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John Mueller: Linking to relevant 'lesser' websites won't hurt SEO (and 'no search engine uses DR/DA/PA/etc')

13 August 2021 (Edited 13 August 2021)

Once again, we're hearing from a Google insider who's trying to help us that it's the RELEVANCE of linked pages - the usefulness of the linked content to users - that counts in SEO

This week in a tweet, Google Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller addressed a user's question about SEO: "Do you really lose anything if you link to a low DR [Domain Rating] website?"

Mr. Mueller's answer was:

"One way to think about this is to consider the ultimate goal: provide relevant information. Does a link to a "lesser" website make a result less relevant? Do links on Wikipedia make it less useful? Not at all. (As an aside, no search engine uses DR/DA/PA/etc)"

If you want to tell Google that you don't vouch for the content of a page to which you're linking, you have your choice of 3 relationship attributes that you can include in the code of the link:

  • rel="nofollow" which Google will now take as a "hint" that you disclaim responsibility for the linked content
  • rel="sponsored" to identify links for which you have been paid
  • rel="ugc" to identify user-generated content like forum posts or comments on a blog

But really: why would you want to link to a page that has content for which you're unwilling to vouch?

Keep in mind Google's Mission Statement, some key points of which are:

  • Deliver the most relevant and reliable information available
  • Maximize access to information
  • Present information in the most useful way
  • Protect [users'] privacy

The litmus test for linking to content of others should be: Does that content help users get the information they're looking for?

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David Boggs    - David
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