I came across a forum post recently, and the OP was asking whether no follow links count. Now, the top answer was from CEO at SlickText.
There is no solid statement from the search engines that proves that nofollow links do provide SEO value. There is evidence, however, that shows that having a certain percentage of your backlinks as nofollow helps with rankings.
If you think about it, right now, spammers don’t spend time with nofollow links as the officially don’t pass any value. So the people that do have nofollow links must be generating content and partaking in real discussion.
To really explain what a no follow link is, you must first understand what a follow link is. Infact, you need to know that Google’s search algorithm “PageRank”–explained here–is a metric that calculates “link points”, or link juice. The more link points you have, the better your site tends to sit in the search rankings. This obviously among a bunch of other ranking metrics, but backlinks has long had a strong correlation with high rankings.
Follow links give you positive link points. They boost your rankings.
No follow links on the other hand, do not pass link juice.
There are rumours that too many nofollow links can actually hurt your site’s rankings. Matt Cutts clears up the nofollow link problem in the following video.
You can avoid these problems by ensuring you have a high link diversity. This is explained next.
“The rel=’nofollow’ attribute is an easy way for a website to tell search engines that the website can’t or doesn’t want to vouch for a link…Nofollow is recommended anywhere that links can’t be vouched for.”
In short, using the ‘nofollow‘ attribute is one of the most effective ways of ensuring that your outbound linking doesn’t harm your website’s SEO.
After the Google’s penguin update, s*** hit the fan for a lot of people. But we now know that link diversity is extremely important. So while yes, dofollow links should boost you up the rankings, its the nofollow links that are going to keep you in your spot. It’s the nofollow links benefitting your off-page SEO efforts.
Here’s another fantastic quote from Weidert.com which goes through the value no follow links brings beyong simply just SEO.
Additional Website Traffic
With any link that you obtain from a referring website, NoFollow or not, these act as a gateway into your site that introduce your content to a larger audience that you wouldn’t have had before. So before you discount a well-positioned NoFollow link on another site that’s getting a ton of consistent traffic, think of what that link could do for your site traffic and your content reach.
It’s only logical that if you’re attracting additional site traffic that you’re increasing your chance of converting more leads as well, right? Well, assuming you have the proper conversion opportunities in place like various forms of advanced content that require a form conversion in exchange for the download. If you know certain NoFollow links are providing consistent referral traffic you’re focus should be turning these pages into high-conversion pages (similar to a landing page), by experimenting with different calls-to-action offers and placement.
Although the NoFollow link by definition is flagged to not be followed by search algorithms, as a contributing factor for PageRank, it’s important to look at the indirect SEO benefits and additional value these links offer. Stop obsessing over only attracting DoFollow links and instead focus your efforts on creating quality content that will naturally attract a mix of NoFollow and well deserved DoFollow links.
I found this fantastic infographic by SearchEngineLand. It’ll answer everything you could want answered about nofollow links.