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 www.mariaj.co.uk 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