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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...]
5:54 pm on Sept 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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That looks to me as if Google struggles to identify paid links, so adding "sponsored" clearly puts the label on it.

I'd like to think that UGC will create a better opportunity for user generated content in the SERPs.
6:57 pm on Sept 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Well are sites like facebook, twitter, pinterest, and most forums, going to convert all of their millions of existing nofollow outlinks to rel="ugc" ?
7:09 pm on Sept 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google is NOT your friend. Ignore! - they only care to spy, demote you & grab more profits.
Ignore! Wait it out, things are going to change.

.
7:57 pm on Sept 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It's voluntary, says Google's Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan

[mobile.twitter.com...]
8:23 pm on Sept 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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He also said this:

[twitter.com...]
8:32 pm on Sept 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I find this whole thing repulsive considering it's coming from a marketing company that makes the bulk of their money monetizing my content regardless of its rel=
9:47 pm on Sept 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Many members of WebmasterWorld have long suspected that google's algorithm in some way uses nofollow links for ranking purposes. This has been discussed here numerous times. At any rate, whether or not it already does, apparently google intends for it to do so in the future.
12:15 am on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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At any rate, whether or not it already does, apparently google intends for it to do so in the future.

from the google webmasters blog post linked in the OP:
All the link attributes, sponsored, ugc and nofollow, now work today as hints for us to incorporate for ranking purposes. For crawling and indexing purposes, nofollow will become a hint as of March 1, 2020. Those depending on nofollow solely to block a page from being indexed (which was never recommended) should use one of the much more robust mechanisms listed on our Learn how to block URLs from Google [support.google.com] help page.
12:23 am on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It would be a great day if everyone dropped any "rel" from their links and just had a link be a link.
12:24 am on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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monetizing my content regardless of its rel=

you're barking up the wrong tree.
the appropriate mechanism for noindexing should be associated with the content (e,g,. meta robots noindex element) rather than associated with a link to the content (i.e., rel=nofollow)
12:38 am on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It would be a great day if everyone dropped any "rel" from their links and just had a link be a link.

Many consider the nofollow tag to be a valuable weapon against spammers / link-droppers. This is the main reason why facebook, wikipedia, most forums and most other large sites automatically put nofollow tags on all outbound user-created links.
8:39 am on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My first thoughts on this are that we are supposed to do some of Google's work again (similar to disavow). When they have enough data from the changes to links that webmasters make, they will be able to better work out themselves if a link is "sponsored".
8:58 am on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My first thoughts on this are that we are supposed to do some of Google's work again (similar to disavow). When they have enough data from the changes to links that webmasters make, they will be able to better work out themselves if a link is "sponsored".


Exactly.

It's voluntary, so webmasters don't need to do anything, unless they wish.

Remember, when something is used "for ranking purposes" it works both ways, positively, and negatively.


I'll be waiting to see what happens.
9:56 am on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hello-

I understand that, starting next March, links with "nofollow" will start gaining more "value" than now. So, links from Wikipedia, for example, will bring a little more value, than they do now. Of-course, Wikipedia will certainly modify all its outgoing links to "ugc", which I understand is still better than the actual "nofollow".

So in order, from best to worse, would be :

no rel > nofollow > ugc > sponsored
4:54 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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This is absolutely ridiculous! 90% of average small biz webmasters out in the world have no idea what nofollow is.. they manage their sites as they see fit.

A hand shake is a hand shake.. if I want to shake hands with you, I should be able to do it without some mega monopoly telling me what lotion to use during the process. A link between sites should be as Tim Berners Lee invented it. Link and be linked to. If it's irrelevant spam, the doer will learn the hard way. If its relevant linking in high volume, I should be allowed to do just that without penalty; since I have a fat chance of getting organic results in this record breaking ad driven world wide heist.

Why can't the fishing rod supplier link exchange with the fishing lure manufacturer without this use of nofollow? What if I want it to follow because I don't want to rely only on search traffic? What if I know nothing about nofollow and I get penalized for doing what the web was intended for?

And since when did we become Google's free workers identifying every outbound link? Or disavowing which again most small biz website owners don't realize even exists.. These crooks will continue to take advantage until a viable competitor or govt sets them straight.

When did Google become the web's police person?

Who's watching Google?

Keep writing your letters people to every Attorney General in the Union.
5:48 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hello-

There is no obligation to adopt the rel= parameters.
5:58 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@JorgeV,

According to comments made (and officially documented on Google's website as damning evidence) by Google engineers all the way back to the Matt Cutts days, if you want to link exchange, you absolutely must not do it according to their "Link Schemes" document. The rel= parameters is the illegal icing on this cake.

[edited by: cnvi at 6:56 pm (utc) on Sep 11, 2019]

6:17 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Let me start by saying that I agree with general sentiment in this thread, that is that this is a big bunch of BS as was "nofollow". I will not be adding any of this to my pages.

