You have different choices when you are planning to link to a site. In the first step of external SEO, you can choose whether your link transfers the credit of your site to the destination site or not. Recently, Google has provided web admins with the possibility to add more details to links, whether the connection is advertising or created by users. In the article “An Ultimate Guide to SEO (Search Engine Optimization)” we introduce Dofollow links. This article on the smart strategy blog examined the types of Dofollow, Nofollow, Sponsored, and UGC links. By reading this article, you can know and use the different link tags correctly.
Getting to know with types of links
In 2019, after 14 years, Google introduced a new category of links to the world of SEO. Before that, the internal or external relations of the sites were divided into two types: dofollow or nofollow. Dofollow links transfer the value of the source page to the destination page, But the nofollow links did not convey any weight, and even the Google crawlers did not crawl them.
Dofollow links transfer the value of the source page to the destination page, But the nofollow links did not convey any weight, and even the Google crawlers did not crawl them.
Web admins always use nofollow links when they don’t want to transfer their domain authority to the destination page. However, sometimes you have to link to pages that you do not know much about the value and accuracy of their content, or the destination page is not very reliable.
In such cases, linking to such pages may not be pleasant for you and Google because linking to invalid pages can reduce the credibility of your page. To solve this problem, Google considered tags to determine whether the link maker transfers his credit to the destination page or not. These tags included dofollow or no follow links.
Today, two other categories of links are placed next to no-follow links: sponsored links, advertising or paid, and UGC links, which users createctice, these two categories are not much different from no-follow links, but they provide more tips and details to Google. In the following, you will learn about the differences and functions of each of these categories.
A dofollow link is the simplest type of link. When none of these links existed, any link from one site to another was a do-follow link. When Google bots crawling sites come across dofollow links, they follow them, go to the landing page and crawl it too.
By using this link, the source page verifies the link’s destination and transfers its credibility to it. In this way, the dofollow link affects the ranking of the destination site.
To use the Follow link, use the following tag:
<a href= “https://example.com”>Link text</a>
Many sites buy backlinks to get credit, which causes significant damage to sites if the links are inappropriate. If you use this technique to create backlinks and get penalized, you can use the Google Disavow Tool to identify wrong links and remove them.
The nofollow link was first introduced in 2005 to distinguish different types of connections. Of course, there were only two types of links, dofollow and nofollow. The nofollow tag was invented when the linking site does not want to transfer its credit to the destination site, like Wikipedia for external SEO, which just has nofollow links. A nofollow link will not affect the ranking of the destination site. Nofollow association helped web admins link their articles to sites they disapproved; of without transferring their credit to it.
For years, the NoFollow link was the only label you could use for this purpose until two types of sponsored and user-generated links were introduced. Both of these links do not transfer the credit of the source site to the destination site, but their use provides Google with more detailed information about the type of link.
The nofollow link is used using the following tag:
<a href=”http://www.example.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Link text</a>
Google recommends using the nofollow tag for links you don’t want to send Google bots to.
With sponsored links, advertising and paid links could use this tag. At the same time, untrusted links should still use the nofollow tag. These tags do not convey any value or credibility to the landing page. By using sponsored links, Google can distinguish advertising links from unreliable links.
To use the sponsor tag for a link, you must use it as follows:
<a href=”http://www.example.com/” rel=”sponsored”>Link text</a>
Note that you use this tag for all advertising links, including affiliate links. Google has not explicitly talked about affiliate links, but the closest option for such links is sponsored.
UGC link (user-generated content)
The users of a site create UGC links, and the site administrator has no role in creating them. These links usually appear in the site’s comments section or forums. If you use the UGC tag for a link, you are announcing that site users created the link and you, as the site manager, cannot guarantee the link’s destination’s validity. In addition, by using this tag, Google can distinguish between links that users create and advertising links.
If you want to tag a link as UGC, you should use the following tag for it:
<a href=”http://www.example.com/” rel=”ugc”>Link text</a>
It is better to use this tag for all the links made by users in the comments section of the discussion forum of your site. However, if you are confident about the credibility of the destination of specific links and who created the links, you can choose not to use the UGC tag.
Noreferrer is a tag you can use for outbound links to hide the link source information from the incoming site. When you use this tag, the destination site cannot understand which site it got the link from. In this case, Google Analytics of the destination site does not show the incoming traffic from the noreferrer link in the Referral section but considers its direct traffic. Therefore, specific applications for this label cannot be considered, but you can use it if you wish.
This type of link does not have a direct impact on the site’s SEO, and you can safely use it. However, if you intend to use the noreferrer tag for a link, you must use the following code:
<a href=”https://www.example.com” rel=”noreferrer”>Link to Example.com</a>
Noopener is also a label that the destination site cannot have any access to the pages of the source site. This label is due to security issues because if the destination address is unreliable and invalid, it can steal information and spread malicious codes. It does not affect SEO.
WordPress automatically includes this tag for all external links. If your site’s content management system is not WordPress, it is recommended to use this tag for external links. To use it, you must use the following code:
<a href=”https://www.example.com” rel=”noopener”>Link to Example.com</a>
The effect of various types of links on SEO
Types of links have always played an essential role in SEO; External SEO is based on link building. Google recognizes the validity and value of a page by using links from other sites. You can get credit from sites with a high ranking in search results and increase your ranking. You can also transfer your credit to other sites by linking to them. But this can only be done using dofollow links. In cases where you don’t know and trust the destination site and don’t want your credit to be transferred by linking to it, you should use all kinds of no-follow links. But today, sponsored and UGC links do not share credit to the destination page. Of course, no significant difference exists between nofollow, UGC, and sponsored links. All three don’t transfer origin credit to the destination page. Still, Google can get more detailed information about your site’s overall link profile from each link tag and analyze it more accurately. However, if you use the nofollow tag for advertising or user links, nothing terrible will happen to your site’s SEO.
All kinds of links have been introduced by Google so that users can decide about transferring their credit to the destination site. In cases where you don’t want to create credibility by linking to an unreliable site, you can use the nofollow tag for your link. Also, the sponsored tag is used for advertising links, and the UGC tag is used for connections that site users create in the comments section or the site forum.
In this post on smart strategy, we explain different types of backlinks and their effect on SEO. If you have any questions on this topic, you can contact us or request a free proposal from our SEO services.
Visit our LinkedIn profile to have more digital marketing infographics and summarized articles.