Google Nofollow Links Become 'Hint' In Search

Google plans to make changes to the way it uses nofollow links to signal search algorithms. The nofollow link attribute will act as a “hint” rather than as a specific directive for ranking. The company also will add two new two new attributes — one for sponsored content and the other for user-generated content (UGC).

All link attributes sponsored, UGC, and nofollow — will work as hints. Marketers can use a combination of one or more in a link tag. These links will “hint” to Google where the content originated or how to use the information.

Google integrated the link tags into its search algorithm for ranking purposes. For crawling and indexing, the nofollow will become what Google calls a “hint” on March 1, 2020.

The rel="nofollow": attribute is for cases where marketers might want to link to a page, but they don’t want to imply any type of endorsement, including passing along ranking credit to another page.



Those who depend on nofollow solely to block a page from being indexed should use a different method, which is linked on a Google help page.

Marketers who use nofollow for ads or sponsored links do not need to change anything. There’s no need to change existing markups, and marketers can keep using nofollow as a way to flag links to avoid possible link scheme penalties.

The rel="sponsored": sponsored attribute, which is available today, can be used to identify links on a site that were created as part of advertisements, sponsorships or other compensation agreements.

The rel="ugc": attribute value, also available today, is recommended for links within user-generated content, such as comments and forum posts.

Using the new attributes allows Google to better process links for analysis of the web. It can include brand-owned content, if people who link to the page make use of these attributes.

Links contain valuable information that help Google improve search. The information includes words links that describe the content. By switching to this model, Google no longer loses the important information.

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