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How Do-Follow And No-Follow Work

Updated on May 6, 2009

What Is Do Follow and No Follow Mean?

Webmasters and web authors alike still seem to have some uncertainty about what Do Follow and No Follow really mean and how does it affect their webpages. Back in 2004, this wasn't even an issue. Every hyperlink in a web page was Do Follow, which means that search engine spiders looked at the links and said "Okay lets see where this goes, and since it is a link, lets give merit and search engine juice since a backlink is a backlink regardless of why it is on the page" Get it.. Do Follow.

Then in 2005 Googles "webspam" team, Matt Cutts and Jason Shellen came up with a clever little HTML attribute that would tell search engine spiders that certain links in a webpage should not be followed or given credit. No Follow is born.

What Does No Follow Do?

The No Follow HTML attribute: rel="nofollow" was another one of Google's creations, they have so many don't they? No Follow simply tells search engine spiders that the link with the No Follow atribute should not be followed, and the link should not affect the PR(page rank) of the site it is going to.

Some would say that page rank is no longer as important as in the past, it still holds some clout, but not near as much as before. In the past It told the search engine how important a site is over others, determining high search engine rank for some, and low ranks for others. Backlinks affect websites because the more quality backlinks, the more important a search engine values a page. But, Google added in a little fine print that said the backlink only provided value if it was a Do Follow link. No Follow links are worthless  as far as Google is concerned and are not to be considered as part of the equation.


What else does No Follow do?

Search engines also place value on the type of outgoing links on a webpage. A Webpage with a link to a bad neighborhood such as an affiliate marketing clickbank link could lower a webpages worthiness in the eyes of a search engine spider while a link going to an authority site would raise it.

To give respect to No Follow, if you are a blog or website owner, it cut down on some of the spam comments because spammers no longer were given backlinks to their spam websites. Thus, their spam websites had a harder time earning any sort of page rank and increasing visibility in PR.

But, for the most part spammers don't care. A spammer does very little work for backlinks. A software program with a few details entered in, and then left alone for a few hours will do all the work and spam thousands of websites and blogs. Not all search engines recognize No Follow, so to a spammer, a few minutes of work is worth the chance of some traffic from a smaller search engine. Plus, not all blogs allowed google to bully them into No Follow comments so the spammer is counting on a few of his spam posts to stick and still earn some merit with Google.

Do All Search Engines Use No Follow

Not all search engines recognize No Follow. It was a Google creation, and some of the big search engines put some merit and go by some or all of the No Follow rules.

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