Websites New Rules During Coronavirus Outbreak
SA government has now enforced a law that all .co.za domains must now link to there new coronavirus website.
Needless to say – a huge majority of SA businesses don’t use .co.za domains. They use .com domains which are usually better for geo-location targeting international countries.
South Africa Government Forces Backlinks From .co.za WebsitesJust recently the South African government forced all .co.za websites to link to there new coronavirus website which was registered 11 March 2020. The new government site is a .co.za domain and not a .gov domain (www.sacoronavirus.co.za)
Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has approved new requirements for South African websites (.co.za domains) the requirements were ‘shallow’ and have been misinterpreted by most webmasters.
All websites operating within .zaDNA top level domain name must now have a landing page with a visible link to www.sacoronavirus.co.za which is the governments new coronavirus website.
What is a website landing page?A landing page would mean a stand-alone page that contains useful information about COVID-19 with a single backlink to the government’s website.
Users will more than likely not see the landing page (unless it ranks high in search or is part of your websites main navigation)
Either way – search engines will crawl the COVID-19 landing page and credit the government website for the backlink due to the content been related to both websites. Take note – Abrahams spoke of a single landing page and not linking from all pages.
Most .co.za sites have linked in the header, a pop-up or in the footer on ALL pages passing PageRank to the government’s new website.
The government gazette can be read at the following link [PDF Link]
The Danger Of Backlinks That Push PageRankPageRank is a strong crawling metric and is used by search engine crawlers to determine a websites authority in search results. The more backlinks you require from sites with authority, the better your website will rank (a link is a vote of confidence, a forced or a deliberately placed link is a sign of a webmasters attempt to manipulate the search results) On many occasions Google has warned SEO’s and website developers not to force backlinks on webmasters.
If a link does not carry the rel=”nofollow” attribute it will pass PageRank to the website it points too.
The new law which was gazetted 26 March 2020 came into effect 15 days after the SA government registered the new coronavirus website. Prior to the government enforcing the new law there website was nowhere to be found in Google search results.
Days after forcing backlinks from all SA websites to ‘sacoronavirus’ there website skyrocketed and hit the front page for all coronavirus related queries.
Nonetheless – the government neglected to mentioned anything about the rel=”nofollow” attribute, and most webmasters are unfamiliar with the attribute.
Googles Guidelines For BacklinksGoogles link scheme guidelines are easy to understand and can be read here >> Google Link Scheme Guidelines
How To Safely Link To sacoronavirus.co.za1) Create a single landing page then add COVID-19 related content to the new page, then place a single backlink to the government website.
2) Or, you can simply add the rel=”nofollow” attribute to the government link if the link appears in the header, sidebar or footer of all pages.
How To Add rel=”nofollow” To Links In WordPressTo add the rel=”nofollow” link attribute in WordPress, navigate to 'Appearance' 'Widgets' or 'Customize' then search for the footer widget then add the example code above.
Or navigate to the page itself and click edit. Then view the editor via the text version and add the rel=”nofollow” attribute to the link.
If you are unsure contact me for assistance.