To improve the performance of your website in the search rankings, you may need to make strategy modifications depending on the updates Google launches. That’s one of the challenges of digital marketing and website optimization.
Part 2 of the Nofollow Update of 2019
If you remember, the nofollow update of late 2019 was actually just the first part of a two-part implementation strategy. That affected rankings. Now, the second part of the update, intended to affect how Google’s algorithms crawl and index, is expected to roll out on the 1st of March, 2020. How Google crawls or indexes nofollow links will be affected by this change.
Nofollow links are currently considered as a directive. Google does as per the nofollow link attribute. As a result, it doesn’t crawl or index nofollow links. From March 1, 2020 though, nofollow links will be considered for crawling and indexing. According to Google’s own statement, nofollow will be used as a hint from March 1, 2020.
Using Nofollow to Prevent Page Crawling? It’s Not Recommended
Now the nofollow is used by some website publishers to prevent crawling of certain pages. These are usually website pages that don’t serve any major content purposes, also called thin pages. These usually include user profile pages or login pages. But the noindex meta robots directive is one of the more recommended ways to prevent pages from getting indexed.
Review How You Use Nofollow
From March 1, publishers would no longer be able to do that. Now the effect of this update on the rankings can’t really be predicted. It would depend a lot on the pages Google decides to index and crawl. Low quality pages could well be not indexed, reckons Search Engine Journal. So there could be rules which Google brings up to select the pages that need, and need not be, indexed. Still, the potential impact of the update on search rankings can’t be forecasted correctly. But with such an update around the corner, it’s the right choice to review how nofollow is used on your site.
Inappropriate use of the nofollow could bring about unintended results. As mentioned earlier, the meta robots noindex is a better option to follow for your web pages. So you may want to change those nofollows.
Reactions after Part 1 of the Update
Back in 2019, though, SEO professionals didn’t exactly recommend publishers to introduce the nofollow attributes. In fact, publishers weren’t thought to acquire any advantage from this. The potential impact on rankings was considered insignificant, and didn’t justify bringing about the change. But back then, the changes were only starting to be understood and analyzed.
But there were people who felt positive about it. They believed that the nofollow hint change could enable websites to get the link equity that they deserve to get. Websites usually place nofollow links automatically on all the links. That brings about an unfair situation where these links have to count. It was reasoned that with the nofollow update, websites can get the ranking boost and link equity that they really must have.
Success in search engine optimization depends on how efficiently you figure out the updates introduced by search engines and how well you’re able to analyze them.