So how exactly does Google treat nofollow links?

It’s a pondering questions and here is a short answer to it – with the recent changes made in February 2020.

As of Mar. 1, 2020, Google is treating the nofollow link attribute as a hint, rather than a directive, for crawling and indexing purposes. Google is already treating all link attributes (sponsored, UGC and nofollow) as hints for ranking purposes and has been doing so since it made the original announcement in September.

Introduced in 2005, the nofollow link attribute was created to stop spam links from passing credit and manipulating ranking signals. Defining link attributes. Last year, Google introduced new link attributes for sponsored and user-generated content (UGC).

Here is a short list of Link Attributes you can apply:

  • rel=”sponsored”: This attribute can be used to identify links on your site that are part of an advertisement, sponsorship or some other paid agreement.
  • rel=”ugc”: This attribute is recommended for links appearing in user-generated content, like comments and forum posts.
  • rel=”nofollow”: This attribute can be applied to any scenario in which you want to link to a page but don’t want to pass along ranking credit to it.

What should you be doing with nofollow links?

If you were using nofollow to block any sensitive areas of your site that you didn’t want crawled, it probably makes sense to go block these in a different way, such as robots.txt or meta tags, that you can use to regulate how Google crawls and indexes pages.