Today’s question comes from Aishwarya in Queensland, who asks:

“Is it necessary to use Nofollow, Sponsored or UGC links (rel=”sponsored”, rel=”follow” or rel=”nofollow sponsored”) in the coupons/vouchers/offers websites where there are lot of outbound links? If yes, which of the links above is better to use.”

Great question, Aishwarya!

Yes, it’s absolutely necessary to use these attributes on your outbound links.

Aside from the U.S., UK, and the EU each having its own unique laws and rules about needing to disclose, Google has its own version and mentions it in their guidelines, too. Here is an example of that.

Google also applied a penalty a few years back specifically for sites that aren’t disclosing.

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I talked about how Google can tell if you are or are not disclosing in this post.

Because you asked about coupons, in particular, I’ll assume you’re a vouchers website and answer for your likely situation.

Here is how I recommend doing the attribute.

Sponsored

You are likely earning commissions or getting paid.

This would mean you’ll want to use sponsored because you’re not placing the link there to be nice.

This includes affiliate links, media buys, products for review, and when you have custom coupon codes that are being used to track from the page.

Follow

If you aren’t making money and just sourcing coupon codes with no monetary gain, then leave it as a follow link, and don’t worry.

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You built the dedicated page for the store because you trust the store enough to send your website visitors to them.

That means the store is trustworthy and should have followed links.

Nofollow

There are multiple situations here.

1. If the website you are linking to is not something you trust, then you shouldn’t be building a page for coupons for that store.

Ask yourself, “Why would you refer website visitors to a store that isn’t trustworthy?”

It doesn’t make sense to link to them, so simply delete that page instead of using no-follow.

If you insist on having the page, then nofollow is correct but not recommended.

2. If the links are not affiliate, PR, or paid media and you added them because the store’s deal is worth mentioning, then follow is the right way to go.

This is because there is no monetary incentive and you feel the website is a good resource for your webpage visitors.

UGC & User-Submitted Coupons

Just like nofollow above, this is situational:

  • If the page is non-branded (ie.: “Valentine’s Coupons”) and coupons are user-submitted, use UGC.
  • If the link becomes an affiliate link on the outbound click through an ad network, sponsored is correct and not UGC.
  • If it is user-submitted and there is no affiliate relationship, make it UGC.
  • If it is user-submitted and you have a dedicated page for that store: use a followed internal link to the store page, a sponsored link for the outbound click if you have an affiliate relationship, and a UGC if there is no affiliate or paid relationship.

Affiliate Links

These should be sponsored because you are posting them with the goal of earning a commission.

Hopefully this helps answer your question about coupon websites and which link attributes to use.

If it doesn’t, please feel free to reach out to me so I can look at your website and understand the specific situation.

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Thank you for the question!

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