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Google says Nofollow links should not be used when Migrating your Website

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Google started a new podcast series called “Search Off the Record“. The podcast covers topics related to “Search” and information on Google’s upcoming projects. Google’s John Mueller, Martin Splitt and Gary Illyes are the ones taking onus. In the first episode, topics like Core Web Vitals, nofollow, Pop filters and more were discussed. One particular standout was the information shared on the nofollow attribute.

New changes to Nofollow links

Google had announced its plans in September 2019 to treat the nofollow links as an attribute rather than a directive. The new changes were supposed to be rolled out by March 2020 but have been delayed. Google’s Gary Illyes mentioned in the podcast about the possibility of more changes to be made to the nofollow attribute. He also emphasized that Google is exploring the possibility to detect malicious sites using the nofollow attribute.

Here’s what Gary Illyes said

“We are also thinking about, well, other things. I really don’t want to name those things because they actually might not happen at all. And it might just turn out bad.

But if you think about it, those nofollow links could be very, very helpful for discovering malicious sites for example. The ones that force downloads and whatnot, or spam even.

I think nofollow links could be helpful [in those cases], but I just don’t have anything yet to say about how we use them.”

Nofollow tags should not be used when Migrating Sites

Another critical thing Gary Illyes mentioned is that when migrating your website from one domain to another, nofollow attribute should be avoided as much as possible.

Especially when linking the old site to the new site, it will be helpful if Google can follow those links.

Google is very much aware of the issues faced during migration and is working towards addressing this problem in the future iterations. But for the time being, it is recommended not to use the nofollow tag during migration.

Here’s what Gary said in the podcast

“We are working on a few things that I think will be helpful for the web and, also, probably helpful for webmasters…

Like you have those sites that can, for example, redirect to a new site when they move and they just leave up a link saying “visit us on our new site.”

Often those links are nofollowed. It would be very helpful, for example, for us to follow those links and essentially help webmasters have their new site discovered much faster.”

Key Takeaways

Google has long wanted to make alterations to the nofollow attribute. In the podcast, it was quite evident that Google has big plans for the nofollow attribute. The mention of using nofollow tag to detect malicious sites means the nofollow attribute would be beneficial in the future. The first episode of the podcast was very interesting and helpful. You can watch the entire event by searching for “Search Off the Record” on podcast sites. Let us know whether you are using nofollow tags when migrating your website in the comments section below. Also, what do you think of these new changes in the nofollow attribute?

Let us know down in the comments section.

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