A month ago, we reported that Google had issued warnings to bloggers over providing links in return for free products to review.
Now it seems that the penalty actions reported over the weekend were directly related to Google’s warning last month.
Google advised bloggers reviewing goods they’d received free of charge to nofollow any links pointing readers to sites where they can buy the products.
As reported by SER, Google’s Webmaster Central Help Forum contains plenty of questions from bloggers who have received penalties over the weekend, like this one:
The post by Sammi Penni in relation to the penalty notice shown above has been replied to by John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google.
John confirms that the penalty is related to the warning about nofollowing links:
There’s absolutely no need to nofollow every link on your site! However, those that are there because of an exchange (such as a product or service for a review) should have a rel=nofollow on links to the product, to their sales pages, and to any social media profiles that are linked because of the review. Also, it’s always a good idea to clearly label these kinds of posts for your readers too.
There are other, similar exchanges in which John advises that the penalised sites should unfollow links which may have been added in return for free products.
The entries also reveal that the bloggers in question seem to have been unaware of any need to unfollow links, and several said that they hadn’t received any payment for links.
As with warnings over guest blogging for links and other such instances, these pieces of advice are often followed by a penalty. I guess it’s a way for Google to show it mean…
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