In the following experiment we will try to shed light on how Google treats links depending on the type of relationship or attribute that is marked.
Google has recently launched what we can call a bombshell in the world of SEO. In a statement through the Webmaster Central Blog, announced that in addition to the current “nofollw“, Webmasters will have 2 more options to identify links:
The first will serve to identify a sponsored link, that is, that the link that has been placed is entirely advertising, and there is a commercial agreement to put the link.
The second will serve to identify links that are generated by the users themselves, either in comments or in the content of forums and so on. Due to the large number of questions that invades us at this very moment it is appropriate that we submit this announcement to an exhaustive experimental analysis, as there are certain questions that we have unanswered.
SEO experiment with links:
Start of the experiment:
The start of the experiment has been September 12, 2021.
Hypothesis of the Experiment:
- Google does not follow “nofollw” links and does not provide any authority.
- Google will follow “Ugc” links but will give them minimal authority.
- Google will follow nofollow “Sponsored” links.
Questions we are going to ask ourselves.
- If we identify a link as “Sponsored“, we are telling Google that the link has been purchased by the recipient of the link. In this way we identify ourselves as a seller of reviews or links. Can the use of this attribute be detrimental to the project by discovering the business? A link from a forum or from comments was usually considered as “nofollow”, with some exceptions. Now if we label it as “ugc”, will it pass a certain authority with the link? Can Google rate our portal negatively after a massive number of “ugc” links in comments, for example? Is it natural to change the current “nofollow” links by the different labels?
They are not many questions because Google has already given some clues about its behavior in the future. That’s why we are going to develop the experiment.
Start of the Experiment
- We will use a portal with a low authority.
- We will create 3 new pages without links from any site, not included in the sitemap and not indexed, that is to say, totally new.
- We will create three additional posts, new, with a content of about 800 words and we will get from each one a link to each of the pages, which will be the second link of the content. The first link will be an external link.
- From Post 1 we will create a “nofollow” link to page 1.
- From Post 2 we will create a “sponsored” link to page 2.
- From Post 3 we will create an “ugc” link to page 3.
- In addition in each of them we will include internal links and 2 external links.
- One of the external links will also be a site controlled by us, so we can measure Google accesses to this link depending on the others.
- We will index the three posts, with the same number of external links. We won’t put them on the front page of the posts so that
- The new pages will be published with a keyword that is not in Google.
- The anchor text will be mixed brand + rare keyword.
- We will measure the positioning and visibility of the rest of the page in case it suffers some kind of negative action, after the use of sponsored links.
- We will study the server logs to see the accesses to each of the pages coming from each of the links published in the three posts.
- We will study the positioning of each of the keywords chosen in the three pages.
What we want to check is whether:
- Does Google really not follow the nofollow link?
- Does Google really pass no authority and therefore no good for ranking in Google Search using nofollow links?
- Does Google follow an “ugc” link or not?
- Does it pass authority and therefore rank the target website of the ugc link?
- What happens with the rest of the “follow” links, that we usually don’t put anything when there is an “ugc” link?
- Does Google follow or not a sponsored link?
- Does it pass authority and therefore rank the target site of the sponsored link?
- Have there been any negative actions on the page when using sponsored links?
- What happens to the other “follow” links, which normally we do not put anything when there is a “sponsored” link?
- Is it a mistake to use sponsored links in any of the cases?
- How will this affect the linkbuilding strategy?
Time of the experiment 15 days.
In this time we must have enough information to check if the hypothesis we have established is correct, if we can prove it or, on the contrary, we have to correct it. In the case that there is not enough data in these 15 days, the time of the experiment will be extended.