Google Evolved Link Building for SEO (Complete Guide)

On September 10th, 2019, Google released a piece of surprising news about the “nofollow” link building. Initially, nofollow attribute was presented by the Google dev to improve web indexing – and a defence mechanism against comment spam.

Google has announced that it has introduced more link attributes for a picture-perfect view of the website.

Also, the webmasters will have a good overview of Google’s link building schemes. Followed by “nofollow”, Google’s new link building attributes are:

  • rel=“ugc” – Stands for User Generated Content, this attribute is prominently useful (and recommended by Google) on forum posts and comment sections. As the abbreviation states, “rel=ugc” is used with content posted by the users.
  • rel=“sponsored” – With this attribute, Google easily identifies whether the link is sponsored, endorsed or compensated – and then index the page accordingly. In simple, if there’s a paid link in the content, make sure it’s rel=“sponsored” for Google’s understanding.
  • rel=“nofollow” – This attribute is extensively used by developers with external links – links that you want on your page, but not want to be ranked or crawled.

Here’ what Google has to say about its latest SEO link building update:

“All the link attributes — sponsored, UGC and nofollow — are treated as hints about which links to consider or exclude within Search. We’ll use these hints — along with other signals — as a way to better understand how to appropriately analyze and use links within our systems.”

With these two new link attributes, Google aims for better index, analysation and ranking of web pages.

What is Google’s new link policy?

If someone offers you an amount for a link, then mark that link as rel=“sponsored” for Google – and same is the case for link purchase.

If you wish to build a link through a content added by the user (forum posts, comments etc.), then Google wants you to use rel=“ugc”.

If you want to add external links (pages outside your website) on your web pages, then use rel=“nofollow”.

Do I have to change my old nofollow links?

Not necessarily, unless if there’s a need for it. The newly introduced link attributes help the webmasters and Google to understand the links and rank, index them accordingly. Therefore, there’s no crucial need to change existing nofollow links.

Why did Google add new link attributes?

Google’s primary focus is to bring forth betterment in the ranking schemes and indexing mechanism. Therefore, understanding links will be more helpful for this purpose.

“new ways to identify the nature of links”

New attributes (sponsored, ugc, nofollow) are considered to be hints. For indexing and crawling purposes, nofollow attribute will become hint effective on March 1, 2020, onwards.

How will it affect SEO paradigms?

Google is very smart. It has built an intelligent mechanism that allows them to go deep into the web pages. For instance, with these new link attributes, Google will easily identify the type of the link and index it accordingly. Previously, all the nofollow links of various nature were indexed the same the way. Therefore, SEO will have a huge impact on these link attributes.

You can find the complete details of the announcement here.

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