Last week, Google caused ripples in the SEO world after announcing that “nofollow” links would no longer be completely ignored by their ranking algorithm. Instead, the algorithms will treat the nofollow attribute more like a guideline than a hard and fast rule. Since this is the first major change to the nofollow function in 14 years, many in the SEO industry are wondering what kind of affect this change would have.
For now, the answer to that question is that we would probably see some changes. Google has stated that they will ignore some nofollow links, and if the links are used correctly, there is no compelling reason to change them. However, there may be some benefit to using some of the new link attributes Google has released alongside the nofollow changes.
Links can now be marked as “nofollow,” “sponsored,” or “ugc” for user-generated content. Google has always frowned upon paid advertisements not being marked as such. Therefore, Search Engine Journal recommends using the “sponsored” attribute for any sponsored links to avoid being penalized for link schemes. There is also the possibility that in the future, Google will decide these different attributes should have different effects on the algorithm. In this case, it might be helpful to get familiar with them now instead of later.
Moz.com posted the below chart on their website, which explains the new tags and what they do.