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How to Use Rel Attributes Correctly on Links

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    How to Use Rel Attributes Correctly on Links - For those of you who are concerned with SEO in blogs, of course you know about this rel='nofollow' attribute. If you have never heard of this attribute, please read this article.

    The rel='nofollow' attribute is often associated with links and is closely related to backlinks. However, many forget that there are other attributes that can be used to replace rel='nofollow', such as noopener, noreferrer, ugc, and sponsor, each of which has its own function.

    To be clear, I will try to explain one by one the attributes that can be used in the link. By applying it correctly you can better show the SEO value of your blog in the eyes of search engines.

    Why should I use this attribute on links?

    Actually I want to answer, "yes, how do I know, I'm a banana tree." but because I know you might not want to read that answer so I explain based on the official explanation from Google.

    In short, the reason is to help Google in determining the ranking and quality of a link (backlink). So, Google can distinguish which backlinks are 'sponsored', which are 'additional' links, which are natural links (written by webmasters or content creators themselves).

    It also helps Google to identify link schemes or unnatural backlink pyramid installations. If you apply a link building scheme like this, your website/blog will rank higher in search results.

    However, if Google finds out, it will affect DEINDEXING and your website will die (not appear) in Google search results.

    If that happens, it's just a matter of time until other search engines like Bing, Yandex, Baidu, DuckDuckGo, and others apply the same results to your website/blog.


    One thing I need to tell you first is about how crawlers (especially GoogleBot) have updated their algorithms and made links with rel='nofollow' attributes to be considered in determining the ranking of content in search results.

    However, Google does not always consider all links assigned a nofollow attribute. GoogleBot will only consider links that are valuable to be indexed.

    This also applies to all attribute types including sponsored and ugc. For more details, please read the following brief explanation.


    If a hyperlink is made in a simple and standard format without any rel= attributes in it, then the link will be considered a dofollow link which will be crawled by search robots and can give birth to dofollow backlink for the intended link later.

    Every dofollow link must be crawled and become a backlink for the intended link. I emphasize again, all dofollow backlinks must be backlinks for the intended link.

    It is said that reportedly, this type of backlink is a very useful backlink to boost the SEO value of a website. However, it also depends on the quality of the backlink provided.

    An example of installing a dofollow link is as follows:


    or for more details is like this:

    <a href='' title='Ninura Homepage'>Ninura</a> ;

    Links like this are usually used to refer to certain pages on the same web.


    The nofollow attribute is used for links that point out of the website / blog or links that point to pages that you think do not need to be indexed by search engines. Examples are search pages, category/ label/ tag pages, and nextPage pages.

    If a link uses this attribute, it will not be considered a backlink and will not be crawled by search robots.

    An example of its implementation is like this:

    <a href='DESTED LINK' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' title='DESCRIPTION ABOUT LINK'> WORDS OR IMAGES RELATED TO THE LINK</a>

    or for more details is like this:

    <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' title='Google Search'>Google Search</a>

    UGC (User Generated Content)

    The new attribute to identify existing links on your blog/web is rel='ugc'. This attribute is used for links created by users / visitors to your blog. For example the link in the comments column.

    An example of its implementation is like this:

    <a href='DESTINATION LINK' rel='ugc' target='_blank' title='DESCRIPTION ABOUT LINK'> WORDS OR IMAGES RELATED TO THE LINK</a>

    or for more details is like this:

    <a href='' rel='ugc' target='_blank' title='Google Search'>Google Search</a>

    GoogleBot will rate links with the UGC attribute as an 'additional' link which will be assessed later after all other links on the web page have been indexed.

    Links with this UGC attribute have the same nature as the NOFOLLOW attribute which will most likely not be considered a backlink (credit) on the intended link but will be a hint or signal for search engines.


