A dofollow link is a link which a search engine spider is meant to follow in crawling a website. However, “dofollow” is not a real attribute that receives a link, because the purpose of a hyperlink is that both crawlers and visitors follow it. The opposite of dofollow is nofollow, which can be deliberately added to a link. Dofollow links pass on link juice and PageRank. That’s why these backlinks play a major role in link building or link exchange.


When the Internet was still in its infancy, the algorithms and indexes of search engine providers were by far not as elaborate as they are now. Therefore, it was important that websites referred to other websites in the form of hyperlinks. That way users could discover new web pages and web content and search engine robots were able to discover other websites.

The default setting “dofollow” corresponds to the natural linking on the Internet which could be conceived as a true global digital data network, which grows and evolves solely through its cross-references. Therefore, certainly no one deliberately spoke of “dofollow links” in the 1990s since this was the basis of a functioning Internet.

But in the early 2000s, SEOs discovered that the placement of websites in the SERPs could be positively influenced through linking or backlink building. To date, backlinks are used to strengthen domain popularity or link popularity. Up to a few years ago, blog comments or forum links were massively used for backlink building. Automated programs could create hundreds of backlinks at a time. Forum and blog spam was the result. The pure backlink, as a reference for a website has been dramatically devalued and search engines such as Google regularly adapt their algorithms with updates or new filters to undermine manipulative link building.

The rel="nofollow" attribute was introduced as a means to consciously prevent crawlers from following a link and to specify that link juice should not be passed on with a backlink. Links which are marked as such will not be included in the assessment of the link profile of a website, according to official statements by the search engine provider.

The term “dofollow” was thus created based on “nofollow” to specify a backlink. However, “dofollow” is not a separate link attribute, as is often mistakenly thought.

Benefits for search engine optimization[edit]

The benefits of dofollow backlinks is undisputed in SEO circles. Therefore, dofollow is still the preferred choice in link building to strengthen domain popularity. However, it is increasingly important to examine incoming backlinks in terms of several factors such as content relevance or bad neighborhood. And since Google offers the disavow feature for the devaluation of incoming links in the GWT, every SEO should be aware that quality is more important than quantity in terms of backlinks. Since the Google Penguin update, link text is also crucial for the quality of dofollow links. Any webmaster should be striving to maintain their link profile as natural as possible, so as not to run the risk of being classified as spam based on false dofollow links.