We are up to week 3 of our SEO journey! I hope you’re enjoying it so far. As a recap, week one, we learnt all about what even is SEO, and why should we care? Then last week, we dived right in on the 8 things you should be doing in each blog post to increase your SEO.
This week, I wanted to delve a bit more into links and specifically no follow links. Last week, I talked about inbound and outbound links, but as a reminder:
- Inbound Links (also known as backlinks):
These refer to links which are from other websites which link to your site. This is a key factor in SEO. Seriously, it used to be the main factor but there have been a few tweaks. You want the links to your sites to be from reputable sites, i.e. you can’t set up a random website and put a whole heap of links back to your site just to increase your SEO (this is what dodgy SEO companies do!).
- Outbound Links:
These refer to links from your website to other sites. It’s good practice to include links outside of your site to other sites – they are seen as a natural part of a web page by google. But, remember every time you link to a site, you are giving them an endorsement as seen by google. Make sure you understand follow and nofollow links and use these wisely.
So what is a follow link?
A follow link is a link from one website to another. When you link to another site, essentially you are giving it your endorsement that what is on that site is good. You are giving it ‘link juice’ (which is the actual SEO term). By linking that blog, you help that blog and its SEO. Google will now think higher of it and it will be a positive factor for its page rank.
All links which you insert straight into your blog post are automatically ‘follow’ links. You have to alter the code to have a no follow link.
So what is a no follow link?
A no follow link, is again a link from one website to another. But this time, you are telling google, that you do not verify this link and you do not want to give it any ‘link juice’. By placing this kind of link in your blog posts, it does not help the other website in their SEO, and will have no impact on their page rank.
If you are still struggling to visualise this, think of every link you give to a website as giving it a gold coin. That gold coin is given to google and it increases traffic to that website. By using a no follow link, there is no gold coin there, and nothing to give to google.
So why should you care?
There are a couple of reasons:
1. Because you want to keep your link juice! Too many links from your site can look like spam to google. Only give your endorsement to websites and blogs which you personally rate.
2. Because it states in google guidelines that you cannot pay for links. So remember those people who are offering to help your SEO? They usually charge you to put lots of crappy links all over the internet. Well, google didn’t like this fake linking behaviour so specifically wrote guidelines against it. This means that you cannot take payment from a brand and put a follow link in your post to that brands website. They are paying you for a link.
So what can happen if you do? Well technically, you can be banned from google. This means your site will no longer appear in search results (which is pretty terrifying really!). If you aren’t banned then you may be penalised and moved down out of the top search results.
That means you need to be savvy about these things! I’ve heard arguments either way for when you received a product for review which you may or may not blog about depending on your opinion. But to be honest, I always like to be on the safe side, and as it says on my disclaimer, all links in brand related posts will be no follow.
So how do I insert a no follow link?
In wordpress, you can simply click on the ‘text’ tab in the top right hand corner, and amend the code for a link. The code for a follow link normally looks like this (without all the spaces):
< a href=”jasmincharlotte.com”> Jasmin Charlotte </ a >
For a no follow link you need to add the following:
< a href=”jasmincharlotte.com”; rel=”nofollow”> Jasmin Charlotte </ a >
You can see here, how to do this if you are using blogger.
You can also get a no follow plugin if you are on self hosted wordpress.
So there we have it, all I know about no follow links! What do you think about no follow links? Do you use them?
Check back next week for part 4 of the Bloggers Guide to SEO!