Search engine giant Google has officially announced major changes in the way it treated NoFollow links. It has also added two new attributes – Sponsored and UGC. It is to be noted that so far nofollow links were not considered as a part of Google’s ranking algorithm but after the introduction of these twin attributes, the links will be seen as ‘hints.’
Google brought the concept of nofollow attribute about 15 years ago with an aim to combat spam comments. As time progressed, it became one of Google’s most popular techniques to flag advertisement-based sponsored links.
Two new attributes were introduced last month, helping webmasters with more methods for identifying the Google Search nature of particular links. We can highlight them as-
- rel=Sponsored- It helps in identifying the links on a site created as a part of advertising, sponsorship, and agreement.
- rel= UGC- It helps to identify the links that are found within the user-generated content. Examples include comments and forum posts.
- rel=nofollow- you can use this attribute in cases where you want to link to a page but don’t want to use any type of endorsement such as to pass ranking credit to another page.
What are the key announcements made by Google, which will influence search engine optimization?
- Link attributes can now be done in three ways – sponsored, ugc, and nofollow. Each of the methods has a distinctive meaning.
- Each of the nofollow attributes is treated as hints. They will have no impact on SEO ranking. However, it’s up to Google as it may not choose directive and opt for nofollow for ranking.
- Google will continue to ignore nofollow links for crawling and indexing purposes. But come March 1st, 2020, this behavior will undergo the changes where you can choose to crawl them.
- The new attributes can be combined with one another such as rel=nofollow sponsored ugc is valid.
- For paid links, you have to use either nofollow or sponsored attributes. You cannot use ugc for paid links as it may lead to a penalty.
- The publishers don’t have any role here. Google will not penalize for making changing or not making changes.
- If you are using a nofollow link to control the crawling, you might have to reconsider your strategy.
Important Points from an SEO Perspective
- The first and foremost point that SEO experts need to note is that attributes are still very important. They are as essential as flag ads and sponsored links that save you from penalties. You can choose either to nofollow or sponsored attribute or even both.
- You will not have to make any changes to the nofollow attribute or link as Google has said that it will continue to lend its support to sponsored attributes according to the condition.
- The website owners will not have to make any changes to the way they use the nofollow attributes to flag the links. Instead, they can migrate to a sponsored attribute according to the demand.
Does NoFollow Link Impact of the Site Ranking
To answer this question in one simple sentence, yes, nofollow link influences the site ranking. Before Google’s announcement, most SEO professionals were under the impression that nofollow links were not used for crawling and indexing purposes. They also viewed that the links played no role in the ranking of the website.
But to tell you the truth, there is still a lot of confusion over the second belief as there is no such clarity from Google. However, according to some experimental data, Google has used the nofollow to rank potential websites.
Since Google introduced the new attributes, there have been some changes in the scenario. For instance, the nofollow links are still not used for indexing and crawling. Also, all links have now officially become hints for ranking purposes. Google uses hints in place of directives.
Summing up the Discussion
All the new attributes introduced by Google i.e. the NoFollow, UGC, and sponsored have already come into effect. They are going to be treated as hints where a link may be regarded as credit or as a spam analysis. From March onwards, nofollow be used for crawling and indexing and used as a hint.