Google published another post today, reiterating its position on “widget links” with rich anchor text that can not be controlled by an editor or webmaster. This is a gentle reminder that the usage and/or marketing of widgets should be done with caution.
Widgets are an excellent way to integrate interactivity on a web site. Like a mortgage calculator, a hit counter or other elements of user experience. But, web masters beware of simply copy and pasting a widget on to your site that contains anchor text linking back to a developer or companies web site.
But it’s not the webmaster who must be wary. It’s the developers of widgets that Google is really targeting. They are the ones who are benefiting from webmasters placing their widgets on sites. This is an easy Google Penalty waiting to happen. With a Penguin update looming in the near future, we can conclude a penalty on widget links will be a part of it.
Google has long taken a strong stance against links that manipulate a site’s PageRank. Today we would like to reiterate our policy on the creation of keyword-rich, hidden or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites.
So, to be safe, if you want to add a widget to your site, be sure that the anchor text is editable and add the rel=”nofollow” tag to the link. And if you are a developer and publish widgets, we hope you have a way to dynamically control them. Otherwise you will be starting up a deep reconciliation process.