Google Announces Update to Nofollow Links

Google has announced that it will be changing how nofollow links are recognised. Before, no follow links lived a sad, lonely life and didn’t count as a ranking factor.

The nofollow tag was introduced to help fight spam. It basically told search engines to ignore the link and Google recommended that it was used for flagging sponsored or advertising-related links. Nofollow links offered no SEO value.

But this is all changing.

Coming into place in 1st March 2020, Google will start the view nofollow links as hints. These attributes will ask the search engine to consider which links to exclude. The link attributes are as follows:

  • rel=”sponsored” – identifies links which are advertisements or paid links.
  • rel=“ugc” – identifies content which is user-generated e.g. comments. This should be used when recognising contributors.
  • rel=“nofollow” – this should be used when the link isn’t one you want Google to associate with your site.

You can use more than one rel value on a link e.g. nofollow ugc for comments which include paid links.

Google said: “Looking at all the links we encounter can also help us better understand unnatural linking patterns. By shifting to a hint model, we no longer lose this important information, while still allowing site owners to indicate that some links shouldn’t be given the weight of a first-party endorsement.”

Should you change your existing nofollow links?

Google says no. There is no need to change your existing nofollow links as Google will continue to view those as they were set up. rel=“nofollow” and rel=“sponsored” links basically work in the same way but Google does recommend that you use rel=“sponsored” where relevant.

Using these new attribute links will help Google to better process links and understand how they should be viewed. This works with your own content and when others link back to your website. When everyone uses the correct attribute links, it means improved SEO for all.

If you don’t have the time or technical knowledge to work on improving these factors, we can help.  Youbiquity specialises in SEO services for small to medium sized businesses and we’d be happy to help. Request a free SEO audit to get started today!

Sources: Google