’ve mentioned this before – blog comments were never meant to be a way to build your backlink portfolio. They were meant to help build a community around a blog. By leaving a no follow link with an insightful comment on a popular blog, you may get direct traffic, even if you don’t get Google traffic from it.

30 thoughts on “Are No Follow Links Really Worthless?

  1. People sometimes get too caught up on whether their link is “do follow” or “no follow”. A “no follow” link shouldn’t stop you from sharing your knowledge or opinion. Someone could find your comment interesting and may be willing to help you out in the future.

  2. No-follow links are not always useless. Many websites have tons of them. They drive traffic none the less. As far as counting for link juice, there has been many rumors that no-follow links effect your SEOin a negative way. This is not true. A link is a link and Google knows this.

  3. I agree. I’ve never heard the rumors about no follow links negatively effecting PR, but I’m pretty sure that’s just a bit of urban legend nonsense. If you were following Google’s rules to the letter, you’d have no control over who linked to you anyway.

  4. I never said they were worthless. They just don’t have the same value as do follow links.

  5. Agreed. Then again, I’d rather have a no follow link on say the Yahoo home page than a do follow link from a rinky dink blog no one has ever heard of…

  6. I believe that bloggers benefit so much from no follow that they likely will never turn it off, which contradicts reason two. Turning off no follow would mean sudden lost in PageRank as well as suddenly taking in waves of spam comments.

    However, I do agree with the fact that commenting on blogs still gives direct links back to your site, and is still beneficial in to some degree. Although one or two links aren’t going to make much difference, a few thousand amassed over time can bring decent traffic to a blog.

    Nevertheless, good article.

  7. I’m not so sure about that first comment. Most webmasters moderate their content carefully and as the comments add up, they tend to be more discerning and won’t just take the “nice post, thanks” style comments, never mind the more obvious spam comments.

  8. The tips on SEO are absolutely invaluable, I will implement some of your recommended techniques that I was not using for my own SEO efforts. Thanks! keep blogging.

  9. I’m glad you found them useful. Please do drop by again since I’m currently doing a whole series on business mistakes and building a business up.

    1. Could you tell us what specifically you found so helpful? Doing so will help me to understand what you want to see in future blog posts.

    1. I’m glad you liked it. Could you share with us what specifically you happened to find so interesting about it?

    1. Just remember that no follow links are not completely worthless. They do have some value. Thus the best policy is merely to look for quality places to put backlinks, regardless of where they are.

    1. This is very true. It’s also a fact that Google’s engineers may well have their systems set to flag sites which have almost all do follow links since that is not the way they naturally would appear.

  10. I believe that no follow links are still very useful in the fact that they can drive traffic to your website. I feel that in Google’s eyes they aren’t of much use but I still feel they are worth pursuing

    1. This is true. Also, with the new Penguin update, I believe that while Google won’t necessarily credit you for such backlinks, they do check if you have some and if you don’t, it looks very suspicious to them.

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