When Google announced the new link spam update, a ton of confusion arose with that announcement. The confusion was mostly around do you need to change your nofollow links to rel=sponsored for affiliate or similar links. The answer is no, nofollow is fine and you won’t get in trouble for using nofollow instead of rel sponsored.
While Google has said in the past that it prefers you to use rel sponsored for affiliate links – you do not need to. The nofollow link attribute changes specifically say a nofollow attribute works fine for Google’s purposes, but you would be doing the company a favor to use rel sponsored and rel ugc in those areas when applicable.
Both Gary Illyes and John Mueller of Google recently confirmed this on Twitter with these tweets:
Nothing has changed with the guidelines there.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) July 28, 2021
Would be great to get a clarification from them if they are absolutely insisting on rel=sponsored or if nofollow is fine as well.
— Miklós Zoltán (@mzb4455) July 26, 2021
nofollow is still fine but we’d love if people could help us with more precise link qualification
— Gary 鯨理／경리 Illyes (@methode) July 26, 2021
I can’t speak for all possible futures, but I don’t see that happening. There’s no need to rebuild your sites to shift from nofollow to sponsored, but using the better fitting variant on new sites would be nice.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) July 27, 2021
So don’t stress it…
Forum discussion at Twitter.