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2020 Google No Crawl & Indexing Updates
Google’s #1 goal is to provide the best possible information for its users searches. However, in recent times, misinformation has been trending all over the world. To combat the spread of rumors and fake news, Google has introduced two new link attributes to help them understand the nature of links.
The two attributes that are joining the rel=“nofollow” are rel=“sponsored” and rel=“ugc”. So what do these two new attributes do? Well, the first one, rel=“sponsored”, tells Google that the links were created because they are part of an advertising or sponsorships agreement, or something similar. The other one, rel=“ugc”, tells google if the links were created as part of user-generated content from comments and forum posts, or something similar.
Google hopes to understand what the links are for and determine the effect on ranking. With this, Google will hopefully better understand which links to count in ranking content and websites. So, how does this relate to the no crawl and indexing updates? Well, in the following passages we will talk about what you need to know about the updates.
What Is The New “nofollow” Attribute?
So when Google announced the new “nofollow” attributes, people started to talk about the impact it might have on their current business. There won’t be much impact except with crawling.
Google crawlers used to ignore the “nofollow” attribute on a link, but now it will look into the new attributes to get an idea of what the link is for. This enables Google to properly rank websites and knows more about the origins of the link.
Reviewing Your Old Strategy?
There are plenty of site owners who use “nofollow” attributes to keep Google from crawling their pages. People usually use the “nofollow” attributes to stave off Google crawlers from links to user profiles, login pages, and sections of a website that can be considered thin.
Blocking Google crawlers from crawling and indexing a page was always discouraged. If you want to keep pages non-indexed by Google, there are other more robust ways, like meta robots noindex directive.
Do Link Attributes Still Matter?
Yes, they still matter. It’s still important for you to flag ads and sponsored links so that you avoid being penalized for link scheme penalties. Google prefers the use of “sponsored” attributes but simple “nofollow” is also acceptable.
Do You Need To Change Existing New Attributes?
Well, no. You do not need to change any currently existing “nofollow” links. Google will continue to honor any current links. As an SEO manager or site owner, you don’t need to consider/think of attributes and links differently.
You can still use the “nofollow” attributes to specify sponsored links and ads. However, Google has recommended you use the new attributes when possible. So use the sponsored or user content generated attributes if you have a chance.
How Do You Use The New Attributes Correctly?
Google has kept it simple like you can use more than one attribute per link. For instance, if you want to use something like “rel=“ugc sponsored” to prove that the link is sponsored and is within user-generated content, then Google will accept it.
Now, according to Google, there is no wrong way to use the attributes, except for sponsored links. How will this impact you? Well, if you mark a link as sponsored but it isn’t a part of an ad or sponsorship, then the value of that link won’t be as impactful. So point out links that are part of a sponsorship or ad. You should always use attributes like “sponsored” or “nofollow”.
Should You Use The New Attributes?
Yes. These new attributes allow Google to understand how to better rank sites of value to people. Just imagine if people are using these attributes for your content.
You should also use these attributes in your website so link-backs from shady sites aren’t counted.
Will It Encourage Spamming?
There are a few different ways you can get user-generated content for your website. If you have a blog, then you already know the number of comments posted. To deter spam links, there are a few different moderation tools that can be integrated into your website or blog. If you used “ugc” and “nofollow” attributes, they can help deter spam because they show Google what the links are for. This shouldn’t change the way Google checks and values the links.
So you don’t have to freak out about uprooting your entire SEO process because almost nothing will change.
When Do These Changes Come Into Effect?
Well, Google has been utilizing all these attributes: sponsored, UGC, and “nofollow,” as a “hint” rather than a way to rank. Note, Google started treating the “nofollow” attribute as a “hint” as of March 2020, so if you were using the “nofollow” attribute to block Google from crawling or indexing a page, then you need to change this now.
It’s An Evolution
Google has been updating its search engine regularly to better serve its users. These attributes will help Google understand the origin of the links and ensure proper ranking. This is the evolution of the “nofollow” attribute, so there’s no reason to uproot all your SEO tactics.
This evolution upgrades/updates your current system. So accept the changes with open arms because they’ll change how you value “nofollow” attributes.