March 1 Google algorithm update 2020which is specific to crawling and indexing can be definitely considered amongst the Google important updates, as it is to affect both the crawling and indexing of the nofollow links.

Beginning March 1 this year, Google has started treating nofollow links as a factor for the purposes of crawling and indexing. So, what’s in store in terms of the impact, best practices, takeaways, etc.? In order to know, let’s dig deeper and explore.

Going back few years, the nofollow link attribute came out in 2005. The primary objective was to put a check on the website comment spam and to devalue or discredit paid links.

• What is it exactly?
As a part of this update, Google has now changed its approach towards the nofollow link attribute. It won’t consider the attribute as a directive henceforth. Instead, Google would consider it to be a hint for crawling and indexing. The reason behind the same lies in the fact that by following the nofollow directive, they miss out on the valuable information contained by the nofollow link. On the other hand, if it is treated as a hint, the nofollow link’s context is used so as to enhance the search by deepening their know-how of the anchor texts and the relation to the linked page.

Following is the complete statement fromGoogle:
“Why not completely ignore such links, as had been the case with nofollow? Links contain valuable information that can help us improve search, such as how the words within links describe the content they point at. Looking at all the links we encounter can also help us better understand unnatural linking patterns. By shifting to a hint model, we no longer lose this important information, while still allowing site owners to indicate that some links shouldn’t be given the weight of a first-party endorsement.”

• Will this particular update have an impact on the rankings?
The nature of the impact of this crawling and indexing nofollow links update on rankings is difficult to predict. The deciding factor could be which pages Google chooses to crawl and index.
Google might come up with rules for choosing which pages to index, and which ones do not. It is not unlikely that Google will opt not to index pages of low quality.

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• What’s there in it for us?

- It’s time to review the manner in which we use Nofollow
Improper use of nofollow could result in unexpected consequences. It might prove to be useful for reviewing the manner in which nofollows are deployed on your web pages and check out if it is the right time to get rid of them and switch to a meta robots noindex.
- Stay alert as far as the Nofollow Hint Update is concerned

When it is about search rankings and money, one just cannot afford to turn a blind eye. Keep in mind that this change is amongst the latest ones, and was out on the 1stof March 2020.

So, in the event that the traffic and rankings begin to change, in such a case, the nofollow crawling and indexing update would be a thing to investigate.

• What needs to be done?
With this update out now, it’s high time that you review your Nofollow Policy.

While some of the publishers out there made use of nofollow so as to keep their pages from being crawled. Usual pages associated with a nofollow might be links to user profiles. Login pages links and links to sections of a website that might be interpreted as being thin pages.
Making use of nofollow with the intention to block Google from crawling and indexing a particular page can never be termed as a good practice. There exist more robust techniques for keeping pages from being indexed (e.g. the meta robots noindex directive).

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• At a glance
One can deploy nofollow for insignificant links such as for pages having thin content on them, login pages, or rest of the pages that Google is not required to see.
Put to use the Noindexmeta tag, in the event that you are deploying the nofollow link attribute in order to abstain Googlebot from indexing or crawling a particular page.
A link profile is said to be the most natural, only if there exists a balance between the do-follow and the nofollow links.

That was all that you need to know about the Google Crawl and Indexing update on March 1, 2020.

Author's Bio: 

Digital Trainee - India's 1st Practical Digital Marketing Training Institute In Pune. Digital Trainee is an initiative for those who are ambitious in the field of digital marketing.