On Friday, Google took to multiple company blogs to lay out a few "best practices" for bloggers and companies when it comes to the ladder giving the former free products, and the former reviewing them.
These are to keep you compliant with Google's Webmaster Guidelines and therefore in the search engine's good grace (i.e. not penalized).
The first rule (and this is not new, mind you) is to make sure that links are properly nofollowed.
"Links that pass PageRank in exchange for goods or services are against Google guidelines on link schemes," Google says. "Companies sometimes urge bloggers to link back to: the company’s site; the company’s social media accounts; an online merchant’s page that sells the product; a review service’s page featuring reviews of the product the company’s mobile app on an app store."
"Bloggers should use the nofollow tag on all such links because these links didn’t come about organically (i.e., the links wouldn’t exist if the company hadn’t offered to provide a free good or service in exchange for a link)," it adds. "Companies, or the marketing firms they’re working with, can do their part by reminding bloggers to use nofollow on these links."
The other two best practices are pretty simple. Disclose the relationship, and "create compelling, unique content."
For disclosure, Google says this can appear anywhere in a post, but that the top is the most useful placement.
Again, none of this stuff is really new, but it's worth noting that Google is posting this on multiple blogs. The company could be looking at this stuff more closely than in the past.
Image via Wikimedia Commons