The Do-Follow Link Debate: Where do you Stand?


Not all links are created equal. The battle of do-follow vs. no-follow has plagued bloggers since the dawn of the universe. (Well, maybe that's an exaggeration but you get the picture). Even identifying the differences between them and what each type of link means for your blog can be a messy and confusing task. So, before we get started on the debate, here's all the essential information you need to tackle the subject:

What is a do-follow link?

A do-follow link is one that Google pays attention to when ranking sites. A do-follow link to a site increases its visibility on search engines, eg. a site with a lot of do-follow links directing to it will appear higher up on Google searches than a site with fewer do-follow links. Therefore, do-follow links are valuable for anyone wanting to increase the profile of their website.

What is a no-follow link? ✨

A no-follow link is one that Google does not pay attention to when ranking sites. It doesn't impact upon Google search results.

Why is the difference important?

Google's guidelines recommend that no-follow links are used for paid and promotional content. Using a do-follow link in a post where you have been sent a free product or paid to feature a link is problematic because this is NOT an authentic link (as in, that link wouldn't be appearing on your blog if you hadn't been sent a free product or been paid for the post). A do-follow link that has been paid for fraudulently increases the site's Google search ranking.

Can I use do-follow links at all? ✨

Yes! It's good to have a mix of do-follow and no-follow links on your blog. Do-follow links can be used for any blog post which does not contain promotional or paid-for content. Holly uses a great example in this handy guide: If I were to buy a palette from Sleek MakeUP and write a review about it, I could use a do-follow link because the post has no input or payment from the brand. But if Sleek MakeUP sent me the palette for free and/or paid me to feature it on my blog, I should use a no-follow link because this is promotional content. This little table summarises what I'm talking about.


 Here come the problems...

Because of their search-engine boosting capabilities, do-follow links are understandably valuable for brands. Some companies will ask bloggers to produce posts using do-follow links. It technically isn't illegal to accept such collaborative opportunities, but bloggers can be penalised by Google if they're caught exchanging do-follow links for payment. This could mean that your blog doesn't show up in search engines, and that your DA suffers. Yet some people even believe that accepting payment for do-follow links is a-ok because Google can't actually detect who is doing them! So, the subject of do-follow vs. no-follow still divides the blogging community. Some bloggers will happily accept such content, whilst others flat out refuse.

What should you do?

To help you make up your own mind about accepting do-follow links, I ran a poll on Twitter asking my followers where they stand on the issue, and these were the results:
Do the results of the poll surprise you? I also asked some of the respondants to the poll to get in touch to elaborate on their answers, which produced a real mix of thoughts!

🌷 "I get paid so well for do-follow posts" - Anonymous

"I accept do-follow links because brands are generally willing to pay way more for these. I've been paid upwards of £150 for a post with a do-follow link. My blog isn't full of do-follow posts, I only accept them occasionally because I don't want to damage my blog but I will do them once in a while. It makes me decent money and I haven't been in trouble yet, so I will probably continue."

🌷 "I might consider a do-follow link" - Megan // www.lazythoughts.co.uk

"Whether you accept do-follow links depends how you view your blog, really. If you're all about making money and don't really care about showing up in Google etc. then I don't really see the problem as long as you still disclose the links correctly (as in labelling sponsored content as such). I personally only accept no-follow links, but have done do-follow in the past; mainly before I knew there was a difference. If the money was right and the link was to a brand I genuinely used and respected then I might consider a do-follow, but other than that it's a no from me."

🌷 "Honesty and integrity are very important to me" - Jenny // www.luxestyleuk.co.uk

"I always refuse to use do-follow links for sponsored content because I personally don't think it's worth it. I've heard that Google sees it as a negative and can penalise you if they catch you doing it and so I wouldn't want to risk it. Honesty and integrity are very important to me and so I would only want to do the right thing."

🌷 "If you want to earn £, you have to accept do-follow links" - Anonymous

"Brands pay bloggers to improve their site's ranking and send customers to them. Yes, some bigger brands are now happy with no-follow links but I suspect that this is only where the blogger is "big" enough to have a decent following which might get the link some exposure. People disagree about this ALL the time but in my experience at least, if you want to earn money from blogging you often (but not always) have to accept a do-follow link. It drives me crazy that people attack others for their personal choice to use do-follow links."

🌷 "Now I refuse do-follow links"- Tina // www.teaisfortina.co.uk

"In the beginning I did some do-follow link posts, but didn't realise they'd harm the blog. It's great that people talk about them more now and it's clearer, so now I refuse to use them. I'd rather look after the blog as it's a longer term investment. I don't think it harmed my blog as only did a couple before I realised."

 πŸŒ· "It didn't change anything on my blog" - Shelley // www.shelleymorecroft.co.uk

"I used a do-follow link once but they did offer me a higher price for it, it didn't change anything on my blog which is good! However when I started out I didn't have a clue about it and always used follow links. I don't know if I'd do it again, it depends on the assignment/brand and money, I think."

What are your thoughts on this thorny issue? Would you accept do-follow links on your blog? Share in the comments below, I can't wait to hear your opinions!

Until next time,

A x 
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