Follow links v’s no follow links. What the **** does this mean?

Whether you’ve been Blogging for 5 minutes or much longer you’ll come across the follow link or no follow link question at some point and while it may initially sound confusing it actually doesn’t have to be.

As Bloggers we will inevitably link to other Bloggers, companies or websites at some point. It’s seen as a nice thing to do, you write a post about that Blogger who has inspired you so you link to their blog. Purchase a gift which the kids love and share this with your readership by linking back to the company website or visit somewhere and link back to the website while chatting about it on the blog.

This type of linking is called natural links, think of it as chatting at playgroup or in a coffee shop with a friend. You’ve purchased something or been somewhere you would like to talk about, would like to recommend to that friend so if this ‘chat or recommendation’ happens on your blog then when linking to that place/company you can use a follow link.

Follow links mean you’d like search engines to follow the link from your blog over to the site you are linking to. It means you trust the site you’ve linked to and are happy for your ‘link juice’ to recommend this site.

“Link juice is a colloquial term in the SEO world that refers to the power or equity passed to a site via links from external or internal sources. This power is interpreted as a vote of recommendation toward your site and is one of the most important factors in determining your site’s search ranking” –

Of course the higher your blogs DA the more value this ‘link juice’ holds.

Now the most common question in Blogging groups is when do you use follow links and when do you use no follow links.

As stated above follow links mean you’d like the search engines to see your recommendation for the link and to follow it from your site to theirs, passing on your recommendation/link juice. These should be used for natural recommendations, unpaid links.

If you’ve been given a product for review/free of charge in exchange for a blog post or social media mentions then Google says that the link you should be using is a ‘no follow’ link. This means you aren’t passing your ‘link juice’ to the company as essentially you’ve been paid to do so. The same goes for sponsored content, if you are paid by a company to write about their website (this can be payment on goods, vouchers or cash) Then Google states that link should be a ‘no follow’ link.

Of course, it is important to note that these are just Google’s rules on when to use these links, and whether you follow their recommendations is entirely up to you!  If you use follow links for paid posts, that is your choice…..and also remember that being hit by a Google penalty isn’t the end of the world. Many big Bloggers have been hit by such penalties but they can be reversed.

How to add a No-Follow attribute:

To add the ‘no follow’ attribute to links you can add the following code in the html of your posts ‘rel=no follow’, this is added just before the actual link, for example, if linking to BlogOn and you want that link to be no follow it will look like this in your html: 

<a href=”” rel=”nofollow”></a>

For WordPress blogs you can use a plugin to do this for you – I use No Followr, add your link as normal then once you’ve published your post view it while logged in and a green tick will appear next to the link, click this tick to change it to a red circle which makes it a no follow link.

For Blogger blogs there is a box which appears when you add your link, by selecting no follow it will make that link no follow for you.