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Google’s Manual Action Penalty for Outbound Links Over Free Product Reviews

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Google’s Manual Action Penalty for Outbound Links Over Free Product Reviews

Investigations revealed that businesses were using certain specific keywords to create fake listings. Other than that, there were some more revelations in this context.

Quite some time back, Google issued a notice for bloggers on its platform, suggesting them to adhere to certain guidelines while receiving gifted or free products from brands. In a nutshell, the company wanted to issue some best practices to maintain the transparency of the platform.

However, there was a highly crucial reason behind this announcement. Google aimed at curbing the fraudulent practice of writing product reviews in exchange of free gifts.

What were the Guidelines?

According to announcements made by Google, bloggers required doing the following three tasks while writing descriptions for free products.

  • If bloggers want to link to the company’s social media accounts, official site, or the official page of an online seller, they will have to no follow the links. The same thing applies while reviewing service pages.
  • Bloggers will also have to disclose the real reason for writing free product reviews. As users wish to know about whether the content is sponsored or not, bloggers must admit that they have got free gifts from the company.
  • Finally, Google also asks bloggers to create unique ad highly compelling contents.

The Aftermath

While this platform was very particular about its announcement and declarations, it was unworthy of some bloggers to ignore its guidelines. As the most undesired result, Google also issued manual signals for those users. Let’s find out what occurred as the aftermath.

John Mueller from Google issued some highly noteworthy comments in this context.

1. Importance of rel-nofollow

According to the Google representative, free product or service reviews must have links in a rel=nofollow format. These links include links to sales pages, the product, social media profiles, affiliate links, etc.

2. Appropriate Labeling

He also went on adding that readers truly appreciate posts with appropriate labels attached to them.

3. Modification of Links

Google is not at all skeptical about these kinds of free product posts and reviews. Most of them contain crucial product information, thus enhancing customer experiences. However, bloggers need to modify links present in these posts to prevent them from passing PageRank.

If you are one of those bloggers, it is high time to take necessary action and modify links, thus helping Google eliminate manual actions.

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