You’ve written a well-researched, in-depth guest post that includes a relevant link to your business’s website, and you’re ready to send that post off to its new home. You email the blog editor to make sure they’re still interested in the post, and you get a reply that goes something like this: “Sure, but I use no-follow links. Is that okay with you?” The great dilemma here is whether you should still submit the post, even though some marketers would consider it a “waste of a link,” or hold out and submit it to a site that may be a little less discerning when it comes to guest posts but also offer do-follow links. Before you pass over a high-traffic blog with a no-follow policy, you owe it to yourself to learn about some of the great benefits you can actually get from this type of link.
First Of All, How Do No-Follow Links Work?
If you’ve only just dipped your toe into the world of content marketing, the concept of a no-follow vs. do-follow link may still be new to you. The no-follow link is Google’s invention and first rolled out in 2005 as a means of combatting comment spam. The way Google explained it on their blog, the no-follow tag was designed to stop online spammers from getting some SEO juice whenever they posted an irrelevant comment on a site saying something like, “Check out this great new weight loss pill” with a link back to their own site. Websites could add the attribute (rel=”nofollow”) to that type of link, and the linked website would no longer receive any kind of SEO benefit from their comment. It’s not just online comments that have been affected by no-follow links; many blogs that accept guest posts now use these no-follow links to weed out marketers who might produce low-quality content just to get a link. And if you share a link on a social media site like Twitter, it’s also going to be no-follow.
4 Reasons Why No-Follow Links Pay
The good news is that the rise of the no-follow link isn’t cause for alarm. In fact, there are several good reasons why no-follow links can still have a direct impact on your business. Sites that use no-follow links tend to be higher quality. If you’ve ever visited a blog that features a lot of guest posts with do-follow links, you’ve probably noticed a common trend: those blog posts tend to be very promotional or even spammy and were often written with the intention of catering to search engines as opposed to catering to actual readers. You might get a link by posting on that type of site, but you’re not going to build your business’s credibility—and you probably won’t get too many people clicking that link to your website. Websites that only accept a few guest posts and have a no-follow policy tend to have greater authority as well as higher traffic. Other people can still link to your no-follow link. Even if a link isn’t giving your site any SEO juice, it’s still directing readers to relevant and useful information on your website (hopefully). If a reader checks out your link and decides that they like it, they may include it as a do-follow link in one of their own blog posts, and your site ends up coming by that SEO boost honestly. No-follow links can increase engagement with your linked content. Let’s say that someone checks out your no-follow link and doesn’t write their own blog post with a link—but they do leave a comment on your site, follow you on Facebook, or Tweet that link to your followers. All of this increases your exposure and puts your content in front of people who might not have otherwise seen it, and that’s certainly nothing to complain about. No-follow links can increase conversions. Look at it this way: even if a link is no-follow, it still encourages readers to engage with the linked content on your site. And if they like that content, they may discover more useful content on your site and continue to engage with you. Once you become a trusted authority for that person, they are more likely to purchase your products or services and to recommend you to friends.
The best philosophy for no-follow links is the same philosophy you should have with all your content marketing: when you produce quality content aimed at real people, you’ll benefit in terms of both search engine rankings and conversions as a result. The original idea behind the link was to connect readers with information that will enhance their understanding of the content you’re presenting, so focus on using your links to provide something that will benefit your readers rather than something designed simply to help you “get ahead” with your SEO.