Google’s Latest Changes to NoFollow Links

The nofollow attribute was launched in 2005 as a way to deal with comment spam but evolved to be one of the recommended techniques used by Google to flag links that have been sponsored. According to SEO Warrington links should be organically earned because the content in question is worth being linked to and not because the other website was incentivised to provide the links. Nofollow is used when the website is willing to link to another page but does not want to pass any endorsement to it including credits to rank better.

Additional features for nofollow

Two new attributes resulted from the update which helps Google to identify the nature of links. These two link attributes include;

  • rel=”ugc” – user-generated content (UGC) is an attribute that is recommended for those links that are within content that is generated by users. Such content includes comments, forum posts, reviews, etc.
  • rel=”sponsored”- this attribute is used to show those links on your site that have been created as a result of various compensation arrangements, advertisements or other incentives for linking to the website.

How does this change nofollow links?

SEO Warrington confirms that initially when nofollow was launched, google did not use any link that was marked as nofollow within their search algorithms. This has however changed with the new update with nofollow, UGC and the sponsored attributes being treated as hints for which can be included or excluded in the search process. This new method is beneficial considering links are an additional source of information that can improve the search. The model, therefore, doesn’t lead to loss of useful information but still allows the webmasters to indicate links that should not be weighted like those from organic linking.

How can I use these new attributes?

It is possible to use two rel value attributes on the same link. For instance, rel= “ugc sponsored” can be used to signify that the source of the link was from a user-generated content which was sponsored by the website being linked to. additionally, with these new changes, individuals who had used nofollow before the update to describe links in their websites are not necessarily required to make changes. The nofollow links already present will still be supported and show that you do not endorse the pages which you have linked to.

Should I use the new attributes?

All in all, SEO Warrington believes that utilizing these new attributes will help Google to streamline their link analysis process online which can be beneficial for you if there are links made to your content with the same attributes. In the event you use the wrong attribute in the description of the link, there is no cause for alarm considering there are already many sponsored or UGC links that have been marked as nofollow. The effect, however, may be in the worst-case scenario that the link will not be used as a credit parameter for the other websites SEO ranking. Nevertheless, it is advisable to always flag ad links within your content or risk getting link scheme penalties which have negative implications for your site.

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