A few weeks ago in their blog, Google announced that changes related to the attribute “nofollow”. Now he will be Advisory in nature, and the decision as to whether to consider the link when the ranking will decide the search engine.

The news was unexpected and caused quite a rough and ambiguous reaction from representatives of the SEO industry. One gets the feeling that while such measures can be understood fully only to “Google”.

What is “nofollow” and why Google decided to end it?

The attribute of “nofollow” was introduced in 2005 to combat referral spam in the comments. Google had forbidden the search engine to follow the links to give them weight and to consider them as a signal when ranking. Over time, it began to use the forums and large sites, which users in most cases recorded, only to get the link. The closures of the links spread throughout the network, and for a long time SEOs passed each other sacral base dofollow sites with open links due to the influx of spammers, too, eventually closed.

Currently, almost all large sites with lots of user-generated content (“Wikipedia”, “Twitter”, “Facebook”, etc.) automatically adds “nofollow” to each URL on the page. Some less popular ones take up this practice in the hope that the use of a special attribute to links will make the site “cleaner” and more attractive in the eyes of search engines. In the end, doing everything, but poorly understood, why.

The problem is that using “nofollow”, sites simply do not allow you to scan links, giving the search engine to evaluate them. Because of this, search engines lose from sight a large amount of information that could be used to improve algorithms. Finally, realizing the problem, Google has decided to radically change the rules of accounting nofollow links and give them a chance to participate in the ranking. Now the search engine itself will determine whether to consider a link or not.

What exactly are the innovations

For Google “rel=”nofollow” will no longer be a prohibition on changing the link and the transfer of their weight/authority (although, as shown by some studies and experiments, this attribute had not been forbidden). Now it will act as tips, recommendations, which the search engine will take into account when making their own decisions about “fate” reference.

While this applies to transfer weight to the page and consideration when ranking, but from March 1 the search engine will also in its sole discretion to scan these URLs.

In addition, there are two new attribute for marking advertising and user-generated content: “rel=”sponsored” a” and “rel=”ugc””. They also serve only as a hint but give useful for search engine information.

New attributes can be combined with “nofollow”. For example, if a webmaster doesn’t want the search engine to take into account links from blog comments, you should add the line “rel=”nofollow ugc”.

What to do now?

Nothing. Representatives from Google have assured that there is no need to make changes if everything was done according to the rules. Even if you used “nofollow” for marking of advertising links and continue to do so after the emergence of new attributes, it’s no crime. The use of “sponsored” and “ugc” helps search engines to understand the type of reference, but is not mandatory.

Why some have perceived the changes negatively

Largely this measure may seem useless: on the one hand, Google has introduced new attributes that can help them deal with the nature of the links and left the need to use these attributes, at the discretion of webmasters, thereby not encouraging them to help. Realizing that innovations will add a headache, the search engine does not require them to apply decisive action. Perhaps over time, Google will start to promote sites for the use of “sponsored” and “ugc”, but it benefits webmasters unclear.

As for the attribute “sponsored”, it is many members of the SEO community is generally wary suddenly after a massive “coming out” Google will come up with a punishment for those who post too much (in their opinion) advertising?

Another concern of SEOs is associated with the changes that will occur in the next year when Google in its sole discretion will begin scanning links with “nofollow”. A common practice is to close the links to special pages (filters online stores, baskets buyers, etc.) that the robot did not spend time on them. If Google will choose to scan a URL or not, whether it will lead to problems with indexing?

Representatives of the search engine claim that it is not necessary to abandon the usual practice. As said by Danny Sullivan in his “Twitter”, in most cases, the transition to a new Advisory model does not change the relationship of the search to the links.

danny sullivan


This information was confirmed by John Mueller on 20 September during a Hangouts chat with webmasters. He said that the changes will affect external links, but from the inside, everything will remain the same.

john mueller

Why it is really is good?

The information in the blog search engines and the social networks are one common promise: any major changes innovation will not bring. But whatever the assurances of Google, it still needs to consider some nuances.

To get links from authoritative resources it is becoming increasingly difficult, and the use of “nofollow” devalues their website work. Although, if you look, even links from forums can be useful, as often they communicate with experts and https://skartecedu.in/link-building-strategies/not just spammers.

If Google itself will evaluate the usefulness of links, regardless of the attribute, this can play into the hands of honest link builders, and they will get more advantages in the rankings. Over time, the algorithm will learn even better to recognize low-quality links and will make the existence of grey schemes close to impossible.

Many SEOs believe that Google used to consider nofollow links before, but only now the search engine has openly declared about the implementation of such practices. Innovations will put an end to years of disputes SEO specialists and will bring greater clarity to the process of link building.


Changes have only recently entered into force, so we can only guess what they actually will. It is obvious that Google is moving by leaps and bounds in the direction of improving search and use all means available to him So, corny as it may sound, it’s time to go on the bright side and to invest more effort in creating a quality reference mass of the site.



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