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🔍 Google can take a “hint” with nofollow and 2 new link attributes

Good morning Refactual, I’ll spare you the nofollow puns I’ve been thinking up and get right to it. 

Google announced a change to the way it treats the nofollow attribute and introduced two new link attributes to join it on Tuesday. The new attributes are rel=”sponsored” to identify sponsored content links and rel=”ugc” to identify user-generated content such as forum posts and comments. Google will treat all three as “hints” rather than directives for Google to ignore the links for ranking purposes as it has done with nofollow since it first launched in 2005.

Now, Google’s systems will collect data in the links, such as anchor text, and use it to help identify link schemes, and it will have more flexibility in determining how it treats links with these attributes in search. Consider sites like Wikipedia that automatically nofollow all external links; Google could now evaluate those links for ranking purposes. 

Is this a big deal? Well, in that it’s a change to a long-standing function, yes, and SEOs should become familiar with the three attributes and how Google treats them, but overall, Google said it does not expect it to have a big impact on search results. There’s also no need to change existing nofollow links to ugc or sponsored. 

In a case that will have the big platforms, start ups and content creators watching to see what happens next, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of a data analytics company that had been scraping public LinkedIn data to use in its product builds. The case may not end here but its broadest interpretation, says Greg Sterling, appears to be: any “public” online data not owned or password protected by a publisher can be freely captured by third parties. The court expressed concern about “the possible creation of information monopolies” from “giving companies like LinkedIn free rein to decide, on any basis, who can collect and use data” provided by users and made publicly available. “Possible creation”? We’ll be watching where this heads. 

Did you watch the Apple “event” yesterday? I tweeted that I’m still using an iPhone 7 and was surprised that I’m not alone with my old model use (there are 5 users among us!). That said, Apple’s lower pricing (the 11 starts at $699) and high-end cameras might sway me and many other holdouts to move forward with Apple.

Read on for a Pro Tip on one merging sites and more. 

Ginny Marvin


Pro Tip

What considerations should be taken to combine multiple websites into one?

“Fundamentally it makes sense for the sites to be on the same topic,” explains SEO expert and SMX speaker Fili Wiese. “While integrating one website into another, establishing correct and lasting 301 redirects is important. At times it may make sense to make sure that no legacy issues, such as outdated content, are migrated. It is also important to ensure proper internal linking to migrate content in order to avoid orphan pages. Lastly, be mindful that integrating two different sites into one can ‘reset’ your rankings as it may take search engines a while to figure out what you are doing. Get help from a technical SEO professional before you start moving because there are often great opportunities to get rid of old signals that may have been holding your website back.”

More on indexing »


The 4 optimization techniques from Google you can use with Amazon Ads today

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Search Shorts

Live tests and tag manager.

Live tests.  Despite what Google Search Console errors you get, if the live URL Inspection tool test says you are good, go with that, said John Mueller of Google.

Tag manager. Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter: You can use Google Tag Manager to add structured data, but it’s always best to implement it directly on the page itself. It’s faster to be seen, more stable, and easier to test with your own tools.

GIF vs animated. Google Image Search replaced “animated” from the search tools with “GIF.” Yes, we know, this is a big deal. ;-P

What we’re reading

We’ve curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader

Campaign Budget Optimisation: Abomination or Sensation? – Periscopix

Google Discover Feed Now Shows Restaurants – Search Engine Roundtable

SEO at Scale – Building the Foundation of Success: In Search SEO Podcast – RankRanger

Squeezed by Google, TripAdvisor switches up media strategy – AdAge

The Data You’re Using to Calculate CTR is Wrong and Here’s Why – Moz

Weekly Wisdom with Ross Tavendale: Zero Budget SEO – SEM Rush

Who Keeps Updating My Google My Business Listing? – Sterling Sky Inc


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