There is a lot of buzz and debate going on in the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) world regarding whether or not to spend time grabbing nofollow links. For those who aren’t familiar with nofollow and follow, let’s sum it up in the simplest terms…nofollow links are links that do not affect your page’s PageRank in any way. These types of links can come from places like Wikipedia, Facebook, or Twitter. The argument about nofollow versus follow comes not from the speculation of whether or not it directly effects your site’s PageRank, but rather if it provides any value whatsoever to your site, including an indirect increase in your site’s PageRank.
Here’s our breakdown on the argument. If you’re really looking out for the best interest of your company, business, product, etc., you should be focused on the entire online representation and branding, not just a spot on the wall. While nofollow links may not contribute directly to an increase in your PageRank, they can help you in a number of ways. For example, Wikipedia is an authority site. It is extremely hard to get your site listed as a reference for a topic. You must provide unique, well-researched, and interesting content to be listed as a resource. If you are lucky enough to be able to do that, imagine the “authority” that is now given to your company. When people view a Wikipedia article about topic “X” and you are listed as a reference, the odds of getting increased traffic because you appear to be a knowledgeable resource are exponential. These types of links are getting harder and harder to obtain, which is why the sudden concern about whether nofollow links are something to concentrate on is now coming to fruition. As we all fight each other for the clout, should we actually be doing it? Or should we be focusing our SEO efforts on the “follow” links only?
Now, let’s look at it from another angle. You have your link at Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and you start getting referral traffic from that source. That’s the end goal, isn’t it? You want more traffic so you can gain more conversions. We’re all in business to make money. Here’s another catch though…while you may be getting referral traffic from these sites, you may also be getting “follow” links from qualified sites that are increasing your PageRank! If “Bob” sees your reference link on Wikipedia and currently has a site about a relevant topic with a PageRank that is higher than yours, and he puts a link up to your company’s site as a direct result of his interaction with Wikipedia…you may now be increasing your PageRank.
In all honestly, at any given point in time you will have different factions of your business concentrating on different pieces of your business. If one portion of your business is dedicated to SEO and organic listings only, go after those nofollow links. They won’t hurt you in the long run, other than cost you a little bit of time. A good idea may be to allocate how much time and resources you’d like to point in that direction based on results you are seeing. If you see a 25-35% increase in traffic because you’ve recently concentrated on obtaining nofollow links, AND you can back up your data using Google Analytics (or whomever you choose to track your site’s traffic) by looking at referral traffic, you may choose to spend an 2-3 hours a day going after these links. While it’s true that from a purely SEO standpoint “follow” links are the best, nofollow and follow links can both brand your company online and drive traffic to your website.
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