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Google’s Nofollow, Sponsored and UGC Link Attributes Update

Google always try to serve all the users with the best. This time Google has come with the new update in Link attribution for publishers. Further, the change is helpful for Google to understand the nature of the link and webpage associated with that link. This announcement by Google was made on the 10th of September of this year. Here are the reasons for this update by Google and how it will impact SEO.

What is Nofollow Link Attribute?

As of basic definition, Nofollow links are the links that are not followed by Google Crawler. In other words, Google does not crawl or index Nofollow Links. Google introduced the Nofollow link attribute in January 2005 (Preventing comment spam). There was two major behind the launch of Nofollow attribute that is as follows:

  1. To prevent the publishers from getting hurt form linking to low-quality sites or spams in UGC (User Generated Content).
  2. To prevent getting penalized from paid or sponsored links as Google can penalize the website that offers links in exchange of any amount.

Why did Google introduce this new update?

After introducing the Nofollow attribute, many websites started offering Nofollow links from the entire website to keep them safe from getting hurt or penalized. And this made the Link Graph less effective to understand the web for Google. This is what makes Google change the attribute for better understanding.

Link Attribution and Impact on SEO

Till now the attribution was rel=”nofollow” which was used for all the UGC, sponsored and untrusted links. And, there was no impact on ranking because the links were not crawled or indexed by Google.

With this update, now the attribution has changed and the new attributions are as follows

               rel=”ugc” for User-generated Content

               rel=”sponsored” for paid and sponsored links

               rel=”nofollow” for untrusted sites

As of now these links will not be crawled and indexed by Google but they will offer a hint to Google for ranking, which means these links will be helpful for ranking.

Also, as of hint, Google is going to update the impact over ranking in March 2020. According to the upcoming update, the link structure will remain the same. But these links may be used for crawling and indexing purpose in certain cases. As well as, they may be impacted over ranking in the future.

Do you need to update your links structure? If yes, then which attribute should you use?

There is no need to make this change for most of the sites. It depends upon you if you want to. But in certain cases, publishers should implement the changes. Firstly, sites that want Google to understand the nature of sites better. For example sites like Forbes can implement this update, which also will be beneficial for users. In other case, sites that want to control crawl using Nofollow. These websites can make the change because in future Nofollow links will also offer hint in crawling and indexing.

If you are updating your website this change and confused with link attributes, which one to choose. So here is the Google Guidelines to Qualify your Outbound links to Google.

To learn more about Google’s Nofollow, Sponsored and UGC Link Attributes Update here is an image from Moz that can help you.

Moz nofollow link attribute update

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