So, you’re building your brand and website’s visibility online with a focus on search engine optimization, or SEO. You’ve been connecting with influencers who review your products, provide testimonials, or make other content that links back to your site, when all of a sudden you realize that one of the influencers has been using nofollow backlinks to your page. This means that Google won’t count those links in its analytics, which means you don’t gain the improved domain authority, page authority, and other metrics that rise when a trusted website links back to yours.

So, have you gotten a bad deal just to give that influencer something to write about? Not exactly. There are several things that make nofollow backlinks handy both when others use them on you and when you use them on others. While the negative aspects are obvious to anyone trying to build a reputation and an audience through an SEO campaign, let’s look at the benefits of nofollow links. You’ll be surprised to see that they’re hardly a dud in the marketing game, and you don’t need to jump to conclusions and consider them an insult.

Lack of Affiliation

stop sign in neighborhood

Image via Flickr by Charleston’s TheDigitel

Among the various types of links, nofollows are similar in philosophy to the famous phrase on countless Twitter accounts: “Retweets are not necessarily endorsements.” You give a hyperlink a nofollow attribute to not be associated with that page in the eyes of Google’s spider bots, the constant algorithms and data sponges that discover who visits different websites, and what websites associate with each other through links.

If you’re ever linking to something potentially controversial or low quality, a nofollow link makes sense. Sometimes you might agree a bit too hastily to do a link exchange for a fellow website, only to discover that they have very poor social media credibility and your site could lose some of its hard-earned trust metrics as a result. Give them a nofollow link, and you’re perfectly safe. But what if you don’t have a poor reputation? Here are other reasons influencers may use nofollow links, and why it’s no big deal.

You Still Get Visibility

Nofollow or dofollow, a link is an expansion to your business reach. When delivered in a supportive piece of content that recommends people click that link, your business wins, regardless of whether Google sees it. Let’s suppose that you have a bunch of new nofollow links from a website that’s supporting you. While those don’t impact your SEO stats directly, you still have that website to thank for everyone who sees those links and clicks to visit your page. Those are people who will look at your content, check out your products, do some research, and maybe buy from you later on.

If some of those people click share buttons on your page or create their own blog or social media posts to share this awesome thing you offer, then boom, you’ve earned a big jump in your SEO profile, just as if the links hadn’t been nofollow. All links give you visibility. More visibility means more chance of earning more links, which means more visibility, etc. Isn’t visibility what your SEO campaign is all about?

Sales Can Still Increase

Let’s suppose that you are trying to get your domain homepage SEO metrics up by getting more backlinks and recommendations from influencers to help increase sales. An influencer warns you that they’d love to support you, but they only do nofollow backlinks as a policy. To benefit the best from a nofollow link, ensure your content as well as your link is of high quality and relevant to the influencer or publisher.

As your links gain traffic, you have a higher chance of your audience to explore your site even more and hook your audience with a successful content strategy and lead them down the pipeline. After all, the ultimate point of an SEO campaign is a better bottom line.

Potential Relationships

Consider this situation from a influencer’s perspective. Let’s imagine “Cheryl”, a big-time mommy blogger who gets dozens of requests to review and link to child-friendly health food products. Cheryl accepts a free sample of a snack mix. Her kids love it, so she posts a positive review with a link at the end to the company’s website, imporving its SEO stats. All is well at first, but imagine this company gets into a huge scandal in the coming months and its reputation tanks. Now Cheryl’s reputation, and website factors like Trust Flow, drop due to her association with them.

Influencers perform a crucial service as curators in the online selling arena. None of them take pleasure in disappointing a business they like by explaining their nofollow policy. If you can approach people like Cheryl with empathy and understanding, however, you’ll form a stronger relationship. There are plenty of major influencers out there who are only trying to protect their reputation, and getting on their good side in this way may earn you some dofollow links later on, either from them or from the people in their audience.

In virtually all situations, links are good for your business, whether Google gets to follow them and index that data for SEO purposes or not. All it takes is one link from a major influencer to create a snowball effect of other links, causing your video, ad, website, blog post, etc. to go viral. Don’t take it personally when a website nofollow backlinks you. There are good reasons for doing so, and it isn’t necessarily about you.

Keep in mind, search engine optimization is a very important thing in online marketing, but it’s still an abstract goal that doesn’t overtake the fundamentals.  Don’t get obsessed with the numbers and the fact that someone isn’t helping you with the exact link you wanted them to use. Provide great products and services, be a trustworthy brand, and reach out to people who know other people, and your business will have a terrific SEO profile.