SEO News You Can Use: By March, Google Will Consider Your NoFollow Links as Hints

Megan Sell
SEO News You Can Use

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Last year, Google announced there would be an algorithm update to how it treats nofollow links. The update has been carried out in two parts. The first part, which affects rankings, has come and gone. The second part of the update is taking place at the beginning of March. This time around it will directly impact the crawling and indexing of your nofollow links.

Traditionally, Google treats nofollow links as an instruction, so it won’t crawl or index the associated pages. Often, the nofollow value is attributed to links to tell Google not to associate your website with the external links and not to crawl the links from your page. Typically if these are internal page links that you don’t want Google to crawl and index, then you’d use the robots.txt Disallow rule or you might use the noindex robots rule. 

Google Will No Longer Treat NoFollow Links as Instructive or as a Direction

Instead, Google is considering nofollows as hints for the purposes of crawling and indexing. This algorithm update is forcing everyone to investigate how and where they’ve attributed the nofollow value. If you’re using nofollow links to block Google from specific pages intentionally, then now is the time to change your ways. Consider qualifying your outbound links to Google by attributing different values such as marking links as sponsored or as user-generated content (UGC). And, as already mentioned, the robots.txt Disallow rule or the noindex robots rule should be used if the nofollow value is an incorrect attribution. In a nutshell, check how you’ve used nofollows and fix the issues that crop up.

Crawling and Indexing of NoFollow Links is Bound to Impact Rankings 

But it’s difficult to know exactly what to expect from this particular update. Unfortunately, we need to wait for Google to share the criteria as to how it will choose what pages to index or not. For now, it’s best to be aware that your rankings and traffic may fluctuate after the beginning of March and you must investigate your nofollow policy.

Ahrefs’ Patrick Stox unpacked this topic in his presentation at SMX West this past week. He reviewed the top 110,000 sites in Ahrefs for nofollows, UGCs and sponsored attributes. Here’s the SlideShare of his findings and presentation.

More SEO News You Can Use

If You Didn’t Make SMX West, Book Now For The MarTech Conference: SMX West is done-and-dusted and it looks like it was a stellar event. We followed the Twitter feed and we’re excited to dig into the post-event reports. If you didn’t make it to SMX West, then consider The MarTech Conference, April 15-17 in San Jose, Calif. This event allows you to connect with leading marketing technology vendors who’ll share with you their tactics and solutions that guarantee their wins.

PPC Campaigns Shouldn’t Only Rely on Google For Competitor Insights: If you want your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to hit beast mode you can’t rely on Google’s tools alone. Join Adthena for a live webinar next Thursday. Ginny Marvin and Tim Bouhour present ‘How to Look Beyond Google for the Search Intelligence You Need.’ Sign up to learn how artificial intelligence and automation can help keep your competitive edge sharp in the search landscape.

Send John Mueller Any Scammy, Spammy Link Building Lies: John Mueller from Google has been alerted to scam artists seeking out backlinks. The story starts with Aleyda Solis who began a thread on Twitter about how an image she’d used was claimed by an individual who demanded she give them a backlink and credit. Mueller wants SEOs to reach out if they experience this as he’s reviewing examples and will present his findings. 

Download the Periodic Table of Digital Commerce Marketing Right Now: In the land of e-commerce, you need to have a firm grasp on how to market your online business with digital prowess. Anyone looking to dive into eCommerce marketing needs this Periodic Table of Digital Commerce Marketing. It not only helps you see the bigger digital marketing picture but will also look slick as office wall art. Check out more about this excellent resource here.

You Have a Date With Kelly Cooper, Director of Growth Marketing at Moz: On March 11, Kelly Cooper is presenting a webinar called ‘Competitive Analysis for SEO: Size Up & Surpass Your Search Rivals.’ During this webinar, Cooper will show you how to glean insights from your competitor analysis data, how to identify their weaknesses and steal their traffic. You’ll also learn how to fix the gaps in your search marketing strategy and you can enjoy a live Q&A after her presentation. 

Editor’s Note: “SEO News You Can Use” is a weekly blog post posted every Monday morning only on SEOblog.com, rounding up all the top SEO news from around the world. Our goal is to make SEOblog.com a one-stop-shop for everyone looking for SEO news, education and for hiring an SEO expert with our comprehensive SEO agency directory.

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