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.

This way, when the search engine crawls a web page, it will feel free to pass the PageRank (link juice) to the other page it is giving a backlink.

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. As for nofollow backlinks, they are created when there is a “nofollow”, “ugc” or “sponsored” attribute in the HTML code.

Consequently, nofollow backlinks do not hint to the search engine to crawl or pass link juice.

On the other hand, the absence of any such attribute will make a backlink open, allowing the search engine to crawl, index, or transfer PageRank.

This way, a referring page uses a dofollow backlink as a “vote of confidence” for the referred 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

Backlinks send referral traffic to websites. This means visitors who click on links to your site from other sites.

All types of backlinks - dofollow and nofollow - have the potential to bring referral visitors. Even nofollow links can still be clicked on.

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 do I check the dofollow backlink?

If you want to check a dofollow backlink, right-click on the hyperlink and then click on the “inspect” option.

An HTML file will be opened. If the rel attribute is not present in the section of the anchor element tag (<a href), it is a dofollow backlink.

You can also check it the same way by right-clicking on the page and selecting “view page source”.

This shows the page's raw HTML code. Scroll to find the link you want to check. If you do not see rel=nofollow in the hyperlink code, then it's a dofollow link.

The bottom line

A dofollow backlink has no special code added to the HTML hyperlink. This allows search engines to fully crawl that link and pass SEO "link juice" to the linked page, giving it a rankings boost.

Meanwhile, nofollow links contain extra code like "rel=nofollow", telling search engines NOT to transfer SEO power or index the linked page.

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