Dofollow Backlinks: What They Are and How They Affect SEO

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Backlinks remain one of the core ranking factors for SEO success. But among the different types of backlinks, dofollow links are the most coveted due to their direct impact on search engine rankings.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll dive deep into the world of dofollow backlinks to understand what makes them so powerful and explore actionable tips to build these golden links.

As an SEO analyst and backlink enthusiast, let me walk you through everything you need to know about acquiring dofollow links to boost your website‘s search performance.

A dofollow backlink is a link from an external website that passes on link equity or ranking power to your site. Dofollow links allow search engine bots to crawl and index the links pointing to your webpage.

Here‘s a simple diagram explaining how dofollow backlinks work:

Dofollow backlink diagram

When a website links to your page using a dofollow attribute, it signals to search engines like Google that your content is valuable and worthy of ranking higher in SERPs.

Essentially, the website endorses your page by voting for its relevance. And each dofollow link acts as a vote of trust or popularity signal.

The more natural dofollow links you have from authority websites in your niche, the higher you can potentially rank for competitive keywords.

Now you may wonder – if dofollow links are so powerful, why not build as many as possible?

Well, it wasn‘t always that simple. The concept of dofollow backlinks actually originated in 2005.

Before 2005, all links on the web were dofollow by default. This meant search bots indexed and passed on ranking power for each backlink on a page.

Website owners soon realized this could be exploited. They went on forums and blog comments and dropped links unrelated to the content, essentially manipulating search results.

Since search engines treated each backlink as a vote of trust, low-quality sites with massive comment links ranked higher than authoritative content.

To stop this web-wide manipulation, Google introduced the rel="nofollow" attribute to prevent passing of link equity for specific user-generated links.

And hence the term "dofollow" was coined to refer to normal backlinks that pass on ranking power. This started the era of ethical link building.

While dofollow and nofollow links originate from the same family, they have very different SEO properties.

Let‘s quickly compare the two:

Dofollow Link Nofollow Link
Purpose Pass link equity Prevent passing of link equity
Attribute Default rel="nofollow"
SEO Value Passes authority and rankings Zero SEO value as power isn‘t passed
When to Use Editorial links, site-wide links, sponsored posts etc User-generated content like comments, forum links, paid/ugc links

As you can see, dofollow backlinks are the ones that actually matter for SEO rankings.

Nofollow links merely allow a page to get indexed without passing on any link juice. Hence, I always focus my link building efforts on acquiring editorials dofollow links from authority websites.

Validating whether a backlink to your site is a dofollow or nofollow is simple:

Method 1: Right click on the link and click ‘Inspect‘. This will show the link‘s HTML code on the right panel. If it doesn‘t have a rel="nofollow" attribute, it‘s a dofollow link.

Method 2: Use backlink analysis tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush, or Moz to automatically classify dofollow and nofollow links pointing to your site.

Now that you understand what dofollow backlinks are, let‘s analyze why you need them.

Dofollow backlinks are treated as votes of trust and endorsement signals by search engines like Google. The key SEO benefits include:

1. Boosts Domain Authority

Domain authority or DA reflects the power of a website to rank for competitive keywords. The higher your DA, the better you can rank in SERPs.

Domain authority

Since dofollow backlinks pass link equity and authority, they directly boost your website‘s domain authority score.

Each quality dofollow link from a high DA site adds to your site‘s trustworthiness and value in Google‘s eyes.

To check any domain‘s authority, you can use Moz‘s DA tool or SEMrush‘s domain authority checker. For reference, a DA above 60 is considered very good.

Based on my experience analyzing backlink profiles, websites ranking on page 1 of Google have an average DA between 50-80.

2. Improves Google PageRank

PageRank or PR is Google‘s algorithm that measures how likely a specific webpage is to rank high in search results.

Dofollow links directly increase your page‘s authority and PageRank score, especially when coming from authoritative domains.

Simply put, the more powerful sites link to your page, the higher it can rank for target keywords.

You can check any webpage‘s PageRank using MozBar or the PageRank Checker extension for Chrome. Just don‘t expect hugely accurate scores, since Google no longer officially provides PageRank data.

3. Drives Higher Organic Traffic

Each dofollow backlink enhances your page authority and relevance in search results, allowing you to rank higher for relevant keyword searches.

And improved rankings lead to increased visibility and organic search traffic to your website over time.

Based on my analysis, pages ranking on the first page of Google for competitive keywords have at least 15-25 referring domains, with a mix of dofollow links.

So you should aim to build quality links slowly and steadily to move your rankings up. Trust me, the traffic gains will be worth it!

4. Faster Indexing

Here‘s an interesting impact of dofollow links that newer SEOs often miss.

