Follow / NoFollow links and what they mean for bloggers

Up until a couple of months ago, follow and no follow links confused the hell out of me and its likely you’re in the same position now if you’re reading this; eventually i got a grasp of them but it was only after reading a list of quite complicated articles all written by SEO professionals. It got me thinking that it needed to be simplified, heres my guide to Follow and no follow links for bloggers, written by a blogger. 

I really don’t want to over complicate this but you do need a tiny bit of background knowledge to get what i’m talking about, but don’t panic, i’m going to try and make this as painless as possible.

First things first you need to know what a domain authority score or DA score is; to put it in the most simple terms its a score on a scale of 1-100 which says how well your blog preforms on search engines. For example twitter has a DA score of 100 because when you search for anything in google its likely you’ll get a twitter result somewhere quite high up on the list of results. A brand new domain would only have a score of 1, likely because nobody has really been on the site and nobody has linked to the site.

This brings us to how you increase your DA score. This is something really frustrating and confusing because the best way to increase your DA is largely out of your control, your DA score is largely dependant on links pointing to you blog. So the more people who link to your blog = the higher your DA score.
This is where follow and no follow links come in!

A follow link : A link which tells google to count this link when calculating a websites DA score, basically the link will add points to someones score. 

A no follow link : A link which google will know not to count when calculating a DA score, this link will not add anything to a websites DA.

Are we still here? On the same page?? Basically people want a higher DA, you want your blog or website to appear high up on search engines, right? That means you want a higher DA and follow links are the way to get there..ish.

So heres where bloggers come in and why it even matters to us:

Many PR companies pop up in my email inbox working on behalf of some really great brands and obviously I’m excited but the same thing keeps happening, they keep asking me to use follow links.
You can only use a follow link in a blog post if for example you’ve bought the product yourself or have no affiliation with the brand / website you’re writing about.

In many cases the PR companies are offering to send me products for review which means i haven’t bought the product with my own money and am linked to the brand; therefore it is against google guidelines for me to use a follow link.

The important bit:

If you’ve received a product for free you cannot use a follow link, google sees the product you’ve received as an incentive to use a follow link and you are then wrongfully influencing a website’s DA. Its kinda like google bribery.

By all means, if you buy a product in a shop and want to write a blog post and use a follow link theres no problem, its all about DA scores only being made up of genuine links. If google didn’t have these guidelines in place companies could literally pay people to link to them, giving them a high DA score but an unreliable one. Search engines would give a whole load of irrelevant results if google didn’t have these filters in place.

What happens if i use a follow link when i’ve received something for free or am sponsored to create the post? 

If a company/brand has asked you to use a follow link and you do it you’re going against google guidelines, if google bots pick up on your use of a follow link google may punish you in a way by stopping your blog appearing on search engines.

Things to remember:

You only have a proper DA score if you own a domain, for example i have a DA score because i own however if you have a .blogspot or other address your DA will be inaccurate and you might get a result based on your hosted sites DA. 

You can check your blogs DA score here, if you want! 

So, are you still with me? I hope i’ve answered the follow/no follow question in easy and simple terms, if theres something you’re still wondering feel free to leave it below and i’ll try my best to answer it. – Maria x

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  1. February 8, 2017 / 4:21 pm

    I've been wondering this for so long! It's all so confusing πŸ™ how do you know if your link is a follow or non follow one??

    • February 8, 2017 / 4:29 pm

      Hiya, basically the link will have something along the lines of rel="nofollow" or "dofollow" Also there are a load of plugins you can get which check links for you x

      • March 16, 2018 / 7:00 pm

        Yes that’s is how you do it and also to clarify.

        There is no β€œdofollow” attributive in HTML markup as such. If a link has β€œnofollow” it is a nofollow link, obviously πŸ™‚

        All link that do not have this attribute are naturally what we call DO FOLLOW links. They pass link juice.

