Google have recently updated their webmaster guidelines as well as clarifying their position on paid links.
The new webmaster guidelines aren’t exactly earth shattering. All they’ve done, as far as I can see, is simply spell out what they’ve been saying all along – no hidden text, sneaky redirects, keyword stuffing or duplicate content. Where it gets interesting, though, is their clarification on paid links.
Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such.
The post at Webmaster Help goes on to suggest that all advertising links should either have the “nofollow” attribute applied or they should redirect to a page blocked in your robots.txt file. Disregarding this guideline can “negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results“.
It will be interesting to see how advertisers and brokers respond to this. My feeling is that companies like Text Link Ads will probably drop their prices and apply “nofollow” to their links. I’m not sure how the PPP guys will address the issue, though.
Tech Tags: Google, Webmaster Guidelines, Paid Links