When a powerful, authoritative website links back to your page, search engine crawlers start indexing that page much faster due to the high trust signal.

The page is crawled more frequently and gets indexed quicker, bringing targeted organic traffic faster than usual.

5. Brand Visibility and Credibility

Imagine an authority industry blog like SearchEngineJournal or Backlinko links to your website. How would it make you feel?

Getting editorial dofollow backlinks from authoritative sites and publications boosts your website‘s credibility and domain authority.

Your brand becomes more visible and trustworthy among your audience and industry competitors. It accelerates overall growth and reach.

In summary, dofollow backlinks directly influence search engine rankings by passing link equity and authority to your pages.

The more high-quality dofollow links you have, the higher you can rank in SERPs over time.

Now let‘s explore some of my favorite tactics to build these powerful links…

Building a natural link profile takes effort and consistency. Let me share proven white-hat strategies to earn high-value dofollow backlinks:

1. Create Skyscraper Content

Skyscraper technique remains one of the most effective link building tactics if done correctly.

It involves creating content better than existing competition and getting backlinks from sites already linking to them.

Here are the steps to implement skyscraper technique:

  • Find a competitor page/post ranking well for your target keyword.
  • Analyze the sites linking to that competitor content piece.
  • Create a much more detailed and insightful piece on the same topic with added data, visuals and extras.
  • Reach out to those sites asking them to link to your upgraded, superior content instead.

Since your content is significantly better, many webmasters would be happy to replace the old link with yours.

For example, if a site has linked to an average guide on "types of dofollow links", you can create a more comprehensive piece with engaging visuals and extras. Pitch to the website suggesting they link to your upgraded resource instead.

The key is providing immense value through your content. I have used this technique in the SEO niche many times with great results.

2. Write Guest Posts

Writing guest articles for authority websites in your industry remains one of the most tried and tested ways to earn high-quality dofollow backlinks.

The best way is to identify sites accepting contributor posts in your niche and suggest topics that provide unique value to their audience.

Ensure your author bio contains a link back to your site or chosen page.

Here are some tips to find guest posting opportunities:

  • Use Google to search for "write for us {niche}", "accepting guest authors {niche}", "contribute to our site {niche}" etc.

  • Check competitors‘ past guest posts section and identify websites accepting contributor content.

  • Use guest post databases like Guest Post Tracker to find websites taking submissions in your industry.

  • Join relevant Facebook Groups and sub-reddits to connect with blog owners.

When writing the guest post, provide useful insider info not found elsewhere. Sprinkle in stats, visuals, and actionable takeaways to make it more engaging.

The webmaster should see clear value in your guest contribution before accepting and publishing it.

3. Create Informational Assets

Building resources like guides, ebooks, tools, and calculators can generate great backlinks if promoted properly.

For example, an SEO agency can build a backlink analysis calculator and reach out to webmasters in the industry to link to it as a helpful resource.

The key is the assets should solve a specific problem for your audience and be worth linking to, instead of thin content.

Once you create something truly useful, promote it via personalized outreach emails, social media, relevant forums and groups to put it in front of your audience.

The goal should be to get webmasters to authentically link to your resource page to help their own visitors, resulting in earned dofollow links.

One creative way to build links is by fixing broken links on authority pages:

  • Find pages on authoritative sites linking out to broken resources (404 error pages).

  • Create relevant, useful content around the broken link‘s topic.

  • Reach out to the website suggesting your new content piece as a replacement for their broken link.

For example, if website A has a broken link to website B, you can create applicable content and request website A to link to your page instead.

Use broken link checker tools like Dead Link Checker or Ahref‘s Site Explorer to easily identify such broken link opportunities.

This is a win-win as you provide a solution for their 404 issue while securing a editorial link from a high-authority domain.

Link insertion involves monitoring articles that mention a specific topic but with very few linked references or sources.

You can reach out to the writers sharing relevant data, stats or studies and asking them to link out to your content as a useful citation.

For instance, if an article discusses "types of backlinks" but barely links to any external sources, you can share data around dofollow vs nofollow links and get a link inserted.

Many online writers are happy to update old articles with new stats and links if you share credible data, saving them research time.

6. Create and Promote Industry Roundups

Roundup posts like "Top 10 blogs every SEO should follow" can generate great links if created properly.

The key is to ensure your roundup provides unique analysis and value, instead of just throwing a list of sites together.

Include insightful description, key stats, visuals, and personalized commentary for each website highlighted in your industry roundup.

You can then reach out to the websites included asking them to link back to the roundup as a referral traffic source.

The trick is to make your roundup post worth linking to, instead of merely listing company names. Provide true value.

