Google penalizes bloggers for free product reviews
Webspam is the biggest issue for Google when it comes to the quality of their search results. 2016 has seen the search giant work harder than ever to combat spam and low quality websites. This month saw manual penalties handed out to a massive number of bloggers over free product reviews.
Google had told bloggers to “nofollow the link, if you decide to link 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 or the company’s mobile app in an app store.”
It appears now that Google has handed out manual penalties to all the websites that had ignored the above instructions.
John Mueller from Google commented in a few threads in the Google support forums telling people to look at the warning Google published a few weeks ago named Best practices for bloggers reviewing free products they receive from companies. He also added:
“In particular, if a post was made because of a free product (or free service, or just paid, etc.), then any links placed there because of that need to have a rel=nofollow attached to them. This includes links to the product itself, any sales pages (such as on Amazon), affiliate links, social media profiles, etc. that are associated with that post. Additionally, I imagine your readers would also appreciate it if those posts were labeled appropriately. It’s fine to keep these kinds of posts up, sometimes there’s a lot of useful information in them! However, the links in those posts specifically need to be modified so that they don’t pass PageRank (by using the rel=nofollow).
Once these links are cleaned up appropriately, feel free to submit a reconsideration request, so that the webspam team can double-check and remove the manual action.”
This takeaway from this is that any blogger or webmaster should stay up to date on their webmaster search console and any related announcements from Google.