Important SEO News: Google Evolves The Nofollow Attribute

When nofollow attribute was first presented back in 2005, the spam-commenting-game was finally turned on its head. The final blow from Google came when the nofollow attribute got on their list of recommended methods that help Google recognize sponsored or advertising related links.
Over the years, nofollow was constantly evolving, but a couple of days ago, there’s been another Google algorithm update. This update includes two brand new link attributes that will further improve Googles' understanding of the nature of links.

The New Link Attributes

Here are the brand new link attributes:


With the sponsored attribute, you label any links on your website that are sponsored, paid advertisements, or part of compensation agreement.


UGC is short for User Generated Content that is used to describe any form of content such as videos, discussion on forum posts, comments, audio files or digital images that are created by the brands' consumers. The UGC attribute is placed only in links that are part of User Generated Content, such as comments and forum posts.

And while we are at it:


This old attribute is used in situations where you don’t want a certain link on your website that links to another page to transfer link power. You don’t want Google to think that the link is any type of endorsement. With that said, you can rest assured that you’re not passing any ranking credit (read: Link Juice) to another page.


What does this mean?

Google has repeatedly stated that they don’t take nofollow links as any kind of signal within their search algorithms, other than their main nofollow function. This has been highly debated among the SEO community. However, the debate has come to an end. Nofollow, sponsored and UGC, are now the three link attributes that Google definitely takes into consideration for including or excluding results in Search.

Why don’t they just ignore links, like always?

Different kinds of links that from now on must be labeled, will give Googles’ algorithm more data fuel to boost its improvements, especially for Search. Not only will Big G more easily understand the meaning of the words within links, but also identify any unnatural linking patterns.

Should I change the nofollow links on my website?

No need. If your page uses the nofollow attribution for blocking sponsored links, or to imply that you don’t endorse a certain page you link to, that would still work. Google said there’s no need to change existing nofollow links.

Can I insert more than one attribution to a link?

Definitely. Let’s say you have some link that came from User Generated Content AND is also sponsored. In that case, it's valid to place rel=”ugc sponsored” as an attribute.
Also, you can combine nofollow with the new attributes - rel=”nofollow ugc” or rel=”nofollow sponsored”

Should I add the new attributes to sponsored links?

If you don’t want Google to suspect a possible link scheme you must add a rel=“sponsored” or rel=“nofollow” in order to label these links. There’s not much difference for Google which one you use.

To Wrap Up

This is an enormous shift to a Hint Model that Google now implements. They finally admitted that this information is of great value for them and they’ll never again ignore it.

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