Google have announced that they are adding some more attributes to the rel=nofollow that can be added to links to help Google understand the intention behind the link.
They have introduced two new attributes that can be added to links, they are: -
And of course we still have the original Nofollow attribute
Whilst Google have suggested that they regard all of these as 'hints' about how they should deal with the link in question I think its clear that we should regard each of the nofollow variants as actually operating the same.
For our purposes all links that have a nofollow or nofollow variant on them should be regarded as unlikely to be passing their value.
There has long been a debate in SEO on whether nofollow passes any value at all or not. Our advice is that nofollow does not pass any real value and in normal circumstances it's unlikely to be helping you from a link perspective.
These new changes do not alter that view. The new attributes should be regarded as the same as nofollow for linking purposes and the fact that Google suggests they are simply a 'hint' should not be used as a reason to justify nofollow as being now a valid link for SEO purposes.
When you are managing your link profile and gaining new links, the temptation is always to try to do one of two things: -
It is important to get this balancing act right though as it can be really easy to introduce some obvious manual intent into the profile and therefore not get the results you want.
Anchor text is a very easy way to help Google understand that a particular page is about the topic the anchor text uses and there is huge power in doing so in most cases. The issue comes if you use the same anchor too often it starts to look less natural and what we really want to do is make our links look as natural as we can.
Some people address this by using 'noise words' instead of commercial terms as their anchor text. Typically this tends to be words like 'click here' or 'this' or just 'here'. Over use of these though also looks unnatural.
As you are choosing what anchor text to use try to mix up the commercial anchor slightly, keeping it on theme and contributing to the 'journey of surfer intent'.
You should also vary up the noise as much as you can, if you're stuck for what to choose then take a look at the anchor text used by those sites ranking around you. Typically you'll see more commercial anchor at the pages that rank but you'll also see a lot of variety... the internet is not a structured place.
If you don't have access to a tool to look at link data in volume (Majestic or Ahrefs) then this tool can do it quickly and for free: -
We try to keep our guidelines understandable for everyone involved and tend to publish these little quick guides both for internal use and for the wider education of anyone who is interested.
This quick guide just explains the ideal place for a link to be placed and some areas we tend to try to avoid.
Lots of site owners have disavow files that were made back in the period when Google were throwing out penalties on a regular basis. When we look at many of these files its clear that they often contain lots of sites that perhaps got added in error during the panic of those times.
Many people assume you cant trim these out, there was a recent discussion on Twitter where John Mu of Google clarified that you can indeed edit your disavow files.
So, as part of your stewardship of your link profile, feel free to edit all you like. We would be more than happy to help you do so.
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