Last week, Google quietly updated their link scheme definitions to be more specific. The changes were minor, but they helped clarify what Google really thinks of links within widgets. The updated guideline states specific link types that Google will read as widget link schemes and spam.

Google’s take on linking is still all about quality. The previous guideline wasn’t very specific when it came to the type of links considered spam. It read:

Links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites

The new guideline is more specific:

Keyword-rich, hidden or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites

The example that they gave was the same, which means the update is more of a clarification than an actual change in their guidelines. This change should help confused readers who watched Matt Cutts’ video late last year, where he recommends using the rel=nofollow tag for all links in widgets to avoid being regarded as a link building scheme.

You can view the said video below:

What This Means for You

Cleaning up your links is the first step towards ensuring your widgets only contain high quality links. As our partners, you have access to our link clean-up services. Talk to your account manager today to learn more or request the service directly from your reseller dashboard.

What this also means is that you need to be selective when it comes to links you’re sharing through your widgets. As I’ve mentioned earlier, you’ll need to focus on quality, both when selecting third-party links and stories to share and when sharing your own materials. Finally, you need to implement Matt Cutts’ suggestion of adding a rel=nofollow tag whenever necessary to ensure your links do not get tagged as spam.

If you’re not yet our partner, remember to sign up today and request your website audit to know which of your links are being flagged as spam by Google. You’ll also get access to our link clean-up services and our full suite of SEO solutions. Keep checking back for more updates!

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