Millions of Americans have discovered the freedom from mundanity through the use of blogging. People from all walks of life have put their voices out over the internet for others to listen to, to relate to, and to take advice from. In fact, blogging has become so popular that those who are good enough at it actually make a sizable profit; a profit that often comes from reviewing products.
Bloggers who review products might be discussing children’s toys, makeup and clothing brands, or even hiking and camping gear. In order to write a review, the companies must first send the blogger their products. The blogger then expresses their opinion on the products and will often include a link to the company’s website.
As of last week, Google strongly advised bloggers to nofollow “any links that they add to products they’ve received, as ‘these links didn’t come about organically.'”
What is the problem with this request?
Google hasn’t specifically said what type of links bloggers should nofollow, which leaves the whole thing up to guesswork at the potential cost of a penalty. The learning curve regarding what links to nofollow will be a steep one with the blogging community and what will most likely end up happening is excessive use of the nofollow tag.
What should bloggers do now?
Quite honestly, it seems that the general consensus is that many people will fall victim to Google’s scare tactics and will not provide backlinks to companies in their blog posts. However, it would be wise to continue to link out as much as one needs to. Go ahead, review those ten products and link every single one of them back to their respective company! If you are naturally linking a site, then you should not have to suffer the consequences of a Penguin penalty.
Google also shouldn’t forget that it could be shooting itself in the foot with this request to nofollow links. Bloggers who review products for brands such as REI, Apple, and IKEA are the same companies who shell out millions and even billions of dollars every year on advertisement budgets. Because Adwords is Google’s most profitable service it provides, what would happen if those big name brands are no longer expanding their audience through the use of natural backlinking from their customers?
Read the full, in-depth article from Search Engine Watch to determine for yourself whether or not you believe Google’s latest request is too irrational, or if there’s some method to their madness.