What Google’s change in nofollow link means

On Tuesday, September 10, 2019, Google announced that now was the time for the nofollow attribute to evolve. Introduced almost 15 years ago, the nofollow attribute was brought about with a vision to eradicate spam and combat links that nurtured on the advertisements or were paid for. It clearly became a Google favorite to take care of the latter. The Google link policy is here to witness new changes again.

Here’s a snippet from the official announcement:

The web has evolved since nofollow was introduced in 2005 and it’s time for nofollow to evolve as well.

Today, we’re announcing two new link attributes that provide webmasters with additional ways to identify to Google Search the nature of particular links. These, along with nofollow, are summarized below:

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.

rel=”nofollow”: Use this attribute for cases where you want to link to a page but don’t want to imply any type of endorsement, including passing along ranking credit to another page.”

Well, the snippet says it all. Now that Google has decided upon the evolution of the nofollow attribute and chosen to bring about two new link attributes, there are questions and queries all around. What does this announcement mean for the link building tactics that are in popular use? How is the new change going to impact the link juice of our existing links? Is there any immediate action that needs to be taken? How will this impact the overall SEO strategy of websites?

Well, this blog post is right here to help everyone out there understand this change and gain a little more perspective around it. By the end of it, you will take away the impact of the nofollow link on Google’s search algorithm and everything else mentioned above. So, let’s begin.

What is a nofollow link?

Applying a nofollow HTML tag ( rel=”nofollow”) lets you tell the search engines that you do want certain links on your website to be ignored by it. By applying this tag, the selective nofollow link ends up not bringing any link juice to your website and hence, does not impact your search engine rankings.

What the earlier nofollow policy was about?

Google’s update about combating link and comment spam brought about the rel=”nofollow” attribute in 2015. So, any hyperlink that carried the rel=”nofollow” tag carried no SEO importance or value. Hence, the malpractice of overexploiting blog and link exchange was put under check. The manipulative link building behavior was anyway deteriorating the integrity of true SEO scores. So, cautious bloggers and website owners started strictly following a nofollow rule across all of their external links. Penalization was the driving factor behind this blanket application of the rule. In other verticals, Google also wanted to make sure that sponsored and paid-for links also followed the application of nofollow attribute.

What has changed with this latest update?

The latest update will change how links and rankings are calculated. Effective from March 1, 2020, the nofollow links will be used by the search engine as a marker or hint about what to consider or exclude within search. This “hint” will help Google index or crawl. Well, this means that now Google can overlook the nofollow attribute and choose to consider it as a ranking signal.

The new update will help Google get together more data on the individual links, including the words within the anchor text. This is being done with a purpose to evaluate links and identify any link schemes or malpractices around sponsored or paid links.

As per Google – 

“Links contain valuable information that can help us improve search, such as how the words within links describe the content they point at. Looking at all the links we encounter can also help us better understand unnatural linking patterns. By shifting to a hint model, we no longer lose this important information, while still allowing site owners to indicate that some links shouldn’t be given the weight of a first-party endorsement.”

The new update also brings two brand new link attributes, rel=”sponsored” and rel=”ugc”. These will help Google attain the necessary information on the characteristics of the links since webmasters will be providing the same to the search engine. So, the use of rel=”sponsored” would help Google identify that the tagged links on your site are part of an advertisement or an agreement or have been paid for. The rel=”ugc” tag is meant for the links coming from user-generated content (UGC) on your forum and site comments.

Given the complex implications of these Google updates, we are yet again in a position where it is unclear how these attributes are going to affect the SEO of our blogs and websites. Are these changes going to bring a positive impact or do they mean that sudden changes will be forced on our SEO moves? These two attributes will likely control more spam, as per experts. But, by this time, we really don’t know.

On the spam front, Google wrote,

“Many sites that allow third parties to contribute to content already deter link spam in a variety of ways, including moderation tools that can be integrated into many blogging platforms and human review. The link attributes of “ugc” and “nofollow” will continue to be a further deterrent. In most cases, the move to a hint model won’t change the nature of how we treat such links. We’ll generally treat them as we did with nofollow before and not consider them for ranking purposes. We will still continue to carefully assess how to use links within Search, just as we always have and as we’ve had to do for situations where no attributions were provided.”

What does the new link attribute mean for publishers?

At this moment, if you are a publisher, you might not need to make any swift changes because this is what Google has to say:

“If you use nofollow now as a way to block sponsored links or to signify that you don’t vouch for a page you link to, that will continue to be supported. There’s absolutely no need to change any nofollow links that you already have.”

