SEO improvement: updated link rel attribute

Related products: Others

Hello everyone 👋

This news if for all the SEO enthusiasts out there. Here is a small SEO improvement but and important nonetheless.


But first a few terms for you to know (if not already)

  • A "rel" is an HTML attribute that specifies the relationship between the current document and the linked document. This is used by Google for SEO purposes. 
  • UGC stand for User Generated Content


What we changed

We added the "ugc" value to the link rel for all newly content created by all end users (aka super users and registered users).

For example:  <a href="" rel="ugc">This is a nice community! </a>

This change will apply to topics and replies and basically make it visible to Google what content has been created by end users. 


Why is this good for SEO?

Google recommends the following "We recommend marking user-generated content (UGC) links, such as comments and forum posts, with the ugc value."

Identifying links created by end users can be useful in the case of spammers. Links containing" rel="ugc" will generally not be taken into account when calculating PageRank on the Google Search results page.

This won't prevent spam, but it will avoid problems with passing PageRank and deter spammers from targeting your site. By default, many sites automatically add this attribute to any posted comments.

More info from Google here


Do you share your thoughts and feedback about this news in the comments below :)



I get the idea behind the value. In our community we especially encourage our super users to add links to internal and external (company) pages when they reply to questions or post their tutorials and hardware reviews. Our goal by that is to strengthen target content and landing pages. If I understand correctly, this change will have a negative effect on our strategy, right?

Hello @bjoern_schulze, we already had a nofollow before on the link which prevented google from following the links. This will give google some extra metadata but I don't think your strategy was already working.

I can see plus and minus sides to this change, but I ultimately feel that it’s a good move. It may be useful to allow Super Users and/or specific roles to override this as it’s an anti-abuse mechanism, but I’d still say that it should be enabled by default and only allows an override if an Administrator/Community Manager explicitly flips the switch. The other override that might be handy relates to trusted domains. I might post these as an Idea later actually, but I think one of them already exists on the board. I’ll double check.

In terms of OVO, it seems most of the spammers have either recently been scared away by me being too good at flagging literally everything or the spam filter is hammering pretty much all of it straight into the bin as I’ve not seen much recently. But yeah, given how dodgy some of the spam links were (and especially some of the websites they go to!), I think it makes sense to set these flags by default. You really don’t want Google to be associating your domains with some of the spammy junk I’ve flagged up in the past!

@Marion Frecaut If I understand your reply to bjorn correctly, links in topics are offering no SEO value to external sites unless placed by an admin from the backend? The nofollow was doing this before, but now ugc helps depricate it as well? 

We have a similar strategy in place as bjorn’s community and didn’t realize that our CTA for people to share their content on our site wouldn’t give them any SEO value. 

Hello @ddpancratz  we follow this as a SEO best practice and recommendation for forum software and indeed we had the nofollow already which caused search engines to avoid giving higher rank to the links. Though previously we applied this to no follow all links and now we only apply this ugc to the links made by registered users and superuser. 

In summary, the links look like this:

Example of a link posted by a moderator role or higher:

Example of a link posted by a regular user: