Changes in link building: new attributes in links

There is no month when Google does not give us a scare. The latter comes from the changes in link building and the “sponsored” and “UGC” attributes. Are the links dangerous?

In the SEO world, few absolute truths remain in time. Of that small number, there is one that seems to admit no discussion: the links are basic if we want to position a website. True?

Well, much eye because the message that Google recently made public through its social networks and its official blog give a twist to its fight against spam in link building, adding a couple of new attributes that complete the famous  do not follow ”: They are“ sponsored ”and“ UGC.

What do we understand by link building?

Without being clear about this concept, it is difficult to understand the changes that are coming.

The definition of link building would be something like the strategic transmission of authority through links that point to a domain and its pages from third-party domains.

If we take into account that Google interprets each link as a sample of recognition and that, depending on the authority of the site that links us, gives a part of that authority to our site, then we can be clear that a good link profile is one of the most important SEO ranking factors.

But of course: made the law, made the trap. Everyone who wanted to position captured all possible links no matter where they came from.

This strategy began to be penalized by Google through its update called Penguin. It was no longer worth any link, now it had to be thematically related and have a natural profile. Fortunately, there are still ways to link building legitimately and without contravening the instructions of the search engine.

Then came the “no follow”

In its fight against spam, Google decided to incorporate the possibility of adding an attribute to the link. From that moment, we began to differentiate between links:

  • Do follow: this is the default link type,which transmits authority and affects web positioning.
  • No follow: adding the attribute we are telling Google that we do not want to pass authority from that link. Usually, they are used to indicate that this link is part of a commercial campaign and thus avoid a potential penalty.

Thus we have worked for almost 15 years. But at this time Google has decided that it wanted to be more specific in the use made of this attribute, and has released 2 other variations:

  • Sponsored: with it, you indicate thatthe reason why you want that link not to “pass force” is that it is apromoted link. From now on, to do so we will use therel = “sponsored” attribute.
  • UGC: corresponds to the acronym of User Generated Content or, what is the same, user-generated content, over which we have limited control. In this case, we will use the rel = “UGC” attribute.

What will happen now?

The change is deeper than it seems, not so much because it allows us to establish that difference in the origin of the link, but also because Google has openly acknowledged that, for them, the 3 variants are nothing more than a suggestion and it remains at algorithm criteria which of these pass authority and which do not. Come on, they have a suggestive character.

These new Google indications should be applied whenever links are generated through a commercial agreement that can be marked interchangeably as no follow or sponsored (although Google explicitly prefers the second formula ).

If you are already using the no-follow attribute for your sponsored links, do not rush to change it to sponsored: the current formula is still perfectly valid, so do not complicate yourself because you still comply with Google guidelines.


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