Dofollow & nofollow links

Uit De Vliegende Brigade
Naar navigatie springen Naar zoeken springen

In SEO (Search Engine Optimization), dofollow and nofollow are terms related to link attributes, which influence how search engines treat the links. However, the terms "dofollow domain" and "nofollow domain" aren't standard SEO terminologies. Instead, you'll generally hear about "dofollow" and "nofollow" in the context of individual links.


By default, all links are "dofollow." This means that search engines will follow the link and pass "link juice" or "PageRank" from the linking page to the linked page. In essence, a dofollow link can be considered a vote of confidence or a recommendation from one website to another. These links can help improve the search ranking of the linked page.


Introduced by Google in 2005, the "nofollow" link attribute (rel="nofollow") tells search engines not to follow the link and not to pass any link juice or PageRank to the linked page. Initially, the nofollow attribute was introduced to combat comment spam on blogs. Over time, its use expanded to include any links that site owners didn't want to vouch for, such as links in advertisements, sponsored content, or user-generated content.


Wikipedia applies the rel="nofollow" attribute to most of the external links within its articles. This means that search engines are instructed not to follow these links for ranking purposes, and no "link juice" or PageRank is passed to the linked sites.

Reasons for doing so:

  • Prevent spam: Given Wikipedia's high authority and reputation in search engine rankings, making its links "dofollow" would attract a lot of spammers looking to benefit from the site's strong link equity. By making external links "nofollow," Wikipedia reduces the incentive for spammers to insert irrelevant or promotional links into articles
  • Neutrality: Wikipedia's main goal is to provide neutral, unbiased information. By using "nofollow" on external links, Wikipedia ensures that it isn't inadvertently influencing search engine rankings and is remaining neutral in the digital ecosystem.
  • Content Quality: The "nofollow" attribute helps ensure that editors and contributors add links because they enhance the content and provide verifiable sources, not because they want to boost the SEO of a particular site.

While the links from Wikipedia might not pass direct SEO value in terms of link equity, they can still drive referral traffic and lend credibility, as being cited on Wikipedia is often seen as a mark of a reliable and authoritative source.


Here's how you'd see the attribute in HTML:

<a href="">This is a dofollow link</a>
<a href="" rel="nofollow">This is a nofollow link</a>

When someone refers to a "dofollow domain" or "nofollow domain," they might be talking about a domain that primarily gives out dofollow or nofollow links, respectively. However, such terminology isn't standard in the SEO industry.

Other attributes

It's also worth noting that Google introduced additional link attributes in 2019, such as rel="sponsored" for advertising or sponsored links and rel="ugc" for user-generated content. These offer webmasters more granularity in classifying the nature of links, but the fundamental concept of guiding search engines on how to treat links remains the same.