Dofollow Backlinks: What They Are and How They Drastically Improve Your SEO

Backlinks remain one of the most critical ranking factors for SEO in 2023. But not all backlinks are created equal when it comes to influencing search visibility and driving organic traffic.

Dofollow backlinks stand out for allowing search engine crawlers to pass authority and rankings benefit to linked pages. As an SEO expert with over a decade of experience, I view quality dofollow links as the holy grail.

In this 3,000+ word guide, you‘ll learn:

  • Exactly how dofollow backlinks work and impact SEO
  • Key differences between dofollow and nofollow links
  • 3 white-hat strategies to build high-value dofollow links
  • Common mistakes that get sites penalized

Let‘s start with the basics…

What Are Dofollow Backlinks?

A dofollow backlink is a type of hyperlink that passes link equity or "juice" from one webpage to another.

For example, if a high-authority business news site like Forbes links to your startup‘s blog, search engines will see this as a vote of confidence. Google would then pass on some ranking power and credibility to your linked page.

The key thing that sets dofollow links apart is that they allow crawlers to follow the link and index the destination page. This gives you all the SEO benefits.

Here‘s a quick summary:

  • Definition: Backlink that passes rankings benefit and authority to linked URLs
  • Key Attribute: Requires no special attribution in HTML code
  • SEO Impact: Significant positive influence on search visibility and traffic

Now compare this to nofollow links, which specifically tell search bots not to pass equity or index linked pages. I‘ll cover the key differences next.

Dofollow Backlinks vs. Nofollow Links

Although dofollow and nofollow links come from the same family tree, they have very distinct properties.

Dofollow backlinks are the default link type search engines follow to pass rankings power. These links require no special set up in your HTML anchor tag code.

Here‘s an example:

<a href="">Anchor Text</a>

Notice there are no additional attributes? This makes it a dofollow link.

Nofollow links, on the other hand, contain a rel="nofollow" attribute that stops the passing of SEO equity. For example:

<a href="" rel="nofollow">Anchor Text</a> 

The main reason webmasters add nofollow is to protect their authority and credibility from flowing out to other low-quality or irrelevant sites.

You‘ll typically see nofollow attributes used for:

  • User-generated content like blog comments
  • Paid advertising links
  • Links to untrusted or spammy pages

Now let‘s compare some key differences between dofollow vs nofollow:

Metric Dofollow Link Nofollow Link
Objective Pass rankings power Block flow of SEO equity
Key Attribute None rel="nofollow"
Influence Positive for SEO No direct influence
Use Case Editorial links UGC, paid links

It‘s clear dofollow links have the bigger potential impact for search optimization…when acquired from reputable sites.

This brings up an important point.

Not All Dofollow Links Are Equal

You might be wondering:

"If dofollow links are so powerful, can‘t I just buy a bunch of links and rank #1?"

In theory you can. But Google actively works to stamp out link schemes that try to manipulate search results.

The search giant cares more about contextual relevance and whether a link fits naturally within content.

For example, if you run an ecommerce site selling dog products, an editorial link from the American Kennel Club (a high authority site) would be pure gold.

On the flip side, a link from a sketchy blog about casino gambling would seem totally irrelevant and raise red flags.

That‘s why it‘s critical to focus on qualitative factors like:

  • Relevancy between sites
  • Authority of linking domain
  • Anchor text alignments

Simply chasing the highest quantities of links likely won‘t end well. Trust me on that!

Okay, now that you know what makes an ideal dofollow backlink, let‘s move onto building strategies.

3 White Hat Tactics to Earn High-Value Dofollow Links

Getting authoritative sites to naturally link to your content takes effort. But it‘s well worth the hard work.

I‘ll share proven methods that have helped clients land editorial links from reputable publishers.

1. The Skyscraper Technique

This off-page SEO tactic has been around for ages, but still delivers results if executed correctly.

Here‘s a high-level overview:

  1. Find pages ranking well for your target keywords
  2. Analyze backlinks pointing to those pieces of content
  3. Create something 10x better that "skyscrapers" over the competition
  4. Reach out to sites linking to old content and make your case

Let‘s walk through a real example for an SEO agency.

First, I‘ll research keywords related to "SEO packages" in Ahrefs to identify top-ranking articles.

Sorting by highest referral traffic, this guide from Backlinko stands out:

backlinko best seo packages

Next, I‘ll use a backlink analysis tool like Ahrefs to view sites linking to this guide:

ahrefs backlinks to guide

Now here‘s the fun part…

Seeing 80+ referring domains, I know there‘s significant opportunity to create something better and "steal" links.

For example, by expanding on weak points like:

  • Adding 5 extra SEO package examples
  • Beefing up advice for ecommerce sites
  • Creating an interactive quiz to help buyers

Once I publish this new skyscraper content, outreach begins.

I would email webmasters who previously linked to Backlinko‘s post and make my case for why my upgraded guide deserves a link instead.

The messaging might sound like:

Hi [Name],

I noticed you linked to Backlinko‘s guide on "The 5 Best SEO Packages…"

I recently created an updated version that covers 15 SEO packages and has 3X as many words. I think your audience would find it useful.

