What You Need To Know About The Update On Nofollow Links This March
Last year, Google announced a two-part update to how it will treat nofollows. The initial part already rolled out, and this impacted rankings. SEO companies and webmasters must take note that the next update on nofollow links that impacts crawling and indexing will be released on 1st March 2020.
1st March 2020 Nofollow Update: What is it?
The update is going to affect the crawling and indexing of nofollow links. Originally, Google treated nofollow links as a directive. Google obeyed the nofollow link attribute and did not crawl or crawl them.
On 1st March 2020, this will not be the case anymore. Starting on that day, Google will treat nofollow links as a hint for indexing and crawling purposes.
This is what Google's announcement said:
“For crawling and indexing purposes, nofollow will become a hint as of March 1, 2020”.
Review Your Nofollow Policy
Some publishers used nofollow to be able to prevent pages from being crawled. Typical web pages linked with a nofollow could be links to user profiles, links to login links and website sections that could be construed as thin pages.
Using nofollow to stop Google from crawling and indexing a website was not a great practice. There are other efficient means to keep pages from being indexed (such as the meta robots noindex directive).
Will Nofollow Update Affect Rankings?
It is hard to tell how the update to crawling and indexing nofollow links may impact rankings. It might depend on the pages that Google will decide to crawl and index.
Google may create guidelines for choosing pages to be or not to be indexed. It is not far-fetched that Google will decide not to index pages that are of low quality.
- Familiarise yourself with the Nofollow Hint Update
In terms of money and search rankings, ignorance is not bliss. Remember that this change is occurring on 1st March 2020.
If rankings or traffic start changing, then the nofollow crawling and indexing update might be something to check out.
- Review Use of Nofollow
Poor nofollow deployment may result in unwanted consequences. It is advisable to review how nofollow links are used on your web pages and determine the right time to eliminate them and move to in a meta robots noindex.
The Good: New Developments Ease Compatibility
Bing stated that they're using the new Microsoft Edge as the Bing Engine to render pages.
Bingbot will now render web pages with the same underlying web platform technology already utilised by Googlebot, Google Chrome, as well as other Chromium-based browsers.
Both major search engines also announced that they are going to make their solution evergreen by regularly committing to updating their web page rendering engine to the latest stable version of their browser.
These constant updates will guarantee support for the most recent features, a substantial change from the prior versions.
Search Engines Actually are Simplifying SEO by Leveraging the Same Rendering Technology
These developments from Bing and Google allows web developers to easily ensure that their website as well as their web content management system work across both browsers without consuming a lot of time investigating every solution thoroughly.
With the exception of files which aren't robots.txt disallowed, the secondary content they see and experience in their brand new Google Chrome browser or Microsoft Edge browser is the same that search engines will see and experience.
For developers and SEOs, this will not require a huge amount of money and time.
For instance, there is:
- No longer required to keep Google Chrome 41 around to test Googlebot.
- No longer required to escalate to Bing.
And this list goes on.
Most probably not.
When a search engine downloads a web file and begins analysing it, the first thing it does is be aware of its document type.
For HTML documents, they are going to attempt to render the document with their optimised browser rendering solutions if they've sufficient resources.
Search engines should download the file to read and execute it.
If the content is robots.txt disallowed, this will be impossible to do.
In case they're allowed, search engines need to download the file successfully, facing crawl quota per site and site unavailability issues.
Typically, search engines do not do complex methods like clicking a button. Therefore, it will be best to utilise basic HTML as <script> link to the file.
If this is the case, the search engine will not read it. Therefore, it will not be remembered.
With the latest decision of search engines to utilise the same technology and commitment to updating their browsers, dealing with this in the future should not be simpler.
- Search normalised URLs with a #. Dropping all parameters after the # (except the legacy #! Standard)
- Search engines do not usually click large buttons and do complex actions.
- Search engines do not wait for a long time for pages to render.
- Search engines do not output complex interactive webpages.
The Uncertainty: For Optimal SEO, Use JS Practically, Sparingly Or Perhaps, Not at All
Additionally, allow crawlers to access content with one HTTP request for the HTML and text you are planning to index.
Fortunately, both Google and Bing suggest there's nothing to worry if you output similar text and content with the one seen by your human customers.
“When it comes to rendering content specifically for search engine crawlers, we inevitably get asked whether this is considered cloaking… and there is nothing scarier for the SEO community than getting penalized for cloaking … The good news is that as long as you make a good faith effort to return the same content to all visitors, with the only difference being the content is rendered on the server for bots and on the client for real users, this is acceptable and not considered cloaking”.
Do or Do Not?
Just remember to have a clear idea of the technical implications so your documents can be correctly indexed or consult with a technical SEO expert.
Search engines are incentivised to index your content to maintain customer satisfaction.
Never think twice about working with SEO experts if you want to make huge improvements to your website rankings. Learn how we at Position1SEO can help you with this by visiting our homepage today.