For all publishers, it is best to continue with rel=”nofollow” for all sponsored links even when Google wants them to use more than one rel value on a single link. The nofollow works as it was. They can simply use “Sponsored” and “UGC” if they want to help Google identify types of links better.

If you are a publisher with true authority, Google’s change will help you immensely by reducing the unfair suppression of link authority caused by the prevalent misuse of the nofollow attribute.

Publishers should still stick to the fact that the right link earning practices are going to help them overcome the hurdles. Taking care of their site’s speed with certain website speed tools should also be a forever task for publishers. Quality link content and editorial ownership should still be their top priority. Also, using the right web hosting service can help your website in many ways in these terms.

It is best to wait for some more information to come up and then act upon it. However, if this Google update worries you, you can simply put in some time and review your link policy to make sure that your blog/website isn’t violating Google’s link scheme guidelines.

Gary Illyes from Google has clearly mentioned that the motive behind treating rel=nofollow as a hint is to improve the link signal and for returning better search results. As per Gary, nofollows were restricting the useful link signal information that Google needed on the link data. By this change, Google will be able to bring up better search results for its users. Also, there are no ranking changes expected for this change.

Google said,

“All the link attributes – sponsored, UGC, and nofollow – are treated as hints about which links to consider or exclude within Search.”

In a nutshell – what you need to do after the latest Google update

  • Bloggers and marketers don’t need to change their existing nofollows.
  • You can use more than one rel value on a link. It’s also valid to use nofollow with the new attributes — such as rel=”nofollow ugc” — if you wish to be backward-compatible with services that don’t support the new attributes.
  • You can continue using nofollow as a method for flagging certain links to avoid possible link scheme penalties. Any existing markup also does not need to be changed. Google recommends that you switch over to rel=”sponsored”.
  • You should still flag ads or sponsored links if you want to avoid a possible link scheme action. You can simply use rel=“sponsored” or rel=”nofollow” to flag these links.

Conclusion

As time advances on this update, we will have more solid information as to what exact changes need to be implemented in our SEO strategies if these attributes are going to affect the ranking signals. For now, it is best to wait for further information to surface and keep the right link building practices in motion.

Pawan Sahu is a digital marketer and blogger at MarkupTrend.

The post What Google’s change in nofollow link means appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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admin October 23, 2019 0 Comments

Differences between B2B and B2C link building tactics

Link building is obviously one of the most important steps in your journey towards achieving that perfect SEO score.

Based on the kind of business that you are involved with and based on your target customer, it is true that your SEO measures, as well as your Link building techniques, are going to differ. The practice of link building and the art of creating a great link profile can immensely help your business meet its end goals. Again, this end goal is going to differ from business to business, whether it is a B2B business or a B2C business.

Over the surface, we all know that building links helps in building relationships. These relationships are an important pursuit for the growth of any kind of business. Regardless of the fact of you being a B2B business or a B2C business, strong links will always help you earn a referral, which will stabilize or increase the traffic to your website; hence, more leads and more sales. Lastly, when you take care of your link building activities seriously, either as a B2B business or a B2C business, you help promote your brand.

Now that we have briefly discussed the relevance of link building for B2B business as well as a B2C business, it is time to ponder over the next obvious question: What is the difference between B2B and B2C link building tactics? Or is there is a wide difference between the tactics followed for the two? Can tactics for the two be interchangeably used? We will know as we move ahead in this blog post. However, before we jump into the meat of the blog post, here is a brief explanation about B2B business and B2C business.

B2B business vs B2C business

Here is the major difference between the two modes of business operation:

B2B business

B2B business stands for business-to-business. Under this kind of business, the transactions are being done between two businesses, that is, the sale of products and services between two or more businesses.

B2C business

B2C stands for business-to-consumer that is when a business is dealing directly with end-consumers to sell its products or services.

Understanding this key difference is important because as we mentioned earlier, based on the kind of business and your target customer, your SEO measures, as well as your link building techniques, will differ. So, now let’s talk about the key differences between B2B and B2C link building tactics.

Differences between B2B and B2C link building tactics

We all know that no business can thrive solely on the act of randomly asking other entities for backlinks. Based on their audience and the likes/dislikes of their respective audiences, these B2B and B2C businesses will have to pick up relevant tactics and trade them with relevant sites so that they can eventually create a very strong link profile.

