A key distinction between types of links is nofollow and dofollow links. The difference between nofollow links and dofollow links is that Google uses only dofollow links in making search engine rankings. Nofollow links on their own will not improve the position in a Google search of the linked item, whether it be a website, a video, a YouTube channel, or anything else. Dofollow links…do affect search engine rankings. Before Google created the nofollow attribute in 2005, all links were dofollow.
When you create a link through a social media platform—including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and the rest—the place where you create the link affects whether it is a dofollow link or a nofollow link. Most will be nofollow, an attempt to discourage spam comments. On Facebook all links are nofollow. Here’s a rundown of YouTube links and whether they are nofollow or dofollow.
YouTube links are mostly nofollow
There are a number of ways to place links on your YouTube channel. Start by going to My Channel via the button on the left on YouTube, and then select “About” in the middle/right on the page. You’ll want to link your website in the channel description, even though all links in this area are nofollow.
Below this you can set custom links and social links. Once you add a custom link overlaid on your channel art (most organizations have their main website here), your logo will appear on the lower right as a link to the same site. You can also set any other channels you wish to feature. If your organization has very close ties to another, featuring that organization’s YouTube channel might make sense.
Of all of these YouTube links, only one is dofollow: the first custom link you include, overlaid on the channel art, is dofollow (in this case, minimatters.com). The logo to its left and any social links you add to the right will be nofollow. The image to the left shows part of the banner from our channel. All the nofollow links have red lines around them.
Another exception to the nofollow-rule in YouTube links is that by default annotations are dofollow links. The annotation shown here on the Shizumi Kodomo Dance Troupe’s video, National Cherry Blossom Festival 2013 – Japanese Dancing, would have a red line around it if it weren’t.
Nofollow YouTube links (and nofollow links in general) have value
While nofollow links don’t directly benefit the position on Google of the material they link, they’re still valuable. First of all, the object of being high up on Google is to get traffic, and any nofollow link can itself generate traffic. People aren’t any less likely to follow a link because it’s nofollow. Furthermore, that traffic can itself feed your placement on Google, even if the link that got people to your site isn’t enhancing that placement.
For anyone that likes to look “under the hood” in matters such as these, you might like to know that we created the above image with the nofollow links revealed by installing this extension by Igorware on our Internet browser that reveals nofollow links. It was surprisingly simple, so go ahead and see what it reveals.
If MiniMatters can help you with business video, fundraising video, association video, or other video production needs, we’d love to provide an estimate through our online form, talk with you at 301-339-0339, or communicate via email at [email protected]. We serve associations, foundations, nonprofits, and businesses primarily in Washington, DC, Maryland, and northern Virginia.