Google to take care of nofollow link attribute as a ‘hint’
Google can be adding two new link attributes, one for sponsored links and one for user generated content links.
Google has announced Tuesday that today the
nofollow link attribute (i.e.
rel="nofollow“) is going to be viewed as a “hint” rather than as a directive for ranking purposes. Additionally, Google is adding two additional link attributes, in addition to the
rel="nofollow" to provide much more context about this content you’re linking to.
Until this change, any link with the
rel="nofollow" attribute included with it wouldn’t be counted at all by Google for use within its search algorithms. Google said it’s now time for link attributes to “evolve&rdquo ;.New attributes for sponsored content and user-generated content (UGC) are joining
nofollow, and the three will function in the following ways:
rel="sponsored": The newest sponsored attribute may be used to spot links on your site that were created included in advertisements, sponsorships and other compensation agreements.
ugc attribute value is preferred for links within user generated content, such as for example comments and forum posts.
nofollow attribute is for cases when you wish to link to a typical page but don’t desire to imply any type of endorsement, including passing along ranking credit to another page, Google said.
Today vs March 2020: Today Google will treat the nofollow attribute as a trace for ranking purposes. Meaning Google might count a link as credit, consider it included in spam analysis or for other ranking purposes.
On March 2, 2020, Google will use it also for crawling and indexing. That means will Google use it as a “hint” as to what must be indexed or crawled but it is way better to make use of robots.txt or meta tags for that purpose anyway.
History. Google launched the nofollow link attribute in 2005 as a means to fight comment spam. After that it expanded it to be utilized as a means of “flagging advertising-related or sponsored links” that may allow you to get in big trouble with link schemes.
Hint vs. ignore. Google said all these methods is going to be considered “hints” about how exactly to take care of the links rather than an instruction to ignore the links. The organization said it’s making the change as it can now collect data on the in-patient links, including the language within anchor text, and evaluate links in aggregate to raised identify link schemes while still considering the hyperlink attribute signals.
“Links contain valuable information that will help us improve search, such as for example how the language within links describe content they point at,” Google said. “Considering most of the links we encounter also can help us better understand unnatural linking patterns. By shifting to a trace model, we no more lose this important info, while still allowing site owners to point that some links shouldn’t get the weight of a first-party endorsement.”
Will the search results change? Google told us that it generally does not expect significant changes to the search results at the time of an outcome to this. However, Google has become able to begin taking a look at how to make use of this data in its search ranking systems and changing to the hint treatment will give Google more flexibility in how it treats links with your attributes in search.
“All the hyperlink attributes — sponsored, UGC and
nofollow — are treated as hints about which links to think about or exclude within Search,” said Google.
No change needed. There is you should not change your
nofollow links today, the company said. You can leave
nofollow attributes in your UGC or sponsored links. “There’s absolutely you should not change any
nofollow links that you already have,” however Google added, for sponsored content it “recommend[s] switching over to
rel="sponsored" if or when it is convenient.”
Multiple link attributes supported. You can use a variety of more than one of the attributes in one link tag. You can tag just one link with
rel="ugc sponsored" or
rel="nofollow ugc".The first would hint to Google that the hyperlink came from user-generated content and is sponsored.
Result in more comment spam? Google said no, this should not end in more comment spam. Google wrote, “Many sites that enable third-parties to contribute to content already deter link spam in a variety of ways, including moderation tools that can be built-into many blogging platforms and human review. The hyperlink attributes of “ugc” and “nofollow” will remain another deterrent. In most cases, the move to a trace model won’t change the character of exactly how we treat such links. We’ll generally treat them once we did with nofollow before and not consider them for ranking purposes. We shall still continue steadily to carefully assess how to make use of links within Search, just once we will have and as we’ve had to complete for situations where no attributions were provided.”
Why we care. Google told us there should be no significant impact to the search results consequently of the change. If Google starts counting nofollowed links on large and respected sites that simply implemented a nofollow link policy as an umbrella rule and now Google counts those links, you might see those links start counting for sites; if and when Google decides to change how it respects the nofollow attribute. For example, all external links on Wikipedia are nofollowed, if those links start counting, and you have lots of links from Wikipedia, you might see your rankings improve.
At once, you can bet this will result in more work for your SEO agency. You will now need to adapt your client recommendations on which link attributes you should connect with specific links, on the basis of the criteria above. Plus, the toolset providers that measure links will need to adapt as well.