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Google Evolving Nofollow? The role of the label has changed significantly

A few hours ago, Google’s official blog posted a post: Evolving “nofollow” – new ways to identify the nature of links , the new method of judging the nature of links , published today, the role of the nofollow tag and Google’s approach to nofollow has changed dramatically.

Nofollow tag history

The classic nofollow tag function and usage method have been written in previous posts. For details, readers can refer to previous posts.

The nofollow tag (accurately said to be an attribute, but a convention or a tag) is a search engine launched by Google and Yahoo in 2005. The purpose is to tell search engines not to track links with nofollow, not to pass link weights, not to search algorithms. Calculate this link in . Baidu also supports the nofollow tag.

The original purpose of nofollow is to add to forums, blog posts, etc., because the links in these places are added by other users, not the webmaster’s vote on other websites. Soon nofollow is also widely used in advertising and sponsored links, because such links should not be considered a vote.

Since the search engine basically ignores the nofollow link, the pages pointed to by the nofollow link won’t get weight, and the SEOs start using nofollow to control the flow of internal link weights . However, Google does not recommend this usage, and clearly tells SEOs that the nofollow tag is a waste of weight . It has been popular to use nofollow to control the weight of internal link weights, but most English websites are no longer doing this.

At present, Baidu’s handling of nofollow tags is the same as Google’s, and it is not certain. In the past, Baidu engineers said that nofollow tags would not waste weight, so Chinese websites use nofollow to control internal weights more effectively. Is it still established? I have the opportunity to confirm with my friend who is looking for Baidu.

What is the major change in the nofollow tag this time?

Google’s post mainly announced two major changes to deal with nofollow:

One is to add two new properties:

Ref=”sponsored: This new attribute/tag is used to label ads, sponsors, or other links that exist for profit.

Ref=”ugc”: This new attribute/tag is used for UGC (user-generated content), such as forum posts, blog comments, and the like.

Ref=”nofollow”: This old attribute/tag is still used for links that do not have any voting, endorsement, and does not pass ranking weights.

In other words, the two newly announced labels are a new special label for advertising and UGC.

The second major change is that it is even more significant: these three tags will be treated as a hint by the Google search algorithm when deciding whether a link should be considered (the word used by Google is a hint), and it is easier to understand the word of the point. A suggestion, not an instruction.

The previous nofollow is basically an instruction, Google will ignore the link added with nofollow, and do not consider this link at all when calculating the weight flow. In the future, Google will only use these three tags as suggestions. Whether the algorithm considers this link, Google will make other decisions based on other factors.

Why do you want to make this change?

Used well, why is there such a sudden change? Google’s statement is to better analyse and use the link signal. The link contains a number of signals that improve the quality of your search, such as anchor text. Google now feels that considering all the links will help Google better understand the unnatural link patterns.

Taking the three labels of the nofollow family as a suggestion will not only make Google lose valuable information, but also retain the mechanism by which the webmaster indicates that the link is not a vote.

Starting today, Google immediately uses the nofollow three tags as suggestions in the search ranking algorithm. Google’s crawling and indexing algorithm began to use the nofollow three tags as recommendations from March 2, 2020. It seems that the nofollow tag has no effect on Google rankings . The webmaster who is doing English SEO in the next few days can pay attention to whether the ranking has changed significantly. And nofollow should have a more obvious impact on crawling, crawling, and indexing. After all, the link weights will change.

In most cases, even if Google’s handling is changed to a suggestion, it won’t change the nature and role of the link, because the link is usually not considered in the algorithm, as before. Google should carefully evaluate how to use the new link data.

At the moment, I feel that SEOs don’t have to make any changes. Observe the situation first, and it probably won’t matter. There is a potential impact on crawling and indexing, but Google is also very cautious. It will definitely collect more data in the months before March 2020, assessing the impact and not causing large fluctuations in search results.

several questions

Google Posts specifically answered questions that several webmasters might ask. Here is a brief introduction. Not a translation, just pick a few points that I find interesting. If you want to see the full text, please see Google’s post.

Need to modify the existing nofollow tag?

No need to. Whether it’s for ads or posts, messages, existing nofollow tags continue to work, no need to change.

However, if the existing nofollow tag is used for advertising links, Google still says no need to change, but it is recommended to change to ref=”sponsored” when there is work. It seems that Google is very sensitive to links that have interest exchanges. It also wants to dig more data. Some links are changed to ref=”sponsored” to make Google more accurate when it comes to judging ad links.

Can a link use multiple attribute values?

can. For example, ref=”ugc sponsored” can mean that the link is an advertisement and the content generated by the user, ref=”nofollow ugc” means that the user generates content, and the link does not need to be tracked. (Note that this is only a suggestion)

What if the property is wrong?

In addition to advertising, it is not a big deal to use the wrong attributes. For example, writing UGC or non-advertising links as ref=”sponsored” has nothing to do with, at most, it does not calculate this link, and the current nofollow effect is the same.

But if it’s an ad link, you still need to use ref=”sponsored” (previously, it’s better to use this), or ref=”nofollow” (also). What if the ad link is labeled as ugc? Google didn’t say it, but obviously didn’t recommend it. Therefore, the existing ref=”nofollow” may not be changed, but do not change the link of the advertisement nature to ref=”ugc”.

Impact on external link building

As mentioned before, there is no need to modify the links on your website. But at least for English-language websites, this change in nofollow’s role may have a major impact on the way external links are built .

All along, SEOs’ enthusiasm for nofollow links when building external links is much smaller than that of dofollow links. But even if you add a nofollow link in the future, it may be regarded as a normal, weighted link by Google. For some people, this may be a good thing.

For example, in a website with high degree of popularity on various social media websites, websites that are recommended in wikis, encyclopedias, and Q&A websites, websites that have long participation in the forum and have many signatures, many nofollow links that were not useful before may be overnight. The room becomes more effective.

Of course, in the end, which nofollow links are treated as ordinary links, we will not know that social media sites and news sites that add nofollow to their links will not know. When doing external chain construction, you don’t have to think about whether there is nofollow, just consider whether it is beneficial to attract users.

Will Baidu and Bing follow up? We will wait and see.

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