Google has issued a fairly strong warning on its Webmaster Central Blog about inbound links from widgets today, as it looks to inform webmasters of the importance of avoiding the use of poor quality links.
Widgets are web tools that can be embedded into web pages. These can be tools that show up-to-date information from another website, counters, statistics or have other valuable features. Google has no problem with the use of these, however, when they include a keyword-rich link to another website, this can work negatively for the website that is linked to.
“Widgets can help website owners enrich the experience of their site and engage users. However, some widgets add links to a site that a webmaster did not editorially place and contain anchor text that the webmaster does not control. Because these links are not naturally placed, they’re considered a violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines.” (Google, 2016)
On the blog, Google posted three visual examples of widgets that contain links that violate their guidelines:
The webspam team at Google may take manual action on these types of links, and webmasters will be notified through Search Console. If you are at risk of manual action for inbound, widget-based links that violate guidelines you can either remove the links or mark them as no-follow, so they would not be taken into account. This can be none by adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the link.
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