tstolber asked
Member (98 upvotes)

Rel=nofollow sponsored ugc - what does it mean?

Google recently announced a couple of fairly important things in terms of the nofollow attribute.

For a long time links have either been a regular link that is followed by search engines (often incorrectly referred to as a dofollow link) or the link could have a rel=nofollow attribute applied that would tell search engines not to follow or consider that link.

And so this was for many years.

Until .....

Google decided that they needed to be a little more granular and that not all nofollow links were not to be followed. Some publishers put blanket nofollow on many links even if they were produced on quality sites and linked to quality resources by authoritative experts.

Google introduced the rel=sponsored for indicating a link was a paid or sponsored link and the rel=ugc for user generated content.

Generally the reaction by the SEO industry has been fairly muted.

Google won't implement the full effect of this until march 2020.

This could be a fairly bug deal for sites that have a lot of nofollow links. If you have a large percentage of nofollow links, you should evaluate what the quality of those links is as this change may effect you.

Avatar for member Chedders
Moderator (243 upvotes)

I also read this change in links and was left just a little puzzled. 

I fully understand the sponsored tag, But how that should be handled differently to nofollow is questionable. The real surprise for me was UGC one. (User Generated Content) 

OK so users now will be able to post links in say forums, blog comments etc. I would doubt google will count these as the transitional vote as that would just attract a ton of spam content. I am still trying to find out if UGC will pass some page rank even if muted. I would guess and it is a pure guess that it could pass meaning to the target site but not pagerank. 

So for example if a forum was about knitting and someone posted a link (UGC) to a wool supplier, that could help google understand the target site is linked in the subject matter. As with nofollow though I would doubt it would pass pagerank as that would be going backwards but it could maybe help move rankbrain into the general link profiles. 

Currently I can't quite get my head around this move other than helping give meaning to a site. Maybe the nofollow link was blocking too many signals and they will take into account some UGC but the difficult part will be preventing spam abusing such a system. 

Good advice?
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I think that UGC - user generated content attribute will essentially become the new nofollow. Latest version of wordpress has implemented this change for comments and I expect most platforms will also roll it out. The sponsored will not pass page rank. The question will be how Google treats nofollow in the future. Come March 2020 I think they will probably all but be ignoring nofollow, perhaps just passing it through an additional check or adding a site dependent damping factor to it. It does resolve the issue of where nofollow is used on internal pages of a site which has always troubled me if you interpreted nofollow as "I can't vouch for this"
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