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UGC links in WordPress

Since 2005, Google has required web managers to mark the links that pointed to external content as dofollow or nofollow.

Nofollow links are those that are created by putting the “nofollow” attribute in the rel = “” tag of the link.

rel = ”nofollow ” are used to indicate that the link should not be crawled by Google , in addition it is assumed that this type of link should be used to indicate the links that were paid or advertising.

They are also used to mark the links that users can insert in comments and forums so that they are not used as a strategy to position websites.

And on the contrary, a dofollow link, which is not necessary to add any attribute since all links are, unless otherwise indicated, are trusted links and lead to content that adds value to the text from which it comes. And therefore transfers authority in the face of web positioning.

Well, since September 2019 Google has introduced two new attributes for the rel = ”” tag of links, ugc (User Generated Content) and sponsored.

Until now, what we did was add nofollow links in WordPress for external links, but the idea that Google has when using these attributes is to clarify why a link was considered nofollow.

And it does so because it has announced that since March 2020 it may crawl some of the nofollow links if it considers it relevant. And to optimize this task has introduced these two new types of links.

 

What are UGC links?

Let’s consider that UGC links are those that are marked with the rel = ”ugc” tag . It can also be labeled nofollow.

And knowing that UGC stands for User Generated Content, that is, content generated by the user , Google asks us to mark with this tag those links that are on our website that point outside of it and that have been created by a user external to the owner of the web.

Until now they were marked as nofollow so that we shielded our website from any attempt to be used to improve the positioning of another website by users who could enter content with links, such as in the comments of an entry or in a publication of a forum.

Insert UGC links in WordPress

If we follow Google’s instructions to use the UGC links, these must be all the links that appear in the comments, in the forum posts and, ultimately, where the content is not our own but that of a third party.

1- In the WordPress comments.

Well, you don’t have to do anything here since since WordPress 5.3 all comment links carry the rel = ”” tag with the ugc attribute apart from the nofollow.

2- In the posts of a WordPress forum

If in your WordPress you have a plugin or theme that allows you to turn it into a forum, the first thing you have to do is check if the links generated by users are created as UGC links or not.

In case they are not created as such you can use the External Links plugin – nofollow, noopener & new window

External Links WordPress Plugin

Once the plugin is installed and activated we can see an access to the plugin configuration from the main WordPress menu. By clicking on “External Links” a page appears divided into tabs.

If our WordPress is only a forum and we do not have a blog or any other section where the links should not be ugc, we will look only at the first tab “External Links” .

And it is important to keep this in mind because this plugin changes all external links on the web wherever they are.

If, on the contrary, our website, apart from a forum, has other sections where external links do not have to be ugc, we will have to add those pages as exceptions in the “Exceptions” tab .

Let’s see how it would be configured in both cases:

First the “External Links” tab , here we configure the characteristics of all external links.

wp-external-links

In the image you can see the minimum configuration for the case at hand. That the links open in a new window, that they are nofollow and that also add the ugc attribute in the rel = ”” tag.

If you need not all external links to have this configuration, you must configure the exceptions in the “Exceptions” tab.

wp-external-link-exceptions

In this tab we can exclude pages, posts or any content simply by putting their id in the first space “Skip pages or posts (id’s)” .

But it also allows us to create exceptions according to a class added to the link, or directly by adding the url that we want not to add the external link configurations.

At this point it is important to select the option “Make subdomains internal” so that it manages the links to your own subdomain, if you have one, as an internal link and does not apply the external configuration.

And finally, if we want to give these external links a different configuration than the internal links would have, we can leave the option Own settings for excluded links (extra tab) checked in “Own settings for excluded links” and give them the configuration we want in the “Excluded Links” tab .

3- In the content of a post, page, product, etc.

In the event that you need to insert a link with the tag rel = “ugc” in a text, we can do it in several ways:

    • If we continue to use the classic WordPress editor ( Editor WordPress Gutenberg ).In this editor you cannot add the rel tag to links from the create links button.Insert-edit-link-wp-external-linkSo we have two options:

      – We put the tag from the HTML editor :

      html-editor-wordpress

      – We can use the WP Better SEO Links plugin that adds extra functionalities to the wizard to create links:

insert-edit-link-editor-wordpress

    • If we use the WordPress block editor we can only add them through HTML editing, or at least I have not found a plugin adapted to the block editor that allows it.Once the link is inserted, we must switch to the HTML edition.edit-link-wordpress-block-editar
      And in the HTML version we can add the nofollow and ugc attributes in the rel = ”” tag .example-no-follow-link-wordpress

To be fair with the version of the WordPress editor by blocks, I must comment that if instead of inserting a link, what is inserted is a button, it does allow us to add the attributes to the rel = ”” tag through the configuration.

Conclusion

With the new types of links that Google has introduced, such as UGC links, together with the announcement that it has started to follow nofollow links, it leads us to think that Google is drawing a new strategy to improve and simplify the task. of tracking bots.

It remains to be seen if the fact that it tracks them has any influence on the positioning of the webs where the links point.

In this article we have seen that implementing ugc links is relatively simple, since in the comments we only have to have the WordPress 5.3 version at least, and if you have a forum you will only need a plugin with a small configuration.

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