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WordPress 5.3 Adopts Rel UGC Nofollow Link Attribute

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WordPress announced that WordPress 5.3, coming next month will support Google’s UGC Nofollow attribute by default. Starting November 12, 2019, all links in the comments section will automatically use the UGC nofollow link attribute.

UGC Nofollow Attribute

The UGC nofollow link attribute is a code announced by Google on September 10, 2019 that tells Google that a link is in the context of user generated content and should not be trusted.

Impact of Rel UGC to WordPress Sites

Any WordPress plugin that is involved with user generated content and links may have to update their code in order to support the new code.

The old callback:

wp_rel_nofollow_callback()

has been deprecated in favor of a new callback:

wp_rel_callback()

The WordPress announcement did not specify if plugins using the old code would break the site or simply gracefully degrade.

Multi-Search Engine Compatibility

Google has indicated it will support rel=ugc. However other search engines have no indicated support for that code. In order to support all search engines, WordPress will output the UGC nofollow in a manner that supports all search engines.

This is the code:

rel=”nofollow ugc

Does Rel UGC Help WordPress Publishers?

There is no ranking benefit to the publisher for using the UGC nofollow attribute.

The UGC nofollow attribute benefits Google because it helps Google understand that a link was created by someone outside of the publisher’s control and that the link should not be trusted.

WordPress Code Deprecation

This change is important for WordPress developers because it involves a change to the code.

Here is how WordPress explains the change:

“In WordPress 5.3, wp_rel_nofollow_callback() will be deprecated in favor of more generic callback function, wp_rel_callback(), which is now used to add other rel attribute values to a specified link.

wp_rel_callback() is used by the existing wp_rel_nofollow() function to add a single “nofollow” value, and with the new wp_rel_ugc() function, developers can add both “nofollow” and “ugc” values to the rel attribute.”

And this is an example that WordPress shared on how to use the new code:

$link = ‘<a href=”example.com”>User generated link example</a>’;
$ugc_link = wp_rel_ugc( $link );
echo $ugc_link;
// output: <a href=”example.com” rel=”nofollow ugc”>User generated link example</a>

Takeaways:

  • Change to the rel nofollow link attribute goes into effect with WordPress 5.3 scheduled for November 12, 2019
  • The change to the new UGC nofollow attribute will still work with other search engines
  • Old nofollow callback has been deprecated
  • The average WordPress user may not experience any inconvenience

NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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Searchenginejournal.com

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