Do NoFollow Links Actually Offer no SEO Value?

Before answering your question straightaway, it might be prudent to determine the attributes of DoFollow and NoFollow links, looking through the eyes of Google. Theoretically speaking, DoFollow links offer real SEO value as well as ‘link juice’ for the simple reason that they are recognized by Google as providing ‘votes’ of credibility as also due to their expected, normal availability or presence, whatever you may call. NoFollow links, on the other hand, are believed to offer no SEO value as the rel=”nofollow” attribute value/tag assigned to these links tells Google not to ‘follow’ the link in its ranking algorithm. But this is only half the story! You need to read more to know the whole story.

11But, for this we need to go back a few years. Way back in 2005, Google introduced the rel=’nofollow’ tag, primarily to fight against spammy blog comments that continued to trick Google’s ranking algorithm by way of creating too many unnatural links. This practice, needless to say, helped these spammers’ websites rank at the top of the search results, even though the whole process was thoroughly unethical.

At the same time, it may be wrong to say that NoFollow links have zero value if you think in terms of online SEO practices. If, however, you want hear from the horse’s mouth, I might as well familiarize you with what Google’s Matt Cutts has commented on the topic. In fact, he has categorically stated that their engine takes ‘nofollow’ in the right sense and so does not ‘follow’ the link in any form. But the true picture tells a different story. As a matter of fact, Google does follow the link, even though it does not index the linked-to page, provided it was already in Google’s index for sundry other reasons.

Another piece of information will throw further light on the subject, especially in terms of post-Penguin (update) SEO, that link diversity is very much appreciated by Google. In other words, it means diversity in the sites that are linking to you, diversity in the link text used for these links as well as diversity in the types of links in your inbound links would all be DoFollow links, merely to satisfy Google! But even then, it will not look natural since most of the links from social media sites are NoFollow links, while a large proportion of websites that pass on links are mostly default NoFollow links. In fact a healthy mix of NoFollow links in a tumbler full of DoFollow links should be the ideal strata when you think in terms of ranking.

Am I clear?