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Google Adds new options to NO FOLLOW

     
5:17 pm on Sep 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google has added new options to NOFOLLOW

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.

When nofollow was introduced, Google would not count any link marked this way as a signal to use within our search algorithms. This has now changed. 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.



[webmasters.googleblog.com...]
1:57 pm on Sept 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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re: rel="sponsored":
That looks to me as if Google struggles to identify paid links, so adding "sponsored" clearly puts the label on it.
I think that's probably right.

So a bunch of sheep implement this and G gets a definite lock on at least some links to example.com being sponsored (paid).

Most probably won't implement it, some because they don't know about it, others because they choose not to.

Will G give positive credit to the sheep and penalize anyone else linking to example.com?

I think that's likely, whether they admit it or not.

Will they penalize those links even if they are NOT paid links? How would they know the difference?
.
1:00 am on Sept 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It's voluntary, says Google's Search Liaison
Er.... As opposed to what? Involuntary? Mandatory? Add these features or we’ll drop your entire site from all indexes? Of course it’s voluntary. It worries me a little bit that they even find it necessary to say so.
5:51 pm on Sept 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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We've all been learning googlespeak for years ... and we still don't understand what it means? :)
2:55 am on Sept 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Will they penalize those links even if they are NOT paid links? How would they know the difference?


Google has literally spent "years" eliminating the ad network competition, that it can no longer tell what's paid and what's not.

Since Google is "sort of" requiring an ads.txt to be configured and added to your root, I find this whole rel=blah blah blah B.S. to be somewhat over the top.

Over the past few years I've settled in to just using target=_blank ... Should be good enough for most I suppose, since rel=nofollow only served a very minimal purpose to begin with, and besides, pagerank is dead now so I'm not seeing much sense in passing out a juice that's all but dried up --- Sure, I played the game, but at the end of the day, it didn't make much of a difference at all.

I'll link to relevant players in my industry. and Google can get stuffed as far as I'm concerned, because I'm not about to assist it in any way in becoming an even bigger monopoly than it already is.
10:58 am on Sept 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Seems like more work to help Google do their job.

I don't accept paid links, I just link because something is useful or I've used their information, I've never worried about nofollow, and I wouldn't even if I was being paid for a link. I don't really care to pander to Google anymore.
1:37 pm on Sept 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@McNeely Ads.txt is a "standard" that is widely misunderstood, few Webmasters really understand it's purpose and simply include it because AdSense or some other ad network requires them to include it.

So what is Ads.txt?
Simply, the file is a general document that creates a verifiable relationship between the domain and an ad network confirming that ad-network has the right to sell ad space on that domain.

Since Google is "sort of" requiring an ads.txt to be configured and added to your root

Google doesn't "sort of" require an Ads.txt. Advertisers require an Ads.txt. So feel free not include an Ads.txt, but you may find that the ads appearing your website are far and few between as advertisers will be reluctant to buy ads fearing that they will be scammed. Just to be clear about Google in all this, if one of your, or your only, ad network is AdSense then yes Google will strongly encourage you to have an Ads.txt file, as they don't want to waste resources on sites that could potentially be running ad scams.

More to the point of the "rel=" attribute, the Ads.txt file is general document that verifies the relationship between domain and ad network, it has absolutely no relevance to individual links that appear on a page. One can have a direct agreement with another publisher to a show link to their site and there would be no need or reason to include that information in the Ads.txt. The two topics are unrelated.
9:20 pm on Sept 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google has likely completed a new means of assessing the quality links using the "other signals" and is now getting ready to roll it out (If it hasn't done so already). So by introducing this new "button" it will obfuscate the impact of these actions making webmaster think that their site tanked because more than 21.7% of their links came from UGC and less than 11.3% come from "Sponsored".


This is exactly it. On its face, the announcement doesn't make very much sense. What's a hint? How could it possibly not be involuntary? And we know they can't really be trying to resurrect links as a way to measure page value. Fear of Penguin permanently ended sensible linking strategies and they'd never get enough of us on board with this to make it fly. It only makes sense if they are once again trying to get us to run around like headless chickens while they do quietly do something else in the background.
10:13 pm on Sept 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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See my prior post. This is more "curtain" to conceal the "wizard" and there's no yellow brick road out there. Foobar.
11:27 am on Sept 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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When did Google become the web's police person?

Google is merely trying to improve its search results. You can help, resist, or ignore the opportunity to make search results better. (Obviously, for some site owners, anything that improves search results isn't in their own interests.)
12:30 pm on Sept 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Past experience helping g improve search results is usually turned back against the helpers down the line.
2:27 pm on Sept 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Past experience helping g improve search results is usually turned back against the helpers down the line.

