Do-follow and No-follow links: What is the difference?


Let me share with you what a do-follow backlink is and its difference from a no-follow backlink?

If you know a little about SEO, you are aware of search engines. Especially Google, consider the quality and quantity of backlinks to determine where to show your web page in search results.

Do-follow and no-follow links are the two types of backlinks out there. They tell the search engine two different things and each has a different impact on SEO.

So, what’s the difference between do-follow and no-follow links? How can you be sure you’re using do-follow and no-follow links properly on your website? 

I will answer all these questions in this article.

What Is A Do-follow Backlink?

Ok, so what exactly is a do-follow Backlink?

A “do-follow backlink” is a link that points back to your website or blog for Google and other search engines to crawl. 

When we talk about acquiring backlinks to help improve your website’s domain authority and page rank, we usually mean “do-follow” backlinks.

 Also, strictly speaking, a “do-follow” link isn’t really a thing. do-follow is simply when another website links to yours with a standard (aka do-follow) link. 

The image you see here is an example of a normal “do-follow link” in our article about easy ways to get backlinks for SEO.  

Here’s what the code looks like behind the scenes:

The more high-quality ”do-follow” links you can get, the more trust and authority search engines will give to your website that helps your content rank higher for its target keywords.

What About No-follow Backlinks?

So, how are no-follow backlinks different?

Unlike ”do-follows,” a ”no-follow” link does not pass authority on to the website it is linking to. If you get a no-follow backlink, it won’t improve your rankings and transfer any PageRank.

As such, no-follow links have limited value from the SEO point of view. You should only use them when you don’t want to pass link juice to the linked website.

This is usually when the content you’re linking to is untrusted, sponsored, user-generated, or paid for.

You might perform a link audit once a year to see whether you are linked to a site that you don’t want to be associated with. 

To the average website user, ”do-follow” and ”no-follow” links look exactly the same. However, ”no-follow” links include a small piece of code, called an attribute. That the search engine bots know not to follow the link. 

If you wanna check if a link is ”do-follow” or ”no-follow” all you need to do is inspect the link in the browser and check the HTML code.

To do that, right-click on the link in the browser and select “Inspect”. This will bring up the HTML code associated with that link. 

If you see rel=”no-follow”, then the link is a no-follow link. If you do not see rel=”no-follow”, then the link is a ”do-follow” link.

How Do You Get Do-follow Backlinks?

Ok, so we’ve taken a look at what ”do-follow” backlinks are, and how they differ from ”no-follow” backlinks

Let’s look at the various strategies you can use to get ”do-follow” backlinks.

 #1 Guest posts

The most common way to create ”do-follow backlinks” is to write a guest post for a website that uses do-follow links in its content.

You can secure guest post opportunities by browsing blogs within your niche and outreaching each website.

This is not so straightforward, however, since most website owners are reluctant to link to anyone for free these days. 

Most of them will require monetary compensation. The cost of this service typically ranges from $30 to $40 for low-tier sites to several hundred dollars for premium backlinks.

Buying do-follow links is a risky business. You need to properly analyze every link in order to get high-quality backlinks.

It goes without saying that I’d always recommend going with a link-building agency to build your links for you.

If you’d like some do-follow link-building advice, you can also book a free consulting call with us at, and we’ll be happy to help you out!

#2 Turn Unlinked Business Mentions Into do-follow Backlinks

Another way to create do-follow backlinks is to turn existing business mentions into high-quality links that pass PageRank value for SEO.

There are two ways to do this:

  • You can search for your brand or company name on Google. To find a list of other websites that are mentioning your business.
  • You can set up a Google Alert to monitor the internet for your brand or company name and get an email each time Google detects your name being used online. 

Once you have a list of the sites that are mentioning your brand, check for unlinked mentions.

After you identify unlinked mentions, you need to reach out to each website mentioning you and ask if they will add a ”do-follow” link to your website.

#3 Get Interviewed

Getting interviewed on a podcast, YouTube video, or in a written publication, will most likely deliver do-follow backlinks. 

The hosts and authors of this type of content understand the importance of SEO and link building.

Therefore, it will add a do-follow link to your website in exchange for being interviewed as an expert in your field.

#4 Use HARO (Help A Reporter Out)

I’m a big fan of using HARO as it enables you to land very high DR links for free.

You might also create a story that is somehow connected to your business and share it with journalists hoping that some of them will publish it.

I have a video below, where I explain how I build high-quality do-follow links to my website with HARO.

Do No-follow Links Hold Any SEO Value?

Yes, ”no-follow” links pass no link value at all to your website, but there are other indirect benefits they bring.

No-follow links from high domain authority sites can bring you traffic when people click through to visit your site.

 Personally, I wouldn’t turn down a no-follow link from a relevant, high DA site in my niche. That is why we’re doing SEO in the first place, to get the right eyeballs on your products or services.

No-follow links will also help you diversify your links to build a natural link profile. In fact, Google’s Penguin update recognized that it was suspicious for a website to have all do-follow links. (Especially if those links all had the same anchor text!) 

My FREE Link Building Mastery Book also contains about link building, and how to cultivate a backlink profile that appears natural to search engines.


Acquiring high-value ”do-follow” links will help you build PageRank, but no-follow links can also bring valuable traffic and engagement.

Unless you’re an established brand, link building is something you will need to do continuously to make sure your site’s backlink profile is always optimized and healthy.