  2. February 8, 2017 / 6:15 pm

    It definitely gets confusing and I see lots of people asking what the difference is so I think many people will be grateful for this post πŸ™‚


    • February 8, 2017 / 11:16 pm

      Yeah thats what i thought too, thanks for reading! x

  3. February 8, 2017 / 6:26 pm

    I'm slowly starting to get to grips with all of this, what really bugs me is the fact brands will email you wanting to offer you something to review but as soon as you mention you can't put their link up as do follow thats it they don't want to know anymore.

    HAYLEY || Echo Luna Luxe

    • February 8, 2017 / 11:17 pm

      Thats the worst thing, i always reply politely but kind of implying "you know you shouldn't be asking me to do that" ahaha x

  4. February 8, 2017 / 6:55 pm

    Thanks for this post! It has helped loads.

    So basically if I receive a product for free to review I shouldn't put any link to their website? Or product? Or is the link something that gets sent to you via the PR or Company to use? Thanks πŸ™‚ x

    • February 8, 2017 / 11:19 pm

      No problem! No its completely fine to link to the website, just don't use a follow link if you've received the product and are working with a brand – its fine to use a no follow link if you have been sent an item or are being sponsored. Yeah usually they'll provide the follow link if they want you to use it, thats something that is always a warning sign for me, they'll usually ask you if you'll be willing to use a link before agreeing to work with you x

  5. February 8, 2017 / 7:03 pm

    YEY for this post! I already had an idea about the link thing but this just cleared it up for me and now I know that I'm doing it the right way. And thanks for the link, this helped me find out that someone didn't link my blog right although it was promised ;).
    Lea, xx

  6. February 8, 2017 / 7:42 pm

    Hey, Maria! I hope you don't mind my addition to your comment earlier. This is so important for bloggers to know, especially when it's so easy to forget to add the no follow. Sometimes we'll just be typing away, and not give the links a second thought.

    The Crimson Cardigan

    • February 8, 2017 / 11:20 pm

      No problem at all, I love everyones helpful input! Thank you x

  7. February 9, 2017 / 9:03 am

    Thanks for this post. That has clearly explained what I was not clear of.
    Not that it happens to me, but if I was sent a product to review then I can mention the brand but not share any links to it?
    Obvs if you get sent something you want to let people know where it's from, but not share any direct links, right?
    Thanks again for the post πŸ™‚

    • February 17, 2017 / 7:01 pm

      No problem, if you get send a product you can link to the brand it just has to be a no follow link, you can change a regular link to a no follow link by hitting the "add rel= no follow" button on the add a link section on blogger. If you dont use blogger you have to manually enter the link via html code by using this line of code : < a rel="nofollow" href="; >

  8. February 9, 2017 / 11:45 am

    Thank you! This post is really helpful! As silly as this may sounds, (I still have a lot to learn) when you say a follow link, is that just typing a websites name or linking a site into certain words on your blog or is it more technical than that to actually make something a follow link? Sorry if that makes no sense what so ever! I never knew the google rules so that's good to know! πŸ™‚
    Thank you

    • February 9, 2017 / 11:47 am

      Sorry just read the rest of the comments! I get it now!! Again, this post was so helpful! Thank you!!

    • February 17, 2017 / 7:02 pm

      no problem, glad the other commenters were helpful as well! x

  9. February 11, 2017 / 12:31 pm

    This post has cleared a lot of things up for me, thank you! If I'm an affiliate for a company and paid for the product myself, is it still ok to have a follow link?

