There’s no doubt that website backlinks are an important element in search engine rank optimization. Webmasters spend a lot of their time (and some exclusively) building up external backlinks.
Are all backlinks equal?
No. In fact, some backlinks are worthless in the eyes of Google. It’s important to know the difference so that you don’t waste your time and money.
It is well-known that the higher the page rank (PR) of the website that your backlinking from, the more SEO value it has. But what is not well-known is that links with an attribute of “nofollow” are not worth anything (in terms of SEO) in the eyes of Google.
Most WordPress blogs, by default now, have links in the Comments area set to “no follow”. This has been done in an effort to cut down on spam comments which is rampant.
How can you tell if links on a site are “nofollow” or not?
One way is to right-click on the webpage and from the pop-up menu select “View Source” or “View Page Source”. This will bring up the html code. If you see <meta name=”robots” content=”nofollow” /> between the <head> tags, then every link on that page is nofollow.
If you see rel=”nofollow” within a link (e.g. <a href=”http://domain.com” rel=”nofollow”>domain name</a>) then that particular link is set to nofollow.
A quicker way to find out is to install a Firefox plugin (you have to be using the Firefox web browser for this to work) called NoDoFollow. Once installed, if you right-click on any webpage and select “NoDoFollow” from the pop-up menu, all the links on the webpage will be highlighted either purple or red. If red, it means that that particular link is a nofollow link.