Off-Page SEO

Dofollow Backlink

Shahid Maqbool

By Shahid Maqbool
On Jun 6, 2023

Dofollow Backlink

What is a dofollow backlink?

A dofollow backlink, also commonly known as follow backlink, does not have any additional attribute (e.g. nofollow, ugc, or sponsored) in the HTML file. 

It will suggest the search engine pass link juice to the page while on the other hand, if one adds a rel attribute to the HTML file, it will not be a dofollow backlink because the attribute will suggest the search engine restrict its activity.

It means that by default, every backlink that you create for others or others create for you is a dofollow backlink.

When a search engine crawls a web page, it will make a decision on whether to pass on PageRank (link juice) to the linked page or not.

History of dofollow backlinks

In the past, every backlink was a dofollow backlink, which meant that it passed PageRank to the linked page.

However, since the introduction of the nofollow attribute in 2005, the scope of dofollow backlinks has been limited.

The nofollow attribute was created to give webmasters the option to signal to search engines that they did not want to pass PageRank to the linked page.

This was done in an effort to combat spam and prevent low-quality websites from unfairly benefiting from backlinks.

Difference between dofollow and nofollow backlinks

There is a distinct difference between follow and nofollow backlinks. Nofollow backlinks are indicated by the presence of a “nofollow” attribute in the HTML code.

This tells search engines not to follow the linked page or pass any link juice.

In contrast, the absence of any attributes indicates a dofollow backlink, which allows search engines to crawl, index, and pass PageRank to the linked page.

A referring page uses a dofollow backlink as a “vote of confidence” in the quality and relevance of the linked page.

It's worth noting that while dofollow backlinks can provide a significant boost to a page's search engine rankings, nofollow backlinks can still provide valuable referral traffic and help increase visibility.

A successful link-building strategy should aim to include a mix of both dofollow and nofollow backlinks from a variety of high-quality sources.

Importance of dofollow backlinks

In SEO, dofollow backlinks are crucial and are more valuable than nofollow backlinks.


The first thing that everyone looks for when they get a dofollow backlink is authority. You can call it PageRank, link juice, or the value that a page transfers to another one because of a dofollow backlink; it implies that the page has passed the authority.

Crawling and indexing

Crawling is simply finding and checking the content of a page by a bot, and indexing is saving that page in the database of the search engine, making the page discoverable in the future.

Dofollow backlink enables a page that is getting a backlink to be crawled and indexed by search engines. 

However, starting from March 1, 2020, Google stated that the nofollow attribute would serve as a hint for both crawling and indexing purposes rather than a directive.

Google on link attributes

Referral traffic

The traffic that comes through linking is the referral traffic, and backlinks are the best way to attract it.

It is not only to do with dofollow backlinks since every type of backlink can generate referral traffic.

How does a dofollow backlink appear?

HTML (hypertext markup language) structures a webpage, and the rel attributes (e.g. nofollow, ugc, sponsored) appear in the webpage/URL code. A normal code without attributes is a dofollow code and appears like this:

<a href="">xyz</a>

The starting “<a href” element specifies that the URL is a hyperlink, and it goes to another page.

In addition, in the text of the content, the dofollow backlink appears as a general backlink which can be either nofollow or dofollow. It is the clickable text that is highlighted either by different font colour, size, or style.

How to check the dofollow backlink?

To check if a web page has a dofollow backlink, you can right-click on the hyperlink and select the "inspect" option.

This will open the HTML file, and if the rel attribute is not present in the section of the anchor element tag (<a href), it is a dofollow backlink.

Alternatively, you can right-click on the page and choose the "view page source" option to check for the absence of the rel attribute in the hyperlink's HTML code.

The bottom line

A dofollow backlink is a hyperlink without any additional attributes in the HTML code, allowing search engines to follow, index, and pass link juice to the linked page.

Dofollow backlinks are more valuable than nofollow backlinks in SEO because they can pass authority, enable crawling and indexing of the linked page, and generate referral traffic.

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