    This sponsored attribute is intended for paid links such as banner ads or blog placements. For usage this is the same as the ugc attribute which is like this:

    <a href='DESTINATION LINK' rel='sponsored' target='_blank' title='DESCRIPTION ABOUT LINK'> WORDS OR IMAGES RELATED TO THE LINK</a>

    or for more details is like this:

    <a href='' rel='sponsored' target='_blank' title='Google Search'>Google Search</a>

    The function of this attribute is the same as UGC in that it will only be a hint for crawlers and most likely will not be considered a credit backlink.

    Even so, UGC and SPONSORED can still boost the value of SEO and web rankings in search results if applied correctly.


    This attribute is used to tell the crawler that this link is an external link. By using this link, you are indirectly telling the crawler:

    This link is not from my website, I think this website is safe, but if there is anything that is not according to policy or law on the page posted on the link, it's not my responsibility, yes, bot.

    This attribute is strictly recommended by Google. If you don't believe me, you can check at Lighthouse and see the Best Practice recommendations there. One of them is applying the noopener and or noreferrer attributes on each external link.

    Noopener & noreferrer works the same as dofollow links which will still be indexed and considered backlinks by crawler engines like Google.

    How to apply it is quite easy, which is like this:

    <a href='DESTINATION LINK' rel='noopener' target='_blank' title='DESCRIPTION ABOUT LINK'> WORDS OR IMAGES RELATED TO THE LINK</a>

    or for more details is like this:

    <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank' title='Google Search'>Google Search</a>

    Additional information

    The thing to note is that if the link you planted has the rel= attribute, you need to add the target='_blank' attribute on the link so that the link opens in a new tab/ window.

    This serves so that your parent page (referrer link) or web page / blog is not closed and visitors can easily return to your web / blog every time they finish accessing the link they are aiming for.

    Tips for Using the Rail Attribute on Links

    If you want to apply the rel attribute to a link, but you are unsure which attribute to choose, please follow some simple to-do lists below:

    1. Is the link you want to post internal or external? If external then apply target='_blank' and rel='noopener noreferrer'.
    2. Is the link you want to install paid (advertisement or sponsorship)? If yes, then apply rel='sponsored'.
    3. Are the links posted by yourself or by someone else? If by someone else, then apply rel='ugc'.
    4. Is the link a useful reference and you want to give credit (award) to the author on the link you are referring to? Otherwise, apply rel='nofollow'.

    For the application of these rail attributes can be combined. So you don't need to be confused about choosing. Just answer the questions above and then apply.

    A simple example is like this. From the questions above, I answered:

    1. Yes, the link you want to install goes to an external page. [target='_blank' rel='noreferrer noopener']
    2. Yes, this link is paid. [rel='sponsored']
    3. Yes this link was made by someone else.[rel='ugc']
    4. These links are content-relevant and useful references.
      1. So the result of the answer is like this:

        <a href='destined link' target='_blank' rel='noreferrer noopener sponsored ugc' title='explanation link'>Explanation Word of Link</a>

        Which search engines will respond to this link with a response something like this:

        • Ohh, this is a dofollow external link, ready for me to search and include it in the index.
        • Ohh, this is a paid link made by someone, I'm ready to separate it, I'll check it later.
        • Oh, this link has nothing to do with this website, okay, if something goes wrong with the link you posted, I won't blame you. That's the responsibility of the owner of the website.

        That's more or less the answer from the crawler engine if you really say it.

        Benefits of applying rel= . attribute

        In addition to helping secure your links from phishing, hacking, and causing your website to be kicked (deindexed) as well as Google and other search engines, applying the correct rail attribute can show your professionalism in managing websites/blogs.

        And, you will also be more interested and understand about SEO as a whole. The point is, you can treat Search Engines the same way you treat humans. Give the correct reference!


        Maybe that's all I can say about how to use the rel attribute on the correct link (according to my understanding). If something is wrong, please correct it, if something is not clear, please ask via the comments column below.

        Hopefully this information is useful and see you in the next article.


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