Every webmaster dreads seeing the “rel=nofollow” tag when they get a link. They believe there is no value from the link. Also, they tend to ignore websites and publications that have the policy to use no-follow for all external links. However, there is evidence that no-follow links provide benefits regarding SEO and traffic.
Rather than ignore sites which provide no-follow links outright, look for those that will provide exposure for the brand in the right market. All you need is one no-follow link from a top-tier publisher to see the difference. For example. A link from Buzzfeed can increase your organic traffic, referral traffic, social shares, and even sales. It can be hard to get links from sites like Buzzfeed, but every niche has top-tier publishers looking for content and stories.
Also, sites that have no-follow links are more open to working with sites on articles because they know its not for link-building. You can make sites with no-follow link policies a part of your outreach efforts. People look down on spam and link-building so much that they openly welcome anyone that wants to work together without the benefit of that link equity.
There is another reason that you should look for no-follow links, and that is Google. The official statement from Google on no-follow links is “In general, we don’t follow them.”. The statement implies that in some cases, which they do not explicitly state anywhere, that they do follow and provide link equity from external links.