Most SEO experts know that internal links are great to help with organic rankings and viewability. But optimizing outbound links becomes the least of our worries. However, one of the main KPIs of Google is to determine the authenticity of a website by checking any attributes nofollow, sponsored, or UGC links.
A sponsored link helps Google understand that a brand or company is paying for the link because it is an ad. And using an attribute tag will help Google by not tagging your site as an unnatural profile.
Types of SEO links
To a layman person, a link found on a web page can be considered the same compared to other links. However, this is not the case, and you might be interested to know how it can affect your SEO. On the front-end, all links might appear to look the same. But, in the back-end, the link attributes written in the HTML code tell us a different story. A story which only a search engine could understand. Google needs attribute links to tell how it should categorize the link.
The attribute link is also known as the rel attribute, or it can be referred to as a rel tag. A link attribute defines a relationship (hence, ‘rel’) between the webpage and the resource of the link.
By default, no value is assigned to the rel attribute. Instead, a specific code that follows the real attribute defines its value. We will look at the following real attributes: nofollow, sponsored, and UGC.
The following HTML code has a link without an attribute:
Nofollow Link Attribute
A link on a webpage has its merits. It tells Google that the link on your page is trusted and credible. Which then helps the link to rank better in the search engine. If you do not want to give your vote of confidence to any link on your webpage. Then, you want to use the nofollow link attributes. The nofollow link attribute helps users link low-quality and spam sites without disturbing their ranking. The link attributes convey to the search engine that it needs to bypass the link for PageRank. It will not help the link source to have a better ranking. It just tells the search engine that you don’t want to trust or associate with the link, which has a nofollow attribute on your website.
In the past, search engines indexing and crawling web page links ignored the nofollow link attributes.
Now the famous search engine, Google, uses the nofollow attribute link as an option to consider whether to crawl or not the source of the link. Even the attribute link is called nofollow. It means that the website does not want the search engines to follow the link used in their webpage.
The following HTML code has a link with a nofollow attribute:
Sponsored Link Attribute
Any advertising links that a third-party site has paid to be published on a different webpage is known as a Sponsored link. The link that promotes a product or service, a sponsored review, an ad for a website, and even Google Adwords can be considered a sponsored link. There are many forms and variations of a Sponsored link. When searching a keyword or phrase on Google. You can see the first few results are ad links. They’re easy to spot as they have an ‘Ad’ word placed next to the link.
The sponsored link attribute was considered the same as the default or organic link back in the day. The webmaster will look at the nofollow and sponsored attribute link as the same. However, a search engine would know the relationship between the link source and the webpage is paid.
The following HTML code has a link with a sponsored attribute:
UGC Link Attribute
If your website gives the user the option to create content or attach links to your site, you should be familiar with the UGC (User-Generated Content) links. A user-generated link that has been posted in a thread or a forum can be attributed to a UGC link. The most common examples used UGC links are blog comments, Q&A websites like Quora, threads, and forums like Reddit.
If you have a blog post where users create and share high-value links, then it is best not to use the UGC attribute. It helps your users place their links on top of the search engine ranks. For other user-generated links, it’s best to define the relationship between the link source and the webpage as the UGC attribute link.
The following HTML code has a link with a ugc attribute:
Combining Link Attributes
We have explored three types of attribute links, nofollow, sponsored, and UGC. All of these three links can be used independently, but you also have the option to use more than one attribute link. It’s best to mix and match the attribute links accordingly. For example, if you have a paid link on your webpage and it’s irrelevant to the topic in discussion. Then, you can choose to use both sponsored and nofollow attribute links together.
The following HTML code has a link with a combined attribute:
Other combinations of attribute links:
The use of attribute links has greatly impacted the landscape of SEO. It helps rank your own page and promotes the relevant links on the search engine. Many SEO experts use attribute links in their strategy to get effective results.
The Impact of SEO links
SEO professionals use link building to have a higher page ranking. In the early days of SEO, many experts exploited the system to their advantage. During this time, SEO professionals realized that they could use unlimited links to promote their content by:
Purchasing links from Webmasters
Leaving spam comments on third-party sites and blogs
Uploading UGC that contained links to sites that were irrelevant
The strategy was simple, quality did not matter. It was all about the quantity, and as a result, many websites were populated with spam links. Search Engines realized the threat and introduced attribute links, nofollow, sponsored, and UGC to fight the untrusted links. The algorithms were updated, and a simple link with the correct ‘rel’ mattered more than just to have an organic link.
The Answer to the Question
Yes, using a Sponsored link is best for SEO and page ranking. It helps the search engine categorize the link and show it to the relevant audience. But, using the sponsored link on its own is not advisable (unless the content dictates). A great SEO expert would use a combination of attribute links with Sponsored attribute links for better results.
It’s best to understand which combinations you’re using with your sponsored link:
example – This most widely and commonly used for a sponsored link. Use this rel when the link has a direct correlation with the content. For example, if the article talks about sports and the sponsored ad is about sportswear, use a sponsored rel.
example – Use this rel if a user has posted a link that is not relevant to the topic and is not of high-value. For example, if the article talks about movies and the user has commented a link for a chocolate bar, then use all three rel.
example – Use this if you have an advertising link which has no relation with the topic. For example, if the website is about gaming reviews and you’re promoting gym wear clothes.
example – Use this if a user is promoting a relevant link to the topic at hand. For example, if the content is about a PS5 game review and someone has posted a sponsored link for selling a PS5 console in the comments.
Once you’ve decided the combinations (if needed) you’re going to use for sponsored links, it’s best to talk about pricing.
The Price of a Sponsored Post
You have created a wonderful website and worked tirelessly to get relevant traffic. Now, it is time to get paid for your hard work. One way to get money for your website is to enable Google Ads on your website. You will get paid if someone clicks on the ad PPC (pay-per-click) or how many users have viewed the ads (impressions). The other two ways of getting paid are to create a sponsored post or guest posting.
Most Google Ads and Sponsored posts will use the rel=”sponsored nofollow” attribute link. Many high-traffic blog posts and magazines charge between $500 and $5K+ for a sponsored post.
Blog or Guest posts have a wider range when setting their pricing. An average cost for a blog post can start from $40 and go up to $1000+ for the content and attribute linking. Usually, bloggers can use multiple variables to set the price, such as research cost, word count cost, and more.
At the end of the day, it’s your judgment call to either use the ‘sponsored’ attribute or give more exposure to your paid link than your organic link. But using high-quality attribute links should be an essential part of your SEO strategy, and it will help to better rank the link source.