You can check it out here: [URL]

Please let me know if you would consider swapping your old link for this new guide. It would really help support my website!

Rinse and repeat this process across the 80 sites, and I may be able to siphon 20+ high-quality referral links.

Now that‘s the power of the Skyscraper method!

2. Guest Post Outreach

Beyond skyscrapers, guest posting remains one of the most consistent ways to grab new dofollow backlinks.

But how do you efficiently find sites accepting contributor posts within your niche?

My #1 tip is leveraging Google Search operators to surface guest submission guidelines pages.

For example, adding:

"guest post" 
"submit guest post"
"contribute post"
"becoming a contributor"

Filtering search results this way makes prospecting 100X faster.

You can then browse potential websites, read what they expect in pitches, and personalize your outreach.

Here‘s a proven formula:

Step 1: Introduce Yourself

Briefly explain who you are, credentials in the niche, and website or company details. This establishes credibility upfront.

Step 2: Hook Them With a Title

Summarize the core focus of your post in an engaging headline style. Make sure it aligns with topics they accept.

Step 3: Describe the Value Add

Explain why your piece would make a great addition for their audience and how it moves the conversation forward.

Step 4: Link to Your Past Guest Posts

Including examples of guest articles you‘ve published on other sites helps showcase your abilities.

Step 5: Close with Next Steps

End by asking if they‘d be interested in learning more or having you send over the full article. Offer to customize the post to fit any guidelines they have.

Pro Tip 💡 – Leverage this guest posting email template to save hours of writing unique messages.

If accepted, you‘ll now have a golden opportunity to include backend links pointing visitors to your money pages.

3. Answer Reporter Queries

Tools like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) allow journalists to request niche insights from industry practitioners like yourself.

In exchange for an expert opinion, reporters will often attribute quotes and link to your website or business.

I‘ve seen clients land editorial links from major publications like Business Insider, Forbes, and Bloomberg through HARO.

Here‘s how it works:

  1. Set email alerts for reporter queries related to your expertise
  2. Respond to requests offering unique stats, frameworks, or analysis
  3. Follow up regarding link inclusion

Pro Tip 💡 – Muck Rack is another service that connects journalists to potential sources. It‘s worth checking out both HARO and Muck Rack depending on your niche.

For example, if you sold project management software, you could target reporter questions about:

  • Statistics on remote work adoption
  • Analysis of software spending trends
  • Thoughts on hybrid work models

With some refined targeting and consistent participation, you may land a few big media wins each quarter. These links can work wonders.

Now that we‘ve covered "link building" tactics, let‘s shift gears to common mistakes…

3 Dofollow Link Building Blunders to Avoid

Earning dofollow links takes effort. So the last thing you want is undoing all that hard work with easily avoidable errors.

Let‘s review missteps that can negate SEO gains or even trigger penalties.

1. Link Building with Low-Quality Sites

We touched on why link quality trumps quantity earlier. But it‘s worth emphasizing again.

Google cares immensely about whether sites connecting to yours have solid domain authority.

As a rule of thumb, try to land links exclusively from sites with authority scores above 40.

  • 40-50 = Average
  • 55+ = Good
  • 65+ = Strong


Well Google sees links as "votes" for a webpage. So a link from CNN or Wikipedia holds WAY more weight than some personal blog.

Shoot to only build links from reputable publishers that indicate expertise and trustworthiness.

Other danger signs of low-quality sites:

  • Thin content
  • Heavy ads
  • Affiliate focused
  • Scraped or duplicated articles
  • Page speed issues

Do your due diligence scoping out sites before pursuing backlinks. This saves major headaches down the line.

2. Irrelevant Niche Links

Sticking within your topical sphere is also critical for preserving search equity.

For example, a solar panel site linking off to a recipes blog makes zero sense.

If you score backlinks but they originate from outside your niche, it raises questions.

Google may see this as:

  • Potential paid links
  • Efforts to quickly boost domain authority
  • Lacking topical relevance

I‘ve seen way too many sites get slapped by Penguin or other updates for chasing irrelevant links.

Keep your entire link building strategy tightly aligned to your core focus area and offerings.

3. Duplicate Content Networks

Here‘s another pivotal point…

Avoid any form of garbage content or article spinning networks at all costs.


Google despises thin, duplicated articles with a passion. In fact, an entire algorithm called Panda focuses solely on filtering this stuff out.

Getting links from such low-value networks almost always does more harm than good long run.

Trust me here too. I‘ve had to rescue countless sites from manual spam actions stemming from toxic backlink profiles.

Not worth the risk or clean up!

Stick to building links from reputable, authoritative sites publishing 100% original content. This way Google sees the votes as fully legitimate.

Wrap Up

I hope this extensive guide gives you newfound appreciation for the power of dofollow backlinks.

When sourced deliberately from trusted publishers, these SEO gems can ignite results.

Just remember:

✅ Quality over quantity
✅ Niche relevance is mandatory
✅ Avoid low-value networks

Focus on slow and steady wins by providing unique value to others. The links will come in time.

Have any other dofollow strategies I should cover? Sound off in the comments below!