How do I check if a link has the dofollow attribute?

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You position your website in search engines and you are probably aware of the importance of incoming links for its good position. A proper link policy - inbound and outbound - is a very important element of SEO. However, you should also know that not every link on the web that leads to your site is equally beneficial. In this text, we'll explain what the two link attributes mean - dofollow and nofollow - and show you how to find out.

Dofollow and nofollow links - introduction

The analysis of incoming links to pages was the basis for the functioning of the first algorithms used by Google robots to determine the position of pages in search results. It was not only their quantity that mattered, but also their quality - sometimes one strong link from a reputable website was worth more than hundreds of links from inferior websites. Based on the high importance of incoming links in positioning, many mechanisms have been created that seem to be inherent in SEO - including backend sites or link exchange systems negated by Google in recent years.

Unequal link link - this is a principle known almost from the dawn of Google. In 2005, another element was added that allowed for the evaluation of incoming links - the nofollow attribute. By default, each link leading to your page is dofollow, but this can be changed in the source code of the page on which the link is located.

What does a link mean to be dofollow or nofollow?

These are the attributes that instruct the search engine crawlers, the so-called spiders. Then they know whether, after finding the link, they should move to the linked page (dofollow, from English to follow - follow) or not (nofollow, from English to no follow - not to follow). Link attributes are taken into account by robots of all search engines, but in this text we will focus on how dofollow and nofollow are treated by the Google spider.

What does having the dofollow attribute on a link do? As we have already mentioned, this primarily results in the Google robot moving to the linked page. This is especially important if it is a new page - it will then be indexed by the robot. Additionally, the dofollow attribute will allow the robot to move part of the PageRank value of the linked page to the linked page. TrustRank is also partially transferred - however, be careful as a link from an unreliable site may lower the TrustRank of the linked site. Also, a good anchor attached to a dofollow link has a positive effect on the positioning of the linked page.

So what to expect when a link has been marked with the nofollow attribute? You know for sure that the linked page may not be reached by the Google robot, and thus may not be indexed, which is especially important in the case of new pages on the web. Indexing is the same as including the page in search results. In addition, a link with the nofollow attribute does not have the power to convey PageRank and TrustRank to the linked page.

How to check if a link has the dofollow attribute?

We mentioned earlier that dofollow is somewhat of a default link attribute, so it is better to specify if the link has the nofollow attribute. If not, it means that the robot, when it comes across it, will be transferred to the linked page, and it will additionally receive a certain PageRank and TrustRank value. So how do you check if a link is marked as nofollow?

The easiest way to do this is by reading the source code of the page, for example in Mozilla, when you are on the page you are interested in with a link to our page, right-click anywhere on the page and select the command Show page source. After the source code is displayed, we look for the place where our link is located - we are looking for a tag that marks the links in the code. Once we find this place, we check if the tag referring to the link we are interested in contains the phrases rel = "nofollow" or rel = "external nofollow". If so, then - unfortunately - our link has been marked as nofollow. If not, it has the dofollow attribute by default.

Tools available for browsers can also be used for checking. For Mozilla, it will be Quirk SearchStatus - it will mark nofollow links on the websites we visit. This way, we can easily determine where to post links to our site. If we use Google Chrome, the NoFollow Extension tool may be useful.

Nofollow attributes are, unfortunately, quite common on the web. A large part of websites means with this attribute all external links coming from their websites, it often defines links placed in comments or on internet forums. It is not easy to find a dofollow link, but you should remember not to search for them by force on suspicious and non-trustworthy websites. It can be much more effective to build an SEO base reliably here.