After Google's Penguin and Panda updates, introduced over the last couple of years in an attempt to crack down on misappropriated links across the web, webmasters across the world have begun to question their linking practices. Here is a quick overview on how we approach this issue at


External Links

An external link is a link that points at an external domain – i.e. not your own domain.

  • External links are the most important source of ranking power * yes this statement is still valid in 2014
  • External links pass what some SEOs like to call "link juice" (basically, ranking power) to the sites they are linking to. This “link juice” works differently to normal internal equity; the search engines effectively consider them as third-party votes for that site.
  • Of the attributes within a HTML link, it is believed that the "title" link attribute is not used for ranking purposes – so we wouldn’t recommend spending time optimising this.
  • Although it still passes some meaning, post-Penguin, anchor text does not play a major role for ranking. Indeed, a back-link profile with lots of unbranded and unnatural could be deemed suspicious by the search engine algorithms. We would therefore very much use crafted anchor text sparingly.

These external links can come in two different forms. It’s important to know the difference between the three and how to spot them.

Do Follow Links

A do follow link tells search engines to follow the destination inside the link.

E.G. <a href=””> Outreachr </a> or sometimes
<a href= rel=”dofollow”>Outreachr</a>

When a page has a do follow link pointing at it, the link contributes to raising the pages SEO rankings. The more high quality links the page has pointing at it the better as more ‘link juice’ is passed to the page.

No Follow Links

A no follow link lets no link juice pass through it and tells search engines not to visit the resource. No follow links will have the rel=”nofollow” in their HTML. These links provide contribute nothing to a pages overall ranking and are therefore undesirable in the link building process.  

E.G. <a href= rel=”nofollow”> Outreachr </a>

How to check the link type

Checking a link type is straightforward and there are a couple of ways you can find out.

1. Inspect element

In your browser window right click inspect element. Then the browsers console window will appear where you can view the HTML of the link you chose to inspect. You can then see if your link to see its structure. See the screenshot below. 

1.Install a browser extension

Google Chrome's nofollow extension and Mozilla Firefox's Greasemonkey both are plugins that aid you in looking for nofollow links on a webpage by detecting them automatically.

Sacrifice Links

A sacrifice link is an external link to one of the following:

  • Non-competitive site e.g. if you are Expedia, Opodo might be deemed a competitive site.
  • Informational and international resources like Wikipedia/local government site
  • Image / video resources such as Flickr or YouTube

Sacrifice links are used during link building work such as guest posting to ensure a blog post appears more natural and ensure that a page doesn’t solely link to one external site – which again might highlight it as more suspicious. Ideally sacrifice links shouldn’t be needed within a post, because most (even promotional) blog posts written naturally will include several links to other sites, but the reality is that they sometimes are.

A page looks very natural with a series of links in that post, but you just want to make sure you’re not linking to any rival sites!

Noise Links

A noise link is a link containing generic words that are unrelated to the site, encouraging people to go to the resource within the link.

E.G. <a href= >Click here </a> Or
<a href= >More info </a>