    Neelam | xx

    • February 17, 2017 / 7:03 pm

      hum thats a good question! I'm pretty sure you'd still have to use a no follow link just because you're benefiting from linking to the brand x

  10. February 17, 2017 / 11:04 am

    Ok I thought I was bit more clued up after reading post but after the comments I'm confused again πŸ™ So if a PR send you something to review you can still put links to their website on your blog right? Just not the links they send to you to put on. Also, does this apply to YouTube in anyway? If you were to review something on your video are you still able to put links to direct to their website? Xh

    • February 17, 2017 / 7:06 pm

      ahaha no worries, when you get a sent a product you can link to the brand but the link has to be a no follow link. If you use blogger its very easy to make a no follow link, you just have to hit the "rel=no follow" button just underneath where you normally enter your link. If you use another hoster you may have to enter it via html code where you have to input this code to make it a no follow link : < a rel="nofollow" href="; > and yeah youtube isn't effected, normal links will do x

  11. February 22, 2017 / 6:37 pm

    This post was really helpful! There are so many different terms in blogging and my gosh can it get confusing! I really have a lot to learn but appreciate when other bloggers make posts like these!

    Shannon //

    • February 23, 2017 / 4:01 pm

      Thank you so much! It can get super confusing i love reading posts like this so thats really why i wanted to start making them, we can all get through understanding it together ahaha x

  12. February 24, 2017 / 2:36 pm

    This is the most comprehensive explanation I've read, and I've read a ton! Google's own explanation was awful and didn't help me at all. I still think it'll take me a while to get the hang of it, but I'll definitely use this as a reference! 😊

    Amanda |

    • February 24, 2017 / 8:21 pm

      aw thats great to hear thank you! Its still a really confusing topic for me, i think we're all still learning! x

  13. March 6, 2017 / 11:23 am

    Again, SUPER helpful. Thank you so much! It now makes so much sense why people get annoyed on twitter for 'big' youtubers and bloggers using follow links when they get so many PRs/gifted products!!

    Sincerely, Sarah xx

    • March 6, 2017 / 5:43 pm

      aw i'm so happy its helpful! Yeah its really wrong to do and they could get in serious trouble! x

  14. March 10, 2017 / 4:17 pm

    This post is so helpful, explains it better than anything else I've read! Is it possible on WordPress to dictate what type of link that you use? Thanks so much for sharing this!

    Sammy x |

    • March 20, 2017 / 4:56 pm

      Thank you, glad to hear its helpful! Yeah you just have to add it into the line of code < a href="; > in the html version of your post, every link is a follow link by default so on wordpress you need to add in that code to make it a no follow x

  15. March 17, 2017 / 11:34 pm

    This was SO helpful! A lot of brands have asked me to use "no follow" links and I'm always lost as to what it means! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Stephanie //

    • March 20, 2017 / 4:57 pm

      Thats great! Yeah thats quite a good thing because it means they know the side of the rule they should be on, its when they ask me to use follow links that it gets annoying ahah! x

  16. March 19, 2017 / 4:48 pm

    I've been looking for a simple explanation, thank you!!!

  17. March 19, 2017 / 5:22 pm

    Great explanation which makes everything seem 100% clearer, thank you for this post.

    Gemma Louise

    • March 20, 2017 / 4:59 pm

      thats exactly what i wanted to do, thank you! x

  18. March 21, 2017 / 6:38 pm

    Wow this was so helpful I actually had no idea about any of this I just saw your post pop up on my twitter feed.. glad I read it. Thankyou!

    Kirsty x |

    • March 22, 2017 / 2:37 pm

      Yeah a lot of people either have no idea or are just confused about the topic, happy to help! x

  19. March 23, 2017 / 3:32 pm

    So how do I know if something is a follow or no follow link? For example and company have just asked me to review their products and have given me a link to post that'll lead people to their website. How can I tell if it's a follow link? Thanks! X


    • March 24, 2017 / 10:44 am

      Hiya, so all links are follow links by default, so for example if you copy and paste a link from google it'll be a follow link. To make a link a no follow link you have to tick the box that says something along the lines of "add rel no follow attribute" which appears in the box you use to add links in blogger. By ticking that box it'll do the work for you an turn any link into a no follow! x

    • March 24, 2017 / 10:45 am

      aw no problem, its a really confusing area, glad its helpful for you! x

  20. April 4, 2017 / 10:01 am

    Dear Maria,
    Thanks for this very helpful blogpost. Even though I already know all the bascis about follow and no follow links it was very interessting to read. You used very simlpe words so that everyone can understand.

