Should we use dofollow or nofollow links in sponsored reviews?
Are you worried about search engine penalties for using dofollow links in sponsored reviews? Read this article to learn what type of link you should use in paid reviews. Also, read the difference between dofollow and nofollow links, if you are not familiar with the terminology.
Difference between dofollow links and nofollow links
Most webmasters know what those are but let me just briefly explain the difference for those who are not familiar with the terminology.
Google and other search engines depend heavily on the number of links to a website to rank the website in search results. In short, a website is ranked relatively higher in the search results if that site has a lot of quality links to it from other websites. In theory, the site with higher number of links to it from other websites will rank higher in search results, if all other parameters are equal. (There are hundreds of other parameters that affect the search engine ranking.)
To take advantage of this heavy weightage for incoming links from other sites, webmasters started buying paid links from other websites to their sites. In last few years, this model grew as a big business of buying and selling paid links and started seriously affecting the search quality.
Obtaining several links from other websites to artificially influence the search engine ranking is called link spam.
To tackle this problem, Google introduced penalties for artificially obtaining links from other websites. This led to another problem - genuine sites that get natural links also were affected inadvertently since Google misinterpreted the natural links as paid links.
The link spam penalty can affect both the parties:
- the website which takes money and provide such links.
- the website which obtains such links by paying money.
Nofollow links vs Dofollow links
Google introduced an attribute called "nofollow", which is used to mark a link to a web page as a special type of link. When this attribute is used with a hyperlink, that is an indicator to search engines that the said link is not meant for manipulating the search engine ranking and Google may ignore such links in calculating the search engine ranking of the target website.
By marking a link as "nofollow", the website which provides such links can avoid any penalties from search engines.
See the html for 2 different links:
<a href="https://www.techulator.com">visit techulator.com</a>
<a href="https://www.techulator.com" rel="nofollow">visit techulator.com</a>
Both of the above links will appear the same in the web page as show below:
However, the second link has the hidden attribute, which is made possible using the attribute rel="nofollow", which is accessible only for search engines and not for humans who read the content in the page.
By using "nofollow" links, we are telling Google not to count this link for ranking. By saying so, we will escape from any potential penalties. However, Google may still count this link for ranking, even if we tell it not to count it.
Should we use dofollow link or nofollow link for sponsored reviews?
If you are posting guest articles or sponsored reviews in other websites, I strongly recommend not to demand "dofollow" links but let the reviewer choose it. Many companies demand "dofollow" links to increase their search engine ranking but may land into serious penalties from search engines.
If you are publishing sponsored reviews in your blog, it is better to avoid dofollow links. Make all outgoing links "nofollow" unless you are specifically asked to provide "dofollow" links. It is always better to avoid or limit the dofollow links, especially in the sponsored articles.