Google Announces Updates on NoFollow, Sponsored and UGC
Recent Google NoFollow Changes
Google turned the internet world on its head causing confusion and concern about changing Nofollow attributes that have been in place since 2005 as a way for publishers to protect their rankings. As of March 1, 2020, Google will begin treating NoFollow attributes in a different way, approaching them as “hints” instead of as definitive rules that must be followed. This shift means Google may crawl all sites with possible negative results.
Prior to this change, publishers had the option of assigning NoFollow attributes to a site, as a way to manage comment spam and suspicious links posted by users. Business leaders will do anything to protect their Google ranking. The designation of “NoFollow”, “sponsored”, and “UGC”, indicated different categories and were essentially off the table for being negatively judged based on related links.
How these Changes Will Impact SEO Strategy
The common consensus is that most companies don’t need to worry or adjust their SEO strategies at this point in time. Apparently, Google offers no incentive to make changes related to NoFollow attributes. Paid links are required to continue using “UGC” or “sponsored” attributes on links that have been paid for or risk being charged a penalty. In the past and present, Google can penalize any publisher for accepting payment or anything of value for linking out if they don’t utilize the NoFollow attribute.
While any new algorithm change is always met with skepticism and concern, the rule of the day for SEO experts and site managers is often to monitor the analytics to see what the true impact of the Google changes are before panicking. Adjustments can be made once the new rules start in March of 2020.
Past NoFollow Challenges
The system worked in most cases, but there were exceptions. Sites like Forbes and Wikipedia used NoFollow to protect their entire site because they were worried about being penalized. Many large sites feel incapable of being able to properly police UGC links to prevent penalties. The reason this development concerns Google is because Google is blind to large portions of relevant data blocked by the NoFollow policy. By opening up the Nofollow Policy, Google is in a position to factor this information into the algorithms.
Explanations for Google’s Nofollow Change
One of the possible explanations for Google’s sudden new interest in NoFollow exceptions is the fact that links have become a smaller factor online with forum traffic decreasing. Essentially, are less links being posted. Additionally, blogging volume has also dropped while video and audio content comprise a larger percentage of content. Typically, content related to videos and audio productions don’t inspire links.
Google rankings are life and death for many advertisers and online companies. As digital marketing continues to be the lifeblood of many company’s marketing efforts, Google algorithm changes are big news, leaving company SEO professionals in a high-alert status until the dust has settled.