Last year, Google surprised the SEO world with the news about the implementation of new types of SEO links.
I am referring, of course, to the sponsored links and UGC that have come to join the existing nofollow and dofollow attributes to expand (or disrupt) an already changing SEO landscape.
To explore this topic, I spoke with an expert in the field.
Who is Higel Emmanuel?
As Google’s top SEO-related patent expert, Higel Emmanuel has over 13 years of experience and is undoubtedly one of the most important figures in his field. His work includes partnerships with Fortune 500 brands and some of the world’s largest websites. Today he is Co-Founder and Director of Ereferer, a link-building marketplace. We had the opportunity to speak with Higel and ask him what it means to do SEO today and what the future of link-building will be.
What types of SEO links are currently the best for a project?
If we refer to link attributes, undoubtedly the best ones are still those that are not marked with any attribute, that is, the ones we usually call dofollow.
Which is not to say that nofollow, UGC, or sponsored are useless. They also have their place and their use, which I’ll explain in the following answer.
If we look at other link properties, such as the page where the link is located or its anchor text, in that case the ideal links are those we place on a page to a domain that is relevant to our website, provided that the particular page and link have some authority.
It’s important to specify the latter because a page with little authority and that also has a large number of outgoing links – for example, 100 – is almost certainly not transferring “link juice” to the linked pages (since according to the PageRank algorithm the authority that a page can transfer is divided by the total number of outbound links it contains, be they dofollow or nofollow).
In the same way, the authority that matters is that of the specific page where the link is placed, and not so much that of the domain (which is an aggregate of all its pages).
If a domain has a lot of authority, but the URL that links us to it is many clicks away from the home page or, worse, orphaned and it doesn’t have backlinks from other domains, that URL will have little authority to transfer.
This is something that, in my opinion, many people ignore. They are overly guided by domain authority metrics such as DA, which are not bad as a general approximation but which don’t tell you anything about the specific URL where the link is located.
And all this, without going into the fact that Google today likely uses a more advanced variety of PageRank, with a system of seed pages and a reduced link graph, according to which only the links with the shortest distances from these seeds count to convey authority.
Regarding the anchor, I prefer the brand anchor text, or at least that they are natural and diverse. I do not think it advisable to abuse the anchor text of the “money keyword”, since this may be a sign we’re trying to manipulate the rankings for that keyword.
What is the ideal link profile in your opinion? Do you believe the Nofollow: Dofollow ratio, or is it a myth?
I think the percentage of dofollow vs. nofollow links is a sign of the health of a site’s link profile.
That is, if you have 10,000 dofollow links and 0 nofollow links, this sends Google a signal of little naturalness. Consequently, Google can assign a red “flag” or associate little credibility to your site.
But I think there is no “ideal” percentage of nofollow and dofollow links that will rank your site more highly.
It is rather a negative trap you could fall into if you make the mistake of having few or no nofollow links within your backlink profile.
Regarding other characteristics that the ideal link profile could have, again, it’s easier to define how it shouldn’t be than how it should be.
For example, it doesn’t seem natural to me to have a profile that doesn’t include links from websites on the same subject, and instead only links from websites in different niches or general websites that cover a wide variety of topics.
We often fall into this trap, first, because these types of links are usually easy to buy, and second because the authority of the domain is usually valued more than the thematic affinity of the page and the domain that links us.
In my ideal profile, I would include more links from related thematic websites and less from authoritative sites with general themes.
Can you tell us how the panorama is in terms of link-building with the new UGC and sponsored attributes?
Regarding link-building, I sincerely believe that the panorama will change a little bit.
Anyone who is creating or acquiring links to improve their rankings in Google will continue to use dofollow links whenever they can.
That is, in general, it will not be marked as sponsored, UGC, or nofollow. However, the most experienced link-builders will use each of these 3 attributes to give variety and naturalness to their link profile, precisely for the reason I gave in the previous answer.
Google has not made clear what its positioning is against these new attributes.
Why do you think Google created different types of links?
Well, for now, we can only speculate, but in my opinion, the fact that dofollow and nofollow were “all or nothing” was weakening Google’s ability to know and rank the web based on links.
This happened because many websites (including large media such as Forbes or the Huffington Post) had decided to mark all their outgoing links as nofollow and Google couldn’t “see” or continue crawling from those nofollow links.
The reason for marking 100% of their links as nofollow was clear: to avoid the temptation for their writers to sell links to third parties.
In short, my opinion is that this change benefits Google. If it didn’t, it would not have been introduced.
With these latest changes from Google in the attributes, what will happen to the link-buying platforms?
These platforms will continue to exist.
If they did it before, they will continue to do it now.
Basically, nothing happens. Google can decide the rules for the operation of its search engine, but it is not the police or the Internet government.
What the link-building platform or marketplaces do is not illegal. They are simply connecting buyers with sellers.
My main conclusion is that we should not do aggressive and careless link- building, but rather try to build a natural link profile that goes hand-in-hand with content worthy of those links.Google has always frowned upon the excessive manipulation of rankings through links.
Its latest incentive has been the introduction of the UGC and sponsored attributes and the possibility that both these links, and the nofollow, can be taken into account for ranking purposes if Google deems it necessary. We still don’t know enough about how the algorithm is programmed to see and weigh these different types of links. Google has not disclosed it.
But it is a way for Google to ensure it has more control when using backlinks as a signal to rank web pages.
Peter Navarro is responsible for employer branding at Sixt SE. When he’s not at office, he finds solace in writing and reading.… View full profile ›
This content was originally published here.