What is a Nofollow Link?
If you’ve never heard of a nofollow link, you’re not alone. The vast majority of people – bloggers included – don’t know what that term means. But if you’re being paid to add links to your website or publish sponsored content, it’s time to make sure you understand exactly what this kind of link is and why it’s important.
To truly understand what a nofollow link is, it’s best to understand what a dofollow link is first. When you link to another website (not your own), it’s automatically a dofollow link.
It’s got link juice.
And what the hell is link juice? It’s the credibility you give to a website when you link to them. You’re telling search engines (mostly Google but the others too) that this website is credible. They’re deserving of love, attention, and yes, even higher ranking in search results.
Link juice and dofollow links are the sweet, sweet nectar of SEO (search engine optimization) love. It’s part magic fairy dust and part dirty, dirty SEO sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
Basically, it’s highly coveted. The more times sites like to your website, the more important, prestigious, amazing, wonderful, authoritative, and credible you appear to search algorithms.
Note: This isn’t the only thing you need to get Google-love. You also need to consistently publish new and high quality content, among other things. But link juice definitely helps.
So unless you do something special to a link, it’s always a dofollow link. And people who pay for sponsored content most often do it to help their websites appear higher in Google search results.
Nofollow links are the opposite of dofollow links. These are the links that you specifically set so that they get no link juice, no Google love, no fairy dust, and no dirty sex love.
You might do this for a couple of reasons:
- You hate the website you’ve linked to and only did it to let other people see the dumpster fire for themselves. But you don’t want the website to get any link juice love.
- You were paid to include a link and/or publish content on your website or sex blog.
It’s also possible you could add a nofollow link because you’re a link juice miser who wants to hoard all the search engine love for your bitter, dried up heart…but that’s rare. It’s usually one of the other reasons.
That second reason is the one to pay attention to. When you get an email from a company asking you to publish content and a dofollow link, they’re actively asking you to go against best practices and potentially cross the biggest, baddest search engine on the planet – Google.
Is it possible that the person requesting a dofollow link in exchange for cash doesn’t know the rule?
Not likely. If they were truly ignorant, they wouldn’t even know what a “dofollow” link is. They know exactly what they’re asking for.
How to Create a Nofollow Link
It is much easier to create a nofollow link than you think. I’ve bookmarked the instructions because (for whatever reason) I can’t seem to hold it in my head for more than a minute.
In the “Text” version of a blog post for WordPress or the HTML version (if you’re using some other platform), look for the link you just added to your post and then add this:
In the HTML version, your link will look like this:
<a href=”http://example.com/article” rel=”nofollow”>Article Example</a>
It’s as simple as that. But, of course, there’s more to it than that, at least in terms of why it matters.
Why Nofollow Links Matter
To be fair, I highly recommend nofollow links because I’m a Type A rule-follower. Breaking rules makes me break out into hives…unless we’re getting kinky and then all bets are off. (But even then, I follow safe, sane, and consensual which are kind of like rules sooo…yeah, still a rule-follower.)
But in reality it’s part of a strategy that I’ve decided to follow:
Don’t make Google mad at me. Don’t give any search engine a reason to shut me out of search rankings.
Technically, you can do whatever you want to do. Use nofollow links or don’t. But when you make your decision, make sure it’s fully informed.
Google, if they decide you’re selling link juice in a linking scheme, can and will make sure you don’t show up in search results later. Search results are how people will find you. It’s how they find me on every website I run. That’s not something I want to screw up.
What good is the $50 or $100 I got paid for a dofollow link if I never show up in search results again? One big payment won’t make up for all the lost opportunities if I get caught.
I also look at it from another angle…the online world at large would lose zero sleep if there were fewer sex blogs out there. I’m not going to give Google a reason to decide I’m not welcome and essentially blackball me from a search page. Technically my website would be out there but if no one can find it, I won’t make anymore money from it.
So yes, it’s a personal decision to follow the guidelines on nofollow links but it’s also part of my overall strategy: keep getting found through online searches and also play by ethical rules.
Buying Links for the Link Juice Isn’t Ethical
I believe in having a set of ethics as a sex blogger. Some kind of professional integrity. For me that means disclosing paid content and using nofollow links for that paid content.
The “but everyone else does it” argument doesn’t work when my kids say it, and it certainly doesn’t work when a company offers that as a good reason.
If I would never have linked to that website without payment, they don’t deserve my link juice.
I say that as an enthusiastic linker. Because I know the value of link juice, I like to sprinkle that shit around on everything. When I love you or your website, I’ll pour you a big ole glass of link juice.
But when you’re paying for it? Nope. Not gonna do it.
Buying a bunch of links on a bunch of sex blogs is a scheme. It’s unethical. They’re trying to score the search engine ranking (getting on page one) without doing the work or putting in the time. It’s an easy out.
I had to do the work to have my website show up on Google. Why shouldn’t they?!
And yes, this means when I’m asked to publish a dofollow link for any amount of money I do something only slightly painful:
I turn them down – politely and professionally. One day they might get some ethics and come back to me with an offer I can say yes to. But until then, it’s nofollow links or nothing.
Is the idea of a nofollow link a total surprise to you or are you familiar with the concept? Have you chosen a different strategy than mine? Feel free to share on social media or in the comments below!