2014 SEO: Don’t Fear Nofollow Links
by Al Gomez
One of the most crucial things for an SEO agency are links. Some companies even mix paid with organic ones just to drive traffic for their clients. Besides page views, legitimate link-building serves other purposes such as: brand recognition and generating leads. While the number of black-hat strategies for obtaining links have been minimized, there’s a new technique that’s sprouting over the horizon: the popularity of the nofollow.
The Magic of a Nofollow
If you are in the SEO industry, you’re already familiar with the do’s and don’ts of nofollow links. In general, Google suggests using them for when:
- you can’t verify a site’s authenticity or content
- the page you’re linking to has untrusted comments from other viewers
- the page in question doesn’t require a follow (Sign Up pages and the like)
- such sites or sources contain paid links
Following these rules in mind, you can safely maximize a nofollow link for its intended purpose. Lately however, more and more webmasters and SEO experts are discovering the hidden magic behind these links. Apparently, they have other benefits aside from avoiding a penalty.
Nofollow are links nonetheless.
Perhaps in previous years, marketers and optimization agencies screamed whenever they’d get a nofollow link because of the notion that it’s useless. Why pay or bother to have your link on someone’s page if Google can’t crawl it anyway? However, this belief ignores the users (which by the way, are the main targets of search engines these days). The truth is: a nofollow link IS a link regardless of code. And people have the tendency to click on links they see. Perhaps it might not affect you in terms of PageRank, BUT it has the potential to get you page views.
Nofollow increases brand awareness and sales.
Whether it’s a link or just the brand name, your goal is to get your client the visibility he needs. And no task is too small. Again, this brings us back to just being seen by online users. As long as your link is out there, chances are high that people will click to see more. Take the example of strategist Nicole Kohler and the Buffer app. All it took for her to try the service was because of a nofollow link she saw on Twitter. Even if it took months before she became a paying customer, Buffer earned a good lead because their link was out in public.
Be Careful with Your Nofollow
Like all things magical, the nofollow spell should still conform to Google’s rules. Recently, there have been discussions about its usage due to a number of companies selling bundles of nofollow links. It may be a good strategy in terms of traffic; but it still needs to convey a sense of trust to users. You can’t deny the fact that when you see this type of link, the first thing that comes to mind is: ‘is this safe to click?’.
If you’re concerned about receiving spam comments, you may instruct websites to put a nofollow link. However, use it in moderation. As long as links are directly related and beneficial to your content, utilize the dofollow code. With this new finding about the power of nofollow links, a lot of strategists will pounce on this chance to get their clients to the top. If so, could this signal another Google penalty?
In conclusion, follow this simple rule when it comes to link-building: put your users first [Tweet Me!]. Employ dofollow and nofollow links as they are meant to be used.
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