Google Tweaks Guidance On Link Schemes

    January 10, 2014
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Google has made a subtle, but noteworthy change to its help center article on link schemes, which is part of its quality guidelines dissuading webmasters from engaging in spammy SEO tactics.

Google put out a video last summer about adding rel=”nofollow” to links that are included in widgets:

In that, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of webspam, said, “I would not rely on widgets and infographics as your primary way to gather links, and I would recommend putting a nofollow, especially on widgets, because most people when they just copy and paste a segment of code, they don’t realize what all is going with that, and it’s usually not as much of an editorial choice because they might not see the links that are embedded in that widget.”

“Depending on the scale of the stuff that you’re doing with infographics, you might consider putting a rel nofollow on infographic links as well,” he continued. “The value of those things might be branding. They might be to drive traffic. They might be to sort of let people know that your site or your service exists, but I wouldn’t expect a link from a widget to necessarily carry the same weight as an editorial link freely given where someone is recommending something and talking about it in a blog post. That sort of thing.”

In Google’s guidance for link schemes, it gives “common examples of unnatural links that may violate our guidelines.”

It used to include: “Links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites.”

As Search Engine Land brings to our attention, that part now reads: “Keyword-rich, hidden or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites.”

That’s a little more specific, and seems to indicate that the previous guidance cast a broader net over such links than what Google really frowns upon. That’s worth noting.

You’d do well to pay attention to what Google thinks about link schemes, as the search engine has made a big point of cracking down on them lately (even if some have gotten off lightly).

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    I think when it comes to links you have to always ask yourself if Google could misunderstand your intent and whack you for spam. Links in widgets can be utterly legitimate, but when you are relying on what is basically a math equation to judge your actions you can leave no room for error.

  • http://www.blogete.com Lakhyajyoti

    Very informative post. Surely I’ll make all my widgets links nofollow. I don’t want to ruin my blog. Thanks for the share.

  • http://electric-reviews.org/ Mark D.

    As far as I`m concerned making Google friendly links are the biggest misunderstood thing there is for a webmaster. Constant changes to the guidelines are cumbersome and frankly I built my site using their guidelines in the first place. These links are good when they used to be bad and vice versa. Why can`t they put out a list of all the different types of links there are including drawbacks to over linking to things and such and rate them so we (the webmasters) actually know what works best? This is the first link I`ve posted in ages and I`m afraid of posting it because of possible penalties to my website so it`s getting a no-follow.

  • http://www.justinternetsolutions.co.uk/pages/SEO/ Just Internet Solutions

    Mark D, that would be too easy for webmasters, that is like asking Google to tell you all the answers to their algorithm. You can still get sites ranking with no follow links. If you use SEO Moz correctly you can find all the answers their. Once you get a bit more experienced then you will master SEO more effectively. You missed out a more vital point that getting phrase high in the results doesn’t always mean you will get the right or correct traffic. For Google to leak the answer you are moaning about, then everyone will be spammed to death, which is obviously what the whole spam team are trying to eliminate.

  • Robert

    Best way to deal with Google, just hand over your Credit Card, your Checkbook and add them to your Bank Account. Your then guaranteed to be list at the top of searches !

  • http://www.rameezulhaq.com SEO Expert

    I think this is good for google to control black hat guys. thumbs up for the update cutts !