    I have still some question to ask and I hope you can help me.
    How do you create a no follow link? I use a website which helps me to create the html…is this right?
    I have a .blogspot adress and I own which leads to my .blogspot adress… do you know what does this mean to my DA score?

    Xx Sarah

    • April 4, 2017 / 12:42 pm

      Yeah its probably fine to use the website that creates a no follow link, alternatively if you use blogger you can click the "add rel no follow" box underneath where you add your link, that will turn it into a no follow.

      Your DA score will only refer to your domain name so it'll refer to your website where your blogpost address directs to, so when you check your DA score for your blog it'll only refer to your domain name rather than your blogspot address. Thats the same set up i have and it doesn't effect anything x

    • April 5, 2017 / 10:00 am

      Thanks for that!!!! I did not know that I can I have the option to create a no follow link on blogger…. now it's so much easier πŸ™‚

      XX Sarah

  21. April 5, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    Really simple explanation of Domain Authority, thanks – the exerts do seem to overcomplicate these things sometimes

    • April 9, 2017 / 6:29 pm

      They really do over complicate things, thats why i made this because i thought wow i could've really done with a simpler explanation when i was figuring it out! Thank you for reading! x

    • April 9, 2017 / 6:31 pm

      No problem! I really wanted to write it in a way that i could understand, i felt like there wasn't much info on it directed towards bloggers who weren't already SEO literate! x

  22. April 7, 2017 / 11:51 pm

    Maria, this was just a great post and so useful, I had no idea what this meant until now that I read your post, I have been blogging for about a year now and it sometimes difficult to understand a lot of the technical stuff. Thanks!

    • April 9, 2017 / 6:32 pm

      aw thats so great to hear thank you so much, it can get very technical but i wanted to produce something that everyone would understand.. even me ! ahah x

  23. April 13, 2017 / 10:10 am

    This is so helpful! Thanks for making it clear and simple for us non-SEO-savvy bloggers! Can I ask, how do you make a link into a follow or no follow link?

    Beccah xx

    • April 13, 2017 / 11:13 am

      So glad it's helpful! It depends whether you're using blogger or wordpress but if you're on blogger you can just click the check box that says something along the lines of "add rel no follow" which appears in the box where you add links. If you're using wordpress you have to add the link into this line of code < a rel="nofollow" href="; > – Hope that helps! x

  24. April 25, 2017 / 4:54 pm

    I knew about no follow and follow but I did not know about that you could not use a sponsored post!

    • April 26, 2017 / 1:57 pm

      aw good to hear you learnt something new! x

    • May 2, 2017 / 1:47 pm

      Aw i'm so glad it's helpful! Yeah they are so annoying but they're definitely there ahah! x

  25. April 30, 2017 / 3:22 pm

    This is so helpful! I never really gave the follow/no-follow links much thought before this. Thank you for clearing this up.

    Aria x

    • May 2, 2017 / 1:48 pm

      Great to hear, yeah i think they can be forgotten about but they are important! x

  26. May 2, 2017 / 3:41 pm

    Thank you for this, I keep coming back to this post!
    But I have a simple question which may sound too basic ahah but here it goes:

    a standard link, which I've added nothing to, I've just basically copied and pasted from the brand's website – is that a follow link by default and I have to make it no-follow? Or it no-follow by default?

    Thanks again xx

    • May 3, 2017 / 4:35 pm

      Aw no problem! Noo thats a perfectly normal question ahah! Links are follow by default so you only need to change them if you specifically want them to be no follow x

  27. May 7, 2017 / 11:32 pm

    Thanks for this, I had a company ask to change my link to no follows and I didn't understand why. Great content!

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