Anchor Texts, Do-Follow, and No-Follow links

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    The Internet has evolved to become one of the most valuable tools that entrepreneurs can use to grow their business.

    Thorugh the Internet, business owners are able to use search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure that their audience is likely to find their company’s website on their own.

    But, to realize how your SEO strategy is coming along, it’s important to get a grasp on what no-follow links, do-follow links, and anchor texts are in order to see the importance of link diversity.

    Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we got you covered.

    Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.

    The Importance of Links

    Links have a large impact on Google’s ranking algorithm for search results.

    In this case, no-follow links, do-follow links, and anchor texts are all external (or outbound) links.

    Inbound links are when another site links to your content, but you can’t always control or influence when this happens.

    While it may seem counterproductive to link to a separate website, it can play a positive role in how Google ranks you.

    It’s never a good idea to link to a web page that offers the same information, product, or service that you do. But, linking to reputable sites (such as Business Insider or Forbes) as a resource is a benefit.

    Let’s explore the different types of outbound links and how they affect SEO.

    building backlinks

    Do-Follow Links

    Put simply, do-follow links are links on a web page that have an impact on SEO rankings. Links that people implement on their own website are typically do-follow by default.

    A do-follow link acts as a sort of “approval” for the site you’re linking to. Since you’re likely using that link as a resource to back up your claims and information, you wouldn’t throw low-quality do-follow links onto your page.

    As you may be able to tell, having a large handful of do-follow links that lead from other sites to yours is beneficial for your SEO. But, that doesn’t mean linking to other sites can’t help you out, too.

    Google dislikes when people spam links in an effort to increase SEO ranking. So, if they find a website that has a handful of outbound links to low-quality websites, they’ll know something is up and the linking site’s ranking will suffer either when a large update is released by Google or a manual review penalty is placed.

    As a result, linking to authoritative websites is a “natural” practice in the eyes of Google because it wouldn’t make sense to do otherwise.

    For example, if you quoted a statistic, and linked to, you’re outbound linking

    No-Follow Links

    As the name implies, no-follow links have the opposite properties as do-follow links. This means that they don’t impact a site’s SEO score at all.

    You can pinpoint which links are no-follow links by inspecting its HTML tag. It should look something like this:

    Anchor Text

    The above anchor text, in HTML, looks like so:

    <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener”>

    The “rel=nofollow” tells search engines not to follow links with this HTML tag.

    You may also notice target=”_blank”, which is the HTML code that opens the link in a new window, instead of leaving where you are and going to that link in the same window.

    Another HTML tag which is similar, and you may see in some cases is “rel=”noreferrer” or rel=”noreferrer noopener”.

    Websites typically use no-follow links on pages where adding links can be abusive or spammy.

    For example, websites such as Facebook or Quora which have comment forms or forums often mark all links on the site as no-follow. Otherwise, people could create account after account to spam links to their desired website.

    In fact, that’s why no-follow links were designed in the first place!

    On your own site, it’s a good idea to use no-follow links when…

    You’ve used the same link multiple times across different pages (such as on a sidebar)

    The site you’re linking to is unrelated to your overall niche

    Linking to a site with questionable content, or an overall lack of content on the website.

    For example, if you interview people and always link to the interviewee’s site at the end, these should be no-follow links.

    So, while no-follow links don’t have inherent SEO value, they still have plenty of uses.

    Anchor Texts

    You may have noticed the term “anchor text” in the URL example above. You’ve probably heard of it numerous times before, as well.

    Anchor text is a clickable text that links to another webpage. It’s often colored blue but could be a different color depending on the website.

    But, anchor text isn’t always the same as what it links to. For example, the anchor text for won’t necessarily be “Nike” or “”. In fact, there is a handful of different types of anchor texts.

    Read on to learn more.

    A Naked Link

    As the name implies, a naked link is simply a URL used as an anchor text.

    Example: “” linking to “”.

    Exact-Match Text

    This term refers to anchor text that includes a keyword that’s relevant to the site you’re linking to.

    Example: “Nike Air Max 270” linking to “”.

    Partial-Match Text

    Text that includes some of the keyword on the page you’re linking to.

    Example: “Nike products” linking to “”.

    Branded Text

    The name of the brand used as an anchor text.

    Example: “Nike” linking to “”.

    Generic Text

    A common phrase or word that’s used as an anchor text.

    Examples: “click here”, “learn more”, “more info”, “this website”.

    Anchor Text for SEO

    For the best SEO results, you’ll want your anchor text to be brief, related to a keyword on the page you’re linking to, and flow naturally within the rest of your content.

    As stated by a Google employee, an anchor text that you use on your site should be useful, descriptive, and relevant, so keep this in mind when optimizing content!

    Understanding Anchor Texts, Do-Follow Links, and No-Follow Links For Your Content

    But it doesn’t have to be.

    With the above information about no-follow links and other SEO concepts in mind, you’ll be well on your way to getting the most out of your online strategy.

    Want to learn more about content marketing and how it can benefit your business? Make sure to check out the rest of our content marketing section here!

    About The Author:

    Chris Kirksey

    Chris Kirksey

    Chris Kirksey is the CEO of, a Local SEO software & SEO services company reflecting the culmination of a 15+ year obsession with digital marketing. It all started with an eBay business at 9 years old, then transitioning from domain investing and website building. After a 6-year US Army career leading intelligence collection teams both in the US and overseas, Chris now brings a sophisticated approach from cryptologic language and adversary data intelligence to digital marketing and business intelligence. His precision and planning of military campaigns, now reflected in SEO campaigns, have proven successful for clients in industries ranging from law firms to technology startups.
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