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Congrats! A big named fashion blogger mentioned your beauty product in their weekly roundup. You pass this on to your digital marketing team and they tell you it’s a no-follow link. Um, whatever it’s a link! Am I right? Although some SEOs are extremely disappointed seeing a no-follow attribute, there are many benefits to having a no-follow link added to your backlink profile.

Before we get into the benefits of a no-follow link, lets break down the overall excitement of gaining backlinks. The graph below shows Link Features (PageRank, trust metrics, links, anchor text, and quality of link sources) as the most influential elements when it comes to ranking in the SERPS. So, yes, links are very essential for a website!

Google Ranking Factors

Now that we understand links are essential, what is the difference between followed and no-followed links?

Followed Links

These are links that count as votes of authority and pass “link juice”. Link juice is a phrase meant to explain the flow throughout sites via hyperlinks. When your site receives a followed inbound link (a hyperlink pointing from their site to your site), that page gets a small SEO boost. In other words, links are votes of authority and the more followed links you have pointing to a page, the more votes. The more authoritative the site, such as WWD or Instyle, the more link juice passes to the linked-to site.

No-Followed Links

These are links that DO NOT pass link juice to the linked-to site. To find out if your link is “no-followed”, right click the hyperlink (arrow) inspect (arrow) and if it is no-followed, you will see something highlighted like this: <a href=”http://www.website.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Link Text</a>

So, why does the no-follow link even exist? What’s the point?

There were, and still are, SEOers that practice “Black Hat” link building tactics. Black hat is an aggressive approach to gaining links (usually spammy/low quality links) to quickly boost their site rankings. This can be equated to a fad diet. You can crash diet for a week and lose a few pounds, but once the crash diet is over, you will gain all the weight back, plus some! These spammy links might help in the short term, but will definitely affect the site once Google’s algorithm catches on and potentially penalizes the site.

Thanks for the preaching session, but seriously what’s the benefit of a no-follow link?

via GIPHY

Referral traffic, brand awareness, social shares!

So you got your beauty brand mentioned on a fancy fashion site, and it’s a no-follow link. After reading this, you understand the link doesn’t directly help with PageRank, but keep checking your referral traffic and you will be quite pleased. Huge sites that actively engage their audience build a lot of trust when it comes to brand mentions (hint the no-followed links on their sites).

Also, keep a look out for social mentions and comments generated from the article. These could lead to bloggers writing spin offs on their personal sites. These spin offs could include followed links as well!

The key takeaway from the importance of links is remembering the bigger picture. Yep, getting brand awareness. Also, gaining no-follow links diversifies your backlink profile, which makes it look “healthy” in the eyes of search engines. You don’t want to go on that crash diet and look worse off in the end. Organically building that year-long summer bod will outrank your competitors in the end.

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