Google announced in September 2019 that they would be treating the way the treat nofollow links as of March 1st, 2020. Alongside this, they also introduced two new link attributes for sponsored and user-generated content.

Now that the change is here, we look at what it actually means to you and whether you need to make any changes.

Nofollow link attributes:

  • rel=”sponsored”: Use the sponsored attribute to identify links on your site that were created as part of advertisements, sponsorships or other compensation agreements.
  • rel=”ugc”: UGC stands for User Generated Content, and the ugc attribute value is recommended for links within user generated content, such as comments and forum posts.
  • rel=”nofollow”: Use this attribute for cases where you want to link to a page but don’t want to imply any type of endorsement, including passing along ranking credit to another page.

What’s changed with the nofollow link?

Since the nofollow link attribute was first introduced in 2005, Google have not counted any link that is marked with nofollow. But, any link, whether it’s marked nofollow, ugc or sponsored will now act as a ‘hint’ as Google uses these links alongside other signals to better understand the use of links and how to use them within their algorithms.

Does it mean you have to change your existing links?

Absolutely not, it will just change how Google views them, but you don’t need to update any of your existing nofollow links.

Should you be using the ugc and sponsored link attributes?

If you have the time and resource and it’s a relatively simple change to make feel free to make it, but you will be unlikely to see any benefit for your site.

But, if you are linking out to sites as part of a paid sponsorship or something similar, you should at least make sure that this is a nofollow link.

If you need any more help or advice, feel free to give us a call or drop us a message.