Nofollow and dofollow links have been a hot topic when it comes to link building for a number of years.
Roll back all the way to 2005 – when the "Nofollow" tag was first introduced by Google. The initial premise of the Nofollow tag was to prevent comment spam.
To quote the Google blog from back in January 2005:
"If you're a blogger (or a blog reader), you're painfully familiar with people who try to raise their own websites' search engine rankings by submitting linked blog comments like "Visit my discount pharmaceuticals site." This is called comment spam, we don't like it either, and we've been testing a new tag that blocks it. From now on, when Google sees the attribute (rel="nofollow") on hyperlinks, those links won't get any credit when we rank websites in our search results."
It was Google's way of putting a halt to SEOs and website owners 9 years ago who were trying to manipulate the Google algorithm with comments or comment spam to raise their own websites' search engine rankings.
Search Engine optimisation and link building have come a long way since 2005. And so has Google's algorithm for ranking websites.
Comment spam as a link building method was actually still working as recent as 2012. Not all sites nofollowed their comments and Google had yet to properly crack down on the worst offenders.
Fast forward to the year 2014. Or even just last year. Google's algorithm is a lot more wise to these methods now. And Google are quick to act on any flash-in the-pan link building methods too.
In it, Mr Cutts, the head of Google's Webspam team, said:
"If you're using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it's become a more and more spammy practice, and if you're doing a lot of guest blogging then you're hanging out with really bad company."
Probably a strong enough warning sign to scare people away from guest blogging? Not quite. Matt Cutts went on to say:
"Back in the day, guest blogging used to be a respectable thing, much like getting a coveted, respected author to write the introduction of your book. It's not that way anymore.
"Unfortunately, a lot of people didn't seem to hear me say to steer away from low-quality guest blog posting.
"I took a question about how to be a guest blogger without it looking like paying for links (even the question is a clue that guest blog posting has been getting spammier and spammier). I tried to find a sliver of daylight to talk about high-quality guest blog posts, but if you read the transcript you'll notice that I ended up spending most of the time talking about low-quality/spam guest posting and guest articles."
And the most important lines from his blog post:
"I'm not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they'll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there."
Matt Cutts initially advised to stay well away from low-quality blogs – to be honest, that goes without saying. But having seen many thousands of site's backlink profiles this year alone, I respect it wasn't that obvious to everyone.
Then Matt mentioned sites paying for links. Giving up your hard-earned dollar to pay for links. Well, businesses giving up some of their profits to pay bloggers to throw in a link or publish a post with their link in, on their site.
But finally Matt did point out that guest posting as a way of exposure, branding and increased reach is still a good method.
That leads me nicely onto guest blogging with nofollow links.
Why Would You Guest Blog For A Nofollow Link?
Whether your guest post contains a link or not, and whether that link is nofollow or dofollow shouldn't have much of a bearing on whether you continue to write for that site or not.
A good example would be my Search Engine People post from back in January. It had 83 ReTweets which I class as relatively popular for my standard, and not a single link back to the company whom I work for or any of my personal blogs. Off the back of that article we also got some business enquiries.
Why did I not link back to myself? There was nothing I said in that blog that needed to be linked back to our site. The site I linked to at the very end was nothing to do with us, but rather a useful site that I was able to locate the 12 videos from which I quoted Matt Cutts quick and easily.
What benefits did I get out of it? I got a few extra Twitter and Google+ followers shortly after that post was published! I'm hoping it made me a more respected author and dream of picking up extra readers for my next post and the one after (and the one after that) solely because it has my face next to it and people recognise my face as a respected author. I can dream at least!
Essentially, I'm expanding my exposure and personal branding. Likewise this can be done with a client or business.
This is similar to how PR and the media works. Companies want to get their product featured in newspapers, on television as cost effective as possible. Celebrities work the same way. The more coverage celebrities and companies are getting = the more people they're being put in front of = the more potential sales.
And that is how guest blogging should work. You want to be featuring you, your business, or when possible, your product in front of big audiences on these high-quality blogs.
Blogs with a small audience, blogs that accept any ol' guest post and blogs that build irrelevant links to boost their Google PageRank don't fall in this category. Hence why Google are going out to penalise these blogs.
So does a nofollow link in a guest blog actually matter? If you're promoting your face and/or your product to a large, targeted audience, then you don't need to worry.
* Google search coupon by Bramus!