What is a Dofollow link? How it Applies to SEO.

Most people don’t know what dofollow links are (or how important they are for SEO), but I’ll show how to use them the right way and make you an expert quickly.

The funny thing is that this subject kind of handles itself because if you own a blog and do any sort of SEO for it, you really don’t need to worry about this, and you’re going to quickly see this…


What is a dofollow link (DFL)?

It is ANY regular link (no editing involved) you create on your site or blog that points to another page, internal (within your site) or external (to another site). For example…

  • If I create a link to another blog post on this site (internal linking).
  • If I create a link to an external site like Google, a specific YouTube video, basically any site that goes outside mine…

Then it’ll count and be a DFL. You or I literally do not need to do anything other than create the link on our blog or site and point to the another site or blog post and it’ll already carry that DFL label.

It is only when we want to create nofollows that we have to do some editing, but that’s another topic, with it’s own logic, circumstances and explanation which I covered the other day here. But that’s also an issue you will possibly never have to worry about either.

What makes DFL’s so important for SEO?

For any site that is doing SEO, it is constantly getting “crawled” by Google spiders (as well as other search engine spiders). These things examine your site, your blog, the content on it and in the context of this particular subject, they will examine the DFLs you have on your site.

  • They will examine the DFLs you created that point to other pages and blogs on the site (internal).
  • They will examine the DFLs you created that point to pages, sites and blogs OUTSIDE your own site (external). 

Then what will happen is, since these things are going to have the DFL attached to it, the spiders will crawl the pages that you are pointing to and examine those too.

Quite literally, the term “Do. Follow” is a command to the search engine spiders to follow the DFL you created to the page, blog post or site.

And this command is also in HTML form, so the regular reader doesn’t see this, nor will they ever know it in most cases.

There are great advantages to this for SEO:

1) If you are internally pointing to other pages on your site, and they are getting crawled, that will help increase the ranking of THOSE pages too. This strategy literally gets you more exposure on Google, because more pages are being crawled, thus more pages are being ranked and therefore, more potential eyes will now see the site on Google and be drawn to it.

It also helps your visitor’s experience grow, which itself also carries SEO weight. 

Just imagine someone landing on your site but without proper linking strategies, not really being able to get a good tour or experience of it. With good internal DFLs, they can explore your site better and this will not only help their experience improve, but it’ll also show Google that you care about giving your visitors a better experience. 

In fact, just take my SEO site and see how many DFLs I’ve included on this very page and frankly on most of the other pages I have on this site (browse my blog here).

This allows the person reading one of my pages to be able to click through and read the other/s and it also allows Google’s spiders to crawl those other pages too and boost my rankings up.

ANY blogger who is doing SEO should ALSO be doing this in a similar way that I am. Notice that throughout this article, I am not providing DFLs just anywhere, but in specific areas.

2) If you are externally pointing to other pages, sites and blogs outside your website, and as long as those places are good, high value sites, the Google spiders will crawl those places too, award them more SEO points and you will also get credit for pointing to them.

Take the same user who lands on your site, but now change up the viewing experience from seeing more of your site, to seeing other, good sites that improve their browsing experience.

The only downside here is that they would likely leave your site in the process, but at the same time, Google does like it when you do this, because it shows that you aren’t being greedy and are trying to give your viewers the best experience.

Some people use this strategy to point to affiliate promotions, while others use it to point to sites that do not compensate them in anyway, and for SEO, if you do the latter, you will be rewarded more for it.

Also with regards to traffic leaving the site, a good SEO tip I can offer you is to make sure your external links have the option of opening “in a new window”.

What will happen when this is set is that when people click on whichever outside site you’re pointing to, they will at least still have YOUR site’s window open to return back to.

If you don’t have this set, then what will happen is, when people leave your page, they will likely never come back to it, at least in this instance, there’s a chance, they’ll keep your window open and return.

3) If other sites are pointing to you, then this is also a good way to gather more SEO points and this last part is actually where we have to talk about backlinking because the whole premise behind it is that by getting dofollow’s from other sites to yours, you can grow your ranking on Google.

This is not really true anymore because the actual SEO value of this stuff varies a lot. Fortunately, I took a lot of time to explain that here and you will truly understand when this strategy works and when it doesn’t.

Basically, just because a blog or site points it’s visitors to yours doesn’t guarantee a higher ranking on Google. It MIGHT if the circumstances are right, and like I said, that article will explain those circumstances in detail.

Do I really need to worry about whether I’m making DFLs or not?

In most cases and I literally mean like 99% of them, don’t even bother worrying about this and just as I said at the very top, this handles itself.

It’s just that a lot of people like to dig deep into SEO subjects and there’s many people and blogs that like to get into microscopic details of it, and that can actually confuse and scare people, and DFL are a subject of SEO that gets that reaction in my experience.

I just wanted to give you an in-depth explanation on this whole dofollow topic so you understand it better, but at the same time don’t end up complicating it. Just remember…

Every regular link you create is already a DFL.

The ONLY time/s you would need to turn a regular DFL into a nofollow one would be in the following circumstances I explained here. Basically, any duplicate pages or questionable pages you point to, just read that article and you’ll see what I mean.

But if you’re doing SEO, you’re going to want to point to other pages on your site and to other sites outside of yours and that itself will already be a DFL which you’ll want to have up anyway.

Let me also admit to something:

In the many years I’ve done SEO and made websites, NOT ONCE have I ever made a nofollow link, not on this site, not on any, ever. I just don’t see the point in it, and I just make regular ones (which are already DFLs) because those actually carry the SEO value, which is what I want.

You will also likely find yourself using the same strategy if you own a blog or site and are doing SEO. So in the end, I wouldn’t even concern yourself with if a link is a DFL or a nofollow one. Just link in a way that makes your content better to read and that is what will help with the SEO of the site.

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