Guest Blogging for SEO: Are NoFollow Links Worth It?

If you’re like me, then you love guest blogging as a source to spread your name and site around while generating quality backlinks. If you aren’t sure about guest posting, or using it for link building, check out a previous post by Raaj that highlights his link building strategy.  Anyone who has tried guest blogging and/or SEO link building knows that the time and effort involved can add up, and it can be heart breaking to see your links get stripped or turned no-follow by the editor after you put your blood, sweat, and tears into an article. However, some evidence is suggesting that no-follow links might not be all bad, and getting a few can actually benefit your links list in Google’s all-knowing eyes.

What is a NoFollow Link?

Before Google cracked down on spam, blog comments were used to get tons of backlinks for sites. To combat this, the spam fighting team led by Matt Cutts designed the HTML code rel=”nofollow” which gets tacked onto a link. The nofollow attribution tells the web crawlers to not factor in the particular hyperlink into rankings. This helps web designers build a “cleaner” site for the crawlers since they can nofollow internal links, and stop their site from looking like a dumpster with all of the spammed comments. If your main goal for guest posting was to get a link, then nofollows can be disheartening. However, they can still be beneficial and should not be written off entirely. 

NoFollow Isn’t All Bad

It might seem counter intuitive  but getting nofollow links can actually help your blog. Now I’m not saying to go out and try to get nofollow links, since “dofollow” links are much more beneficial. Here are some reasons why nofollows are beneficial.

  • All Natural, Baby:

    Google has been on earth friendly kick lately, and this corresponds with how it treats links. The more natural your links list looks the better you will be off. Since nofollow links are typically not associated with SEO (unless it’s people complaining about them) getting some makes you look au naturalle (and yes, I realize that is the “wrong” phrase).

  • Out of site, but not out of mind:

    Just because Google’s crawlers ignore nofollow links for rankings, it doesn’t mean they don’t index them. While Google has not released how nofollow affects your ranking, having nofollow backlinks certainly can’t hurt.

  • Natural Traffic:

    This is probably the most important aspect of a nofollow link, and that is that it is still working! It looks no different to a user and clicking on it still brings them to your site. A page with a lot of authority can still drive a lot of traffic to your blog without helping your page rank.

  • Get Out and Meet People:

    Just because the link in the post might not count towards your ranking endeavors it doesn’t degrade from reaching a whole new reader base and potentially increasing your own readership. This should always be the most important part of guest posting and link building should come second.

Even though it has largely been turned into an SEO tactic, the roots of guest blogging are the most important aspect. Guest posting originally started out as a way for bloggers to interact with one another and share their ideas with new communities, and the core of this should be the driving reason behind why you guest post. If I repeat myself it is only because I want to drive the point home. Don’t be frustrated by nofollow links; accept them as they come and appreciate that you got a link at all. If you are unsure of how to spot a nofollow link, try installing Mozbar from SEOmoz and having it highlight any nofollow links on a certain page.

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Thomas McMahon is a writer who is passionate about white hat SEO, link building, and blogging. He is an online content producer for Page One Power, a relevancy first link building company.

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6 comments… add one

  • Reply Sarvesh December 13, 2012, 3:30 pm

    Hi Thomas McMahon,

    No Doubt guest blogging is an awesome and working way to generate good backlinks and we can also build online reputation. And interms to SEO dofollow and nofollows links are essential for ranking.
    Sarvesh recently posted..How to Choose an E-commerce Hosting Package for your BusinessMy Profile

  • Reply Rajkumar Jonnala December 16, 2012, 8:14 am

    Sir, in-fact no-follow links has some values as well but not equal to do-follow links. Even links in Facebook are no-follow links. Up to my knowledge getting links naturally from blogs is considered as the top priority for Google.
    Rajkumar Jonnala recently posted..Phones With Android Ice Cream SandwichMy Profile

  • Reply Thomas McMahon December 17, 2012, 2:51 pm

    You’re correct, nofollow links do provide some value (aka “link juice”) but nearly as much as dofollow links. Getting backlinks to your site by guest posting on blogs is a top priority for SEOs now since Google has stressed the importance of a natural links list and its fight against spam has been ramping up this last year especially. I wouldn’t say that it is a top priority for Google however, just those that try to influence SERPs with SEO.

  • Reply Leslie Dawson December 28, 2012, 1:30 pm

    Hi Thomas,

    I’d have to say that this article is quite comforting. :-) And it does confirm my belief that dofollow or nofollow, guest blogging truly is a means to tap other market segments which one may not have explored or permeated yet. I’ll continue doing so, then. :-)

    Leslie Dawson recently posted..Die or Diversify: SEO in 2013My Profile

  • Reply Thomas McMahon December 31, 2012, 2:29 pm

    Hi Leslie,

    You hit it on the head. While getting backlinks is a major plus to guest posting, the real benefit is providing great content for a new reader base to get to know you.


  • Reply Jessica March 10, 2013, 11:25 am

    Such a great yet interesting post. Thank you very much for sharing this very helpful stuff.

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