Sure, if by "helping g improve" you mean "manipulate."
4:46 pm on Sept 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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to-MAY-to, to-MAH-to. Each of these g initiatives all look good on paper, but in practice the benefits seem to flow one way, and that direction is not to the webmaster(s).

That said, g has ever reason to keep adjusting their algos to prevent fraud, theft, abuse, etc WHILE trying to deliver the world's information (won't get into the other problems recently surfaced regarding ideologies) and that is a good and necessary thing for g to do.

HOWEVER, g does not have a contract with me, nor I with them, and there is no compelling reason for me to "help" them as there is no perceived or direct benefit for me should I "comply" with these "voluntary" things.

NOFOLLOW has done more damage to the original web than anything I can think of, I won't help any further in that regard.
7:58 pm on Sept 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Does google only apply these to internal links? Unless that is clarified, what's to stop someone from tagging all their outbound links as USG or Sponsored to sites that aren't USG or Sponsored? I mean *IF* there is a chance that "juice" does or doesn't flow then I could link to sites in a way that could be harmful - not just non-productive. I consider "nofollow" unproductive. Depending on USG or Sponsored algo manipulation/sorting then that could be easily weaponized accordingly.

What about sites like medium where they're for-profit, don't pay their contributors but are all 100% user-generated content and they default nofollow outbound - are they going to link everything UG internally? probably not - they're the darling of investors looking for post web 2.0 UG to profit from and they own a huge chunk of the webs authority now.
8:19 pm on Sept 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Does google only apply these to internal links?
The quote from Google says “links on your site”, which only makes sense if it’s interpreted as “links to pages on your site”. Obviously the links are starting from your site, or you wouldn’t be in a position to apply <rel> attributes to them.
Edit: On the other hand, what would be the point in flagging an internal link as “sponsored”? Isn’t that just making your whole site look untrustworthy? “Sure, it’s my own site, but I’m not prepared to vouch for all of it.”

Similarly the ugc prose says “links within user-generated content”--that is, it’s not a question of what they’re linking to but of who made the link. At least that one makes sense no matter how you read it.
9:12 am on Sept 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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On the other hand, what would be the point in flagging an internal link as “sponsored”? Isn’t that just making your whole site look untrustworthy? “Sure, it’s my own site, but I’m not prepared to vouch for all of it.”

If anything, using the "sponsored" attribute for internal links (when appropriate) should make your site look more trustworthy, because you'd be identifying links to pages within the site that were paid ads.
2:41 am on Sept 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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g patented page rank based on links (among other things), built their empire, then broke it (links) and continue to break it, and want help to figure out things? Or self-confess without Miranda and then be held accountable later?

No thanks!
5:28 am on Sept 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google not only “broke” linking but they did it illegally. Prohibiting linking which is exactly what the world wide web was designed to do is restraint of trade - illegal!

This monopolizing of the web IS the biggest elephant in the room of our lifetime.
5:54 pm on Sept 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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using the "sponsored" attribute for internal links (when appropriate) should make your site look more trustworthy, because you'd be identifying links to pages within the site that were paid ads
Interesting thought. The moment they find the word “sponsored” anywhere on the site, will they then assume that all links without this word are non-sponsored content? Seems like this could oh so easily be abused: I’ll charge you X for a guest spot, or 3X for a guest spot whose links don’t say so.
6:26 pm on Sept 23, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The moment they find the word “sponsored” anywhere on the site, will they then assume that all links without this word are non-sponsored content? Seems like this could oh so easily be abused: I’ll charge you X for a guest spot, or 3X for a guest spot whose links don’t say so.

Sure, in the same way that a site owner has always been able to say: "I'll charge you so much for a 'guest post' with a nofollowed link, or 3X for a guest post with a plain-vanilla link."

"Sponsored" is just more specific than "nofollow."
7:53 am on Sept 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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All the link attributes, sponsored, ugc and nofollow, now work today as hints for us to incorporate for ranking purposes.

Does anyone else wonder whether or not this has been the case for a little while? Google have a track record of confirming what they've quietly rolled out sometimes months earlier.

I say this because I was crunching link data earlier in the year for a reasonably competitive trade term and found a site ranking very well indeed from - according to the link data from three different providers - blog comments.

Now I know that savvy PBN owners can block link discovery bots, or use cloaking. It was very likely that I was only looking at links I had been allowed to see.

But what made this stick in my mind was these were not bad comments - they actually added a little value to the post they were made on. And they were made on extremely high authority, high traffic blogs that were not totally irrelevant to the trade in question.

Normally when you see a site ranking from something it shouldn't your first thought is that you don't have access to the full picture. But this was different enough to stick in my mind as a possible instance of Google deciding to trust nofollow.
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