Google has quietly updated the link schemes document under their Webmaster guidelines to add large-scale guest posting, advertorials and optimized anchor text in articles or press releases to the list of types of links that violate their guidelines.
The new guideline examples that were added to this document include:
- Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links
- Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass PageRank
- Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites.
Google also removed these guideline examples:
- Linking to web spammers or unrelated sites with the intent to manipulate PageRank
- Links that are inserted into articles with little coherence
Large-Scale Guest Posts
This should come as no surprise, it is a topic we covered earlier this month. If you are guest blogging with the intent to build links, and those blog posts are done large-scale with very little quality built into them, Google may take action against the links in those articles or guest blog posts.
You can do guest blog posts but if you are doing it with the intent to gain keyword-rich anchor text, then be warned.
Again, this should also come as no surprise. We had a detailed video from Google’s Matt Cutts on why advertorials with links need to be nofollwed. We even had major e-commerce sites get penalized for using this technique to build links.
Optimized Anchor Text In Press Releases
This is one of the big changes that may have not been so clear for many webmasters. Google said, “links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites,” is an example of an unnatural link that violate their guidelines. The key are the examples given and the phrase “distributed on other sites.” If you are publishing a press release or an article on your site and distribute it through a wire or through an article site, you must make sure to nofollow the links if those links are “optimized anchor text.”
The example Google gives is:
NOTE: See our follow-up story, Google: Links In Press Releases Should Use Nofollow Like Paid Links
Google Removed Some Examples Of Link Schemes
Why did Google specifically remove those examples of link schemes? It is unclear and we hope to clarify. I do think that those examples are still covered in the overall theme of the link schemes document. In fact, I think the other examples, for the most part, cover the examples removed.
A hat tip to Menaseh for sending this tip my way.