Dofollow vs. Nofollow: What's the difference?

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Difference between Dofollow and Nofollow

In the world of HTML, there is a wide array of terms and nomenclature that can be quite confusing to the ordinary Joe. While the two terms are admittedly quite similar to each other, they have enough differences between them to make them practically two entirely different things. Here's a look at some of the more significant ones. 


NoFollow is the term used to refer to an HTML attribute that is commonly attached to hyperlinks with the goal of ensuring that a certain link does not pass any data that will improve the search engine ranking of the target site. 

As for DoFollow, it is simply a term used to refer to links that do not use the NoFollow attribute. In essence, DoFollow links are simply regular links that do pass value that can improve the target site’s search engine ranking.

Origins Of The Term

Nofollow was first implemented by Google in 2005, and it was originally intended to address the proliferation of keyword spam, especially on webpages wherein users are allowed to add links freely. Since then, search engines such as Yahoo and MSN Live have implemented the NoFollow attribute as well.

The roots of DoFollow on the other hand can be traced to the activities of bloggers who felt that blog readers were justified in making comments in blogs, deeming them as legitimate contributions. These bloggers therefore implanted DoFollow as a sort of rebuttal to the practice of automatically considering all reader comments as spam. 

Usage And Acceptance

Today, the NoFollow attribute has come into widespread use in several blog platforms, and various other online communities and websites wherein users have free reign to submit links. While there is still a need for humans to moderate these links, many sites have opted to turn on the NoFollow attribute by default as a way to prevent spamming.

While DoFollow was originally meant to counteract the implementation of the NoFollow attribute, many bloggers have since used this to give readers more freedom to make contributions to blog sites. Unfortunately, many webmasters and spammers have since taken advantage of this attribute to leave keyword links with anchor text in them as a way to improve search engine ranking. DoFollow blogs can be found easily enough by doing a simple Google search.



  • An HTML attribute attached to a hyperlink
  • Prevents a link from helping the target site get a better ranking on the major search engines’ results pages  
  • Introduced in 2005 as a way to reduce keyword spamming
  • First introduced by Google, but has since been adopted by Yahoo and MSN Live 
  • Used by many blogs and websites today 


  • Refers to links that don’t use the ‘nofollow’ attribute
  • Allows the target site to benefit from search engine ranking criteria 
  • Doesn't actually refer to a specific attribute as much as it does to the practice of not using the “nofollow” tag

Which one hurt your seo?
  • Dofollow
  • Nofollow

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