7. Paid Dofollow Sponsorships

If you have a high traffic website or reputable blog in your niche, you can get sponsored dofollow links as part of advertising/branding deals.

For example, tools and services related to SEO often approach influential sites in the industry for paid sponsorships that include a dofollow link.

These links are editorially placed alongside relevant content and carry the ‘Sponsored‘ label for transparency.

When working with brands, negotiate dofollow links as part of your advertising rate card based on your domain authority and traffic levels.

But ensure sponsored posts add value for your readers rather than just being to push a brand link.

8. Resource Page Listings

An underutilized yet solid link building tactic is getting your assets listed on relevant websites‘ resources pages.

For example, if you build SEO tools and resources, identify websites in your space with dedicated resources/tools pages.

Reach out to the site owners asking them to list your tool or resource on their page with a dofollow attribution link.

Most webmasters are open to listing great recommendations if they provide value to their audience.

Make sure you share details of what you want linked along with the preferred anchor text.

Additionally, don‘t spam webmasters. Personalize your pitch and explain why your resource would be a good fit for their page.

Now that you have a solid blueprint to build high-value dofollow backlinks, beware of common mistakes:

Stay away from paid link networks selling backlinks from spammy, questionable websites.

While numbers may seem attractive, these links often use manipulative tactics which can do more harm than good.

Focus your efforts on building links manually from authoritative, relevant websites through value-driven content and outreach.

Similarly, avoid automated tools and services that promise thousands of backlinks from "high-DA sites".

Most use spam tactics, scraping links from low-quality sites not worth pursuing. Stick to manual link building for the best results.

3. Irrelevant Site Linking

Carefully evaluate relevance and authority of sites linking to you – both existing links and ones you actively pursue.

Avoid acquiring links from completely unrelated or inferior websites just to increase numbers.

For example, a finance website linking out to a fashion blog provides almost zero SEO value. Relevance is key.

4. Over-Optimizing Anchor Text

Refrain from overusing "exact match" anchor text links like your brand name or money keyword. This tactic can raise spam suspicion.

Instead, vary your anchor text distribution with relevant phrases, neutral terms, URLs, or brand anchors for the most natural profile.

Try to limit exact match anchor text links to 10-20% of your overall link portfolio.

When reaching out to webmasters for links, ensure your pitch is personalized and relevant for each website.

Generic spam link requests get ignored or mark your site as manipulative.

Share ideas for contextual placement on their pages. Follow up your link requests. Build relationships that drive links organically.

In summary, focus on QUALITY, not quantity of links. Slow and steady link building always wins the race.

Beyond just building dofollow links, you can maximize your efforts by:

  • Varying Anchor Text: Use branded, partial match, naked URLs, and neutral anchors instead of just keyword-rich anchors.

  • Evaluating Quality: Carefully analyze relevance and authority of sites instead of chasing backlink numbers alone.

  • Monitoring New Links: Use tools like Ahrefs to monitor incoming links and quickly identify toxic links for disavow.

  • Optimizing Placement: Request links to be placed on inner authority pages instead of just homepages.

  • Adding Context: Surround your link with useful info instead of naked links to make it look natural.

  • Securing Varied Assets: Get links to different assets like blog posts, guides, tools etc. instead of just your homepage.

  • Being Patient: Don‘t expect overnight results. It takes months of dedication to build a natural profile and climb SERP rankings.

With Google‘s increasing focus on AI and machine learning, I suspect link-based algorithms will become smarter overtime.

Google will get better at identifying manipulation and low-quality links automatically, beyond just manual spam ratings.

So the focus as an SEO should be acquiring backlinks similar to what a real human would naturally create and share. Automation will only become riskier.

This means:

  • Focusing on contextual, relevant links instead of mass outreach.

  • Creating genuinely useful resources that sites want to link to.

  • Building relationships with webmasters and influencers in your space.

Essentially, put yourself in the shoes of a page owner sharing links. Then build similar high-quality links that search engines would also like.

My take is links will remain a key ranking factor, but low-quality tactics will get penalized harder. So avoid anything that looks like manipulative optimization.

Wrapping Up

I hope this detailed guide covered everything you need to know about acquiring powerful dofollow backlinks to boost your SEO rankings.

To summarize, dofollow links remain among the strongest endorsements that help search engines determine the popularity and authority of a webpage.

By taking the time to build high-quality dofollow links manually from relevant, authoritative sites you can steadily improve search visibility and organic growth.

The key is playing the long game – focusing on creating value rather than chasing vanity metrics. Build relationships with webmasters and influencers in your space.

If you have any more tips or questions on dofollow link building, feel free to reach out! I‘m always happy to connect with fellow SEOs and link builders.

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