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Google served notices to webmasters last week, stating that it has decided to penalize sites with unnatural outbound links. Google’s mass manual action message to webmasters turned out to be a brief warning to blogwriters to disclose nofollow links when reviewing gifted products online.

In a brief message, Google warned bloggers to “nofollow the link, if you happen to link it to the company’s official website, the company’s social media presence, the merchant’s online webpages that sells the product, a third party review service’s webpages that features product reviews or the company’s mobile app in an app store.”

After serving mass warning messages to bloggers a fortnight ago, Google warned site owners about the impending manual actions for those who didn’t follow webmaster’s guidelines.

Google’s John Mueller, through Google Support forum, sent out a message to businesses to refer and follow Google’s Best Blogging practices which were published a fortnight ago for free products reviews in an official blog post.

In the message thread, John Mueller commented,

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.

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About The Author

Chris Carter works at, a White Label Software + Services provider for online marketing agencies.