It has been a highly debated topic for many years whether or not “No Follow” links have value in regards to SEO and your website’s overall search ranking. Some experts will say a “no follow” link cannot pass any link juice to your website or cannot effect your website Page Rank in anyway.
Others will say despite what you hear there is also plenty of evidence to support the fact that “No Follow Links” can and do have SEO value to your website. While a No Follow link may not directly affect your SEO ranking the same was as a follow link it can still lead to many things that will result in an SEO boost.
Being neutral I will always give my honest opinion based on personal experience and the success of client’s websites I do SEO work for. Read a little further for my thoughts there but either way No Follow Links will have value in your SEO linking strategy.
Links To Your Website Are Not Just About SEO: When creating links for your website the train of thought for many SEO works was “how will this boost my SEO rank” only. The original purpose of creating links wasn’t for Google but to drive traffic to your website and create awareness about your brand. When true SEO companies are working on a website the focus is bringing visitors to your website through a variety of different methods not just a Google search. New business or customers can often come straight from links you have from interesting or valuable content you post.
No Follow Links Give You A More Natural Link Profile: Google has always said websites will perform best when having a more natural looking link profile gathered from a variety of reputable sources. Not having many No Follow links would likely contradict this theory as people linking to your website will do so in a variety of different ways. There will be some SEO experts who say they’ve seen examples of websites that have high rankings with zero No Follow links and this certainly can be true. That being said if you investigate the top SEO companies in your city through Moz or any other link program you’ll find the vast majority have a healthy balance between the two. What SEO professionals say and do are not always one in the same remember that! A website that is receiving natural traffic will most likely result from No Follow links as well and likely do have value as long as they are coming from strong sources.
No Follow Links Can Still Attach You To Good Neighborhoods: An SEO company for example will likely belong to Warrior Forums or ( ) or () and a bunch of places which indicate they are part of a “good neighborhood”. As much as some SEO experts may say the only reason they are there is learn and mingle with the SEO community I think most people probably know better. When your are trying to create expertise in your field or authorship on certain subjects hanging out with good friends certainly can count. It’s the whole “it’s not what you know it’s who you know” theory all over again. Most of SEO experts highest domain rank and page rank links do come from high PR sources like this.
Links Lead to Other Links: A No Follow Link in itself may not always do a lot on its own but it’s the domino effect it can create which produces long term value. If a link simply brings a new unique visitor or two to your website you have increased your traffic which does play a difference in SEO rankings how could it not? A link however may also bring a user to your landing page or a valuable piece of content where someone may then link to your page there or share it through social media. One well placed no follow link (especially with the right title or call to action) can direct users to content that are more set up for “link bait” purposes which is an old and proven strategy.
If Social Shares Count Why Would No Follow Links Not?: It was also longly debated whether or not links or shares from social media have any bearing on SEO results. Many SEO experts who in the past have said no have changed their tune over the past couple years and for good reason. For the record most social media links are No Follow and don’t become a valid link until they are actually shared. That being said there are plenty of SEO pros who will tell you that they have achieved great rankings just through social media activity alone with no actual SEO work performed (and have evidence to prove it).
Citations Or Brand Mentions Now Have SEO Value As Well As Links: If you read many SEO trends of 2015 articles you’ll find that many people say having your brand name mentioned as a citation or in natural text can have the same value as a link. The point of this is to take the emphasis off just linking where all the web spam mess started to occur. If this is true natural text has no link or follow of any kind and Google will be able to detect either way. If this is the case there will probably be truth the fact that certain No Follow links will be read and given value IF they come from a respected source and they do not appear spam like in nature.
So after reading this article there is no question there is some personal theory thrown in with any facts presented. That being said anyone in SEO will tell you there is never one way to skin a cat and you can achieve SEO success through many different ways.
Caution should be exercised with No Follow links largely because they can be often too easy to attain through commenting on articles or blogs or other no earned sources.