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.