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If you conduct SEO for your website, then you already know the value external links pointing back to your site provide. External links (links from other websites pointing back to your site) are the best way to attain SEO juice. This remains true because external links from high-ranking websites are simply hard to get–and due to the emergence of HTML “nofollow” tags it has become even more difficult.

no_followThis blog post is a reminder to consider “nofollow” tag use amongst websites you are targeting before putting time & effort into content generation for the purposes of external link attainment.

What is a “nofollow” tag? As stated on Wikipedia “nofollow is a value that can be assigned to the rel= attribute of an HTML a element to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index.” The point being, webmasters managing high-ranking websites and blogs are cautious about how much link juice they provide to anyone commenting or posting on their site smart enough to embed their website links within this content. The “nofollow” tag enables webmasters discretion on who they provide external link juice to. Therein lies the dilemma for you, the SEO expert, with a goal to attain external link juice for your website.

The reality is that we are all interested in getting new external links to our websites. It’s a prime way we gain exposure on search engines. Understanding that most important websites now contain “nofollow” tags on their links, and to identify this practice BEFORE you spend time creating content for these sites, is very important.

Make a habit of reading the HTML code within a website’s page source–it’s easy to see the “nofollow” tag within the link code. SEO analysis tools are another way to identify the “nofollow” attribute to external links coming into your site. Make it a goal to spend your time working with websites that will provide at least one external link (sans “nofollow”) in exchange for your informative, insightful content. This is an approach we have taken for a workplace safety client and it is working wonders for their SEO results.

On a final note, know and expect that you will acquire external links pointing to your site that contain “nofollow” tagging. Do not fret about it; it doesn’t appear that the search engines penalize this situation, but simply see this as a link that isn’t passing on the important link juice that you are looking for. There is a growing consensus that “nofollow” links pointing to your site indicate to search engines that you are sharing interesting content on the Internet, and that you are actively engaged in content sharing…it is therefore suggested that “nofollow” links do provide some benefit to your SEO results. Rule of thumb is, you want plenty of external links pointing to your site to achieve decent SEO, and doing so requires great content generation on your end by way of blogging, social media posting, forum commenting, etc. Just be sure that you are creating content for websites that actually provide external links without an abundance of “nofollow” tagging.

Chris Lamb

Chris Lamb

Chris Lamb is the president of Clickside Digital Communications, Inc. an Internet marketing agency & consultancy helping organizations meet their business-goals online. Clickside is based in Calgary, Canada.
Chris Lamb