“Is It Good SEO Practice to Link to an Authority Site Via a dofollow Link?” Google Responds

Is this something you do strictly to ‘look good’ in the eyes of Google? You may wish to reconsider.
SIA Team
October 5, 2021

NOTE: Nofollow links are ones that, from a coding/HTML perspective, have the rel nofollow attribute. 

However, there is no such attribute for so-called ‘dofollow’ links because, by default, virtually all links are dofollow. (We’ve only had to make this distinction due to the advent of the nofollow link attribute.)

That said, let’s get on with this news item.

During the English Google SEO office-hours from October 1, 2021, John Mueller responded to a question about something that many SEOs have been encouraging for years.

The question was, “Does giving a do follow link to a trusted authoritative site–is that good for SEO?”

John’s response was, “I think this is something that people used to do way in the beginning,  where they would create a spammy website and on the bottom, they’d have a link to Wikipedia and CNN and then hope that search engines look at that and say, like, ‘Oh this must be a legitimate website.’

A Pertinent Interruption

I bolded John’s words ‘on the bottom’, because I feel that it may subtly indicate something.

I have heard that Googlebot tends to favor contextual links over ones that are at the bottom of a page, or navigational or otherwise isolated.

What are contextual links?

They’re links that are in the written text of a web page. (That last sentence had a contextual link, since the link is within the written text.)

I feel that it’s an important distinction that had to be made.

Now, back to what John was saying:

“But, like I said, people did this way in the beginning, and it was a really kind of traditional spam technique, almost, and I don’t know if this ever actually worked, so from that point of view, I would say, ‘No this doesn’t make any sense.’

“Obviously, if you have good content within your website and part of that references existing other content then…that whole structure that makes a little bit more sense and means that your website overall is a good thing, but just having a link to some authoritative page–that doesn’t change anything.”

Outbound Links Don’t Make Up for Lack of Good Content

From listening to John, my takeaway is that it’s not good to have a low-quality page, and just link to some authoritative site in a bid to ‘look good.’

Instead, your page should have good content, and then, link to a related site. 

Source: Google Search Central YouTube channel