How to See If a Link Is DoFollow or NoFollow?

Even in 2018 building backlinks are still very important. You should just be building quality backlinks.  Anyone buying packs of backlinks on Fiverr or another service is just asking for trouble, unless they know exactly that they are getting. My theory is, do the work yourself, and over time you will reap the benefits. That and you’ll be able to sleep sound at night without worrying about waking up to see that your domain has dropped off the face of Google.

Believe me, spending weeks digging through your backlink profile and disavowing links is not a fun process; I speak from personal experience.

What are DoFollow and NoFollow Links?

Follow Links or DoFollow

Links that count as points, pushing SEO link juice and boosting the page rank of the linked-to sites, helping them go higher in the SERPs as a result.

NoFollow Links

A link that does not count as a point in the page’s favor, does not boost PageRank, and doesn’t help a page’s placement in the SERPs.

Source: Follow Links Vs. No Follow Links: Should You Care?

A link is always dofollow unless the nofollow tag is manually added, either with code or by your CMS. For example, links in WordPress comments are automatically nofollow because the CMS makes them that way to try and reduce spam and people trying to game the system.

Now does that mean you should just disregard all links that are nofollow? Of course not. Many nofollow links, especially on high traffic and high PR sites can provide you with a lot of referral traffic. Example, your Pinterest URL on your board’s profile is no longer a follow link. However, don’t you think people click on this to get to your website? Yes, they do. So that is a nofollow link that is still very important to build and have.

How Can I Check if a Link is DoFollow or NoFollow in Firefox?

There are many tools and add-ons out there to check these types of links but my favorite has to be the NoFollow Firefox plugin. It is very lightweight and won’t slow your browser down. Follow the steps below to install it and check a link.

Step 1

First head over to the NoFollow Firefox plugin download page and click on the “Continue to Download” button.

Install NoFollow Firefox extension
Install NoFollow Firefox extension

Step 2

Click on “Add” to give permission for Firefox to add the NoFollow extension.

Add permission NoFollow extension
Add permission NoFollow extension

Step 3

The extension will then highlight all the nofollow links in a red dotted box (as seen below). Any links which aren’t highlighted are dofollow.

NoFollow link
NoFollow link

 

How Can I Check if a Link is DoFollow or NoFollow in Chrome?

Unfortunately, the same plugin isn’t made for Google Chrome. So for Chrome I tend to use the SEO Toolbar by Moz.

Step 1

Download from here: http://moz.com/tools/seo-toolbar. It will launch in the Google App store, simply click on “Free” to proceed with the installation. You might need to create a free account with Moz, but rest assured, this extension is completely free.

seo toolbar free download

Step 2

Then click on “Add” when you see the prompt.

mozbar add

Step 3

To launch it you can either click on the little “M” icon in the top right of your browser or use the hotkey: CTRL + Shift + Alt + M

mozbar icon

Step 4

In the bar that appears after you launch the toolbar, click on the “Highlight” marker icon. You can then activate highlighting of followed links and no-followed.

mozbar highlight links

You can then see it will highlight them on your webpage.

highlighted nofollow follow links

Option 2

And if you don’t want to use an extension you can always look at the source code on the page to see if a link is dofollow or nofollow.

Step 1

In Google Chrome for example, you can simply right click on the page and click on “View page source.”

chrome view source code

Step 2

You can then inspect the link code and if there is a “rel=”nofollow” then it is a nofollow link. Otherwise it is a dofollow link.

nofollow link

It is also important to note that some links having masking on them. For example, a nofollow link created with the WordPress pretty link plugin will show as a dofollow link because the nofollow happens upon redirect. So you won’t see it in the code, even though it is a nofollow link.

You then want to take into account what the anchor text is because that will reflect in your overall backlink profile. But that is for another post. I highly recommend using a tool like Web CEO to check your backlink profile. It is powered by Ahrefs and can show you toxic links.

For another great resource on some alternative backlinks, make sure to check out Brian Dean’s post on 17 Untapped Backlink Sources. I have a client who specializes in a lot of infographics and Brian’s tip about Visual.ly instantly gave us a PR7 backlink, plus a great source of referral traffic.

As always feel free to leave your comments below.

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43 thoughts on “How to See If a Link Is DoFollow or NoFollow?”

  1. Hi Brian, how nicely you have described to identify a link is follow or no follow. It is really helpful one for the newer. But what do you think about if the follow links really have extra ordinary importance than no follow?? And don’t the no follow links create any effect??

    • Thanks for your comment Antar! Follow links are definitely important. Google looks at these inbound links, and the quality of sites they come from. The more inbound links you have (and quality) the more Google will prioritize your page in SERPs as one of importance (just one factor of many). Nofollow links are still important as well. Even though Google doesn’t look at nofollow links, there are a lot of nofollow links that have incredible CTR. Example I used above is Pinterest. Your Pinterest URL on your profile is a nofollow link. However, it has a great click through rate and one you definitely want to have. I suggest building both kinds of links, they both have their benefits.

      • It`s like when a mother of 2 programmers ask somebody psychologically stable to teach her how to use Internet)) Just joking – that`s an awesome post Brian!

  2. Thanks for the great info. It was worth stumbling upon this just to get the moz download (because I didn’t know it existed before!) cheers:)

  3. Really very nicely described about dofollow and nofollow links and i liked finding the links without tool by source page… Thanks

  4. Pingback: WordPress SEO Checklist – 45 Tips for 2017 – TECHNOCLUB
  5. Awesome article and now I have it bookmarked. I’m fairly new to the digital marketing world so this is a huge help. Thanks!!

  6. Thanks Mr B for great info, i’m always trying to discover new links and somtimes i want to know is the link Do or No Follow, even tho both links are useful for link building, but thanks for the info

  7. Great stuff! it’s really awesome and effective technique for finding follow or nofollow links. Many many thanks for sharing with us.

    Cheers.
    Steven Rocks

  8. How do i know if i`m linking to websites with spamming bots? what should i see (and where) that may lead me to decide to place a no-follow link.

    and another question that i have , this might be based on a myth but i want to get another opinion –
    is google expecting you to have no-follow links aside of the dofollow link in order to give you higher ranking points ?

  9. what is nothing is written and it is just the link in the source code like <a href-"www.example.com" then is it dofollow or no follow?

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