But, I would like to warn, about comments like this one:
starting next March, links with "nofollow" will start gaining more "value" than now.


That is not what is being said by Google. What was said is:
All the link attributes, sponsored, ugc and nofollow, now work today as hints for us to incorporate for ranking purposes.

and
We’ll use these hints -- along with other signals


There is no indication as to whether these will be used as positive or negative or simply ignored.

My feeling is that this is being introduced because as a result of the devastating impacts of the Penguin updates of the past and the fear that was created by these actions among webmasters. Natural links have all but disappeared and as such link counts no longer provide a good means of evaluating the quality of a website (since most links are no-followed just to be safe). In the end this will only serves as new revenue streams for scammers, spammers and those services that provide link counts, keyword ranking and various other spurious SEO services.

My guess is that this is a placebo, like the close door button on elevators or pedestrian buttons at traffic lights. 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".

Note: The numbers quoted above are the magic numbers, John Muller told me in a dream. I added them to my list, you know, along side the magic keyword density value of 1.17753 (from Gary Illyes in a dream in 2015) .
6:34 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@NickMNS .. you hit the nail on the head. It's a placebo in order to distract everyone. Google's "new options" to nofollow is just fake sauce to make us (and regulators) think they are bettering themselves through "self regulation" and do not require official govt. led regulation. Obviously Google has immense power to assess quality links.. this is just another distraction to confuse website operators and equivocate regulators.
9:19 pm on Sept 11, 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.


Hints meaning what exactly?

I'll remind you of a few years ago when Google recommended to webmasters to name and label our images better / more applicable ... mine were already correctly done yet what happend the following year or so later?

The massive Google image theft that destroyed 90+% of my traffic within a few months even though they were all created by me and unique to my sites. These are the same images that have been scraped over and over yet Google does not recognise me as the original source / the creator.

Now just what could they do with this if a goodly proportion of webmasters agree to implement it?

Puppets, think before you jump for your master!
10:07 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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If I remember correctly, the nofollow tag was originally introduced through an agreement between Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and maybe some others.

So did Google try to consult with any other companies when creating these new tags, or not?
11:37 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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some nofollow attribute history:

- from google's "Official Blog" post on January 18, 2005 Preventing comment spam [googleblog.blogspot.com]
From now on, when Google sees the attribute (rel="nofollow") on hyperlinks, those links won't get any credit when we rank websites in our search results.
...
We've also discussed this issue with colleagues at our fellow search engines and would like to thank MSN Search and Yahoo! for supporting this initiative.

- SEW's post from the same date Google, Yahoo, MSN Unite On Support For Nofollow Attribute For Links [searchenginewatch.com]
If Google sees nofollow as part of a link, it will:
  1. NOT follow through to that page.
  2. NOT count the link in calculating PageRank link popularity scores.
  3. NOT count the anchor text in determining what terms the page being linked to is relevant for.
11:46 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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as of today, if you do a google search for [rel nofollow] you can still see the cached version of the Search Console Help Center page Use rel="nofollow" for specific links originally posted Jun 5, 2008:
How does Google handle nofollowed links?

In general, we don't follow them. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web. However, the target pages may still appear in our index if other sites link to them without using nofollow, or if the URLs are submitted to Google in a Sitemap. Also, it's important to note that other search engines may handle nofollow in slightly different ways.
1:53 am on Sept 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@at Phranque very interesting.

2005:
If Google sees nofollow as part of a link, it will:NOT follow through to that page.

That is an absolute statement "it will Not"

Fast forward to 2008:
In general, we don't follow them

Hmmm! seems a lot more subjective now. "In general"

Fast forward to 2019:
All the link attributes, sponsored, ugc and nofollow, now work today as hints for us to incorporate for ranking purposes.

Wow! That statement can really mean anything you would like it to.
5:40 am on Sept 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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gary illyes tweeted this a few hours ago:
Meta robots nofollow is a hint now, like rel-nofollow.

source: [twitter.com...]
12:46 am on Sept 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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"There is no indication as to whether these will be used as positive or negative or simply ignored. " @NickMNS I'm seeing some things I haven't seen since there was a big conversation about nofollow and generally ignoring links...6, 7 years ago. I'm shocked.
1:10 am on Sept 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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NickMNS:
2005:

If Google sees nofollow as part of a link, it will:NOT follow through to that page.


That is an absolute statement "it will Not"

Even in 2005 Google kept a record of any nofollow links that googlebot found and included them in the data it kept for the pages the backlinks pointed to.
8:13 am on Sept 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Would anyone care to run a test on this?
11:48 am on Sept 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Not me ... sounds like more foobar and extra make work (ie, not valid labor) on my part. Never played the game, won't start now.

I can't control who links to me ... but I CAN control who I link TO. (And I am very selective in that regard!)

Seems like another tempest in a teapot ... and no finger sandwiches provided.
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