Google disclosed a major change to how no-follow links are counted. Earlier no-follow links were treated as a notice, meaning Google accepted the no-follow, period. Starting today, for ranking aim, Google is considering no-follow as a hint. This means that Google will decide even if to use the link for ranking purposes or not. This adjustment impacts on-page SEO, content marketing, link building, and link spam. First question “No–follow”? No-follow is an HTML attribute that is included in links. It tells Google that link is not trusted. It was originally constructed to combat blog comment spam. It evolved for use on advertisement links and for user-generated links which are not to be 100% trusted. No-follow Hint Gives Zero Benefit to Publishers No incentive for publishers to use the new link attributes No benefit to publishers in the form of ranking boost Cost of implementing change outweighs any perceived benefit (which at this point is zero) On twitter the effect was negative. Google got a lot of criticism and Google even responded to it. What’s in it for Google? Google disclosed two new no-follow link attributes. One is for demonstrating that a no-follow link is from user-generated content (UGC). The second one is to demonstrate that a no-follow link is on sponsored content. Both of these attributes aid Google because it can help Google with link calculations. The sponsored link no-follow allows Google the strong hint to not give any Page rank. It also contributes to Google’s understanding of the web page better itself, that the page promotes sponsored links. The UGC no-follow provides Google the hint that these links might be helpful for ranking purposes. So Google may decide to pass ranking signals for forum no-follow links, Why Would Google Change No-follow to a Hint? Many people had said there are fewer opportunities for links because nobody’s creating links anymore. Forum traffic is down. There are few people on forums creating links. Blogging is down. There are few bloggers publishing and creating links. Video and Audio content does not produce links. It could be that the link signal has become progressively weaker. How Will Google Use Wikipedia No-follow Links? Wikipedia links can be viewed as a high-value link. In general, they are seen as high quality & quantity links because of tight editorial standards. Adding Wikipedia links to Google’s ranking calculations could disclose a new way to improve the link signal, which could then be trickled down and make the link calculations stronger. No-follow Hints Takeaway: SEO Will face problems Google’s announcement changes how links for ranking purposes are evaluated. The change discloses fairness because links that were inconsistently no-followed may now count. But the change may also disclose an increase in link spam. It is certainly a chance for some to begin selling no-follow links.