So, let’s talk about the different approaches between the two.

B2B Link Building Tactics

  • Based on the audience, a B2B audience is mainly composed of vendors, board members, and stakeholders. Now, these members from the audience will browse through B2B websites. Setting up a blog is a compulsion for B2B websites because they serve as the point of high-value information/solution source. Choosing a website/domain name from sources such as namefresh.com helps these businesses get the right address for their business offerings. In a B2B business, the audience is mainly looking for other businesses to trade in intangible technology, software, and services.
  • Also, the lead count on B2B link campaigns will always drive a low volume over a definite period of time. This is mostly because of the fact that an average B2B transaction takes a lot of decision-making time. In that case, the completion of a transaction can take anywhere between 3-24 months. The long sales cycle has a huge effect on the link building tactics employed here.
  • Link building for B2B business is primarily about doing the solid groundwork for putting together educational prospects for the B2B audience. This means that more emphasis is put on relevant sites that will educate prospects about the product or service offering.
  • Link building in B2B business is comparatively more hard work. Hence, they are required to incorporate keywords from all levels of the buyer’s journey. Its primary motive is to reduce the time taken for decision making and complete the buyer’s cycle at the earliest.
  • Influencer outreach, Infographics, White papers, eBooks, and guest posting in industry publications is a major link building tactic for B2B businesses. Most of the other content that B2B companies want to push through link building is about the product pages and our solutions pages. ‘Partners’ is also a great real estate for link building for B2B companies.
  • Other popular B2B link building tactics include Wikipedia links, affiliate link building, forum posting, expert round-up articles, guest blogging, conference sponsorships, and HARO (Help a Reporter Out) among others.
  • Forum posting is a great way to build your links as a B2B business. This is also a great way to provide insights to your target audience. However, the true motive here should be to help your forum audience and not plug your own site every time because this is going to create issues. Forums like Quora and Reddit are a great place to expand your link profile. Becoming a helpful contributor will help you scale your link profile to a great extent.
  • LinkedIn, as a social platform, is the largest network of professionals on a single social media platform. B2B companies can effectively use it as a medium to target their audience and deliver relevant, informative content apart from link building.

B2C link building tactics

B2C link building is for the purpose of garnering everybody’s attention. This link building activity is done for the audience which is active on multiple social media channels. This audience has a lot of content to consume and as a result of this super tough competition among B2C marketers, garnering all the attention for the brand is the primary purpose.

In a B2C company, to be actually able to leverage the content on your website through a strategic yet personalized link building campaign is all the deal. The overall aim is to drive backlinks and increase rankings as the main goal. Since there is so much content to give out and so many resources to exchange links with, B2C links tend to grow at a faster rate.

  • For B2C, the best link building tactic is to optimize links for all the primary social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As a platform, Facebook holds a more significant value to B2C companies. B2C companies have been using Facebook to move the focus of the target customers on the company culture in order to represent your company’s brand and image.
  • Link building strategy for B2C often tends to have a click-bait approach. Again, this is because of the unending competition and the duration of transactions that happen within minutes. Hence, there is no time to lose.
  • Most successful link building strategy in B2C business is through brand affiliation which happens to be a huge part of successful link building. The brand affiliation tactic has come across as the ultimate conversion strategy. Brand affiliation > Link building > Strong SEO > Lead formation > Conversion > Sale > Brand loyalty
  • In a B2C setup, product reviews work like a charm and can help a business garner a lot of authentic backlinks from sources that either put up genuine product reviews or paid ones. In this process, the name of the brand gets validated as well.
  • Guest blogging can be a savior when you are looking to accomplish link building as a B2C business. Strategic guest blogging can work wonders for your business as blogs generate an average of 97% more inbound links and 55% more site visitors. Imagine the number of links that you can build with strategic guest blogging when done the right way.

Endnote

To be honest, there are a lot more B2B and B2C Link Building tactics that are widely used by marketers from around the world. However, in this blog post, our approach was to help you figure out the core idea behind the reason as to why there is a difference between B2B and B2C link building tactics and strategies. Also, the ones mentioned above are permissible by Google Algo and they won’t end up getting your website penalized. By this point in the article, we hope that you have managed to grasp the differences between B2B and B2C link building tactics and strategies.

If you would like to provide us feedback on the context, please drop a comment below.

The post Differences between B2B and B2C link building tactics appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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admin October 7, 2019 0 Comments