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The “nofollow” tag and how it has changed in 2019

no-follow update 2019

The “nofollow” tag and how it has changed in 2019

History of No-followed

The no-followed attribute was originally created almost 15 years ago by Google to combat comment spam in 2005, this eventually led to webmasters flagging sponsored links or link schemes they’d been involved in. By using this attribute they mitigated any risk of penalisation in relation the links from Google and it completely de-valued the link.

How has the no-follow tag changed?

Fast forward to September 2019 and the nofollow attribute has seen a well-needed update to assist Google with analysing links throughout the web. Google has added 2 new link classifications to the attribute which will be used as a hint, to understand the nature of a link or multiple links.

The three different attributes are listed below:

rel=”sponsored”: Use the sponsored attribute to identify links on your site that were created as part of advertisements, sponsorship’s 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.

Do I need to change any existing nofollow links on my website?

The answer is no – if you have any nofollow links that were already live on a site prior to September 10th 2019, they won’t be affected by this new change to the nofollow attribute. However, any links that are added to your site after the date stated prior, should ideally be classified if they fall within one of the three categories.

Will it affect your businesses website and organic performance?

The short answer is, it depends… If you don’t use this attribute often it shouldn’t impact your site if you are using the nofollow attribute regularly while adding links to your site, additional options to the code may add more dev time onto coding.


For further information check out Google’s official post on the technology change, which goes into more detail with additional FAQs on the update. Or if you’d like any help with your digital marketing strategy, contact Wildfire Marketing on 0113 251 5004 or at

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Ensuring the right people find you through search. A super experienced web geek with a special eye for search engine optimisation. 50/50 owner and Director at Wildfire Marketing, delivering exemplary search results to all their clients.

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