/webmasters/community?hl=en
/webmasters/community?hl=en
6/29/12
Original Poster
rickweiss

What constitutes a "link to pass PageRank" debate

I am in the midst of a debate between bloggers and small business owners who get reviewed by these bloggers.

Bloggers have apparently taken the issue of never having a dofollow on any link that is tied to something you are compensated for so seriously that they are putting nofollow on all links in their posts. In other words, the legitimate link to the products page is getting a nofollow.

This has angered the business owners, as they see these as legitimate links that would help their own SEO. 

Personally I don't think these links fit into the category of "link to pass page rank" that is dinged, am I right, or are the bloggers right?

Another way of asking this: is it a paid link when someone gets paid to review a product (or gets the product), and in the review does a dofollow link to that product?

Rick
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All Replies (72)
OICWeb
6/29/12
OICWeb
>Another way of asking this: is it a paid link when someone gets paid to review a product (or gets the product), and in the review does a dofollow link to that product?

Yup. That would be a definition of a paid/unnatural link.
Bens Mom
6/30/12
Bens Mom
So just for clarification here, I want to be sure I understand this issue and I would love for a GOOGLE EMPLOYEE to weigh in on this for definitive closure on the subject. 

If I am a small business owner, and a blogger contacts me and requests a free product to blog about because they really love our product, is Google's official position on this that those links should be rel=nofollow??

The Webmaster Guidelines are NOT clear on this subject. The scenario above is just not addressed there, unless I am mistaken, in which case PLEASE set me straight and point me toward the appropriate page.
JohnMu
6/30/12
JohnMu
Hi Rick

If those links are there because of money (or something equivalent) changing hands, then we would consider them to be paid links, and with regards to our webmaster guidelines, we'd recommend adding a rel=nofollow to the link. For more information on this topic, I'd recommend checking out our Help Center: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66736http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=96569 as well as Matt's blog post on the subject of paid posts: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/sponsored-conversations/

Hope it helps!
John
Bens Mom
6/30/12
Bens Mom
Thanks for the clarification John. Tons of bloggers ask us for free product ALL THE TIME. We get those emails non-stop. We won't be sending out any more freebies to bloggers as a result of this.
JohnMu
6/30/12
JohnMu
I'd take a step back and think about why you're sending out these freebies. If the one and only reason that you're doing this is to affect your site's performance in search results, then that would have been a bit problematic from our point of view. 

On the other hand, if you're also doing that to get some publicity for your products and your brand, or if you're doing that to drive traffic to your website, then requesting that the bloggers use a rel=nofollow when you send out your freebies won't change that: your products & services will still be talked about, users will still have the ability to click through to your website. There are many reasons why you might want to have bloggers write about you & your products, and many of those reasons can still be valid even with a rel=nofollow on the links to your website. 

Cheers
John
fathom
6/30/12
fathom
YOU'RE JOKING!
 
Let me try to explain what a little "Good Will" does for you.
 
Ever use Analytics for data mining?
 
Everr use YouTube for sharing or watching videos?
 
Everr use Google for searching?
 
What would you do if Google took your approach on good will?
 
The value of offering free is good will and that grows your reputation... and it's your reputation that attracts links naturally without any shady reasons to be devalued by Google.
 
I'm not saying it will create links... but wikipedia is absolutely free... and makes $15 million in donations but keeping it free.
 
Good will is worth far more than you give it credit for.

On Saturday, June 30, 2012 4:29:37 PM UTC-3, Bens Mom wrote:
Thanks for the clarification John. Tons of bloggers ask us for free product ALL THE TIME. We get those emails non-stop. We won't be sending out any more freebies to bloggers as a result of this.
Bens Mom
7/1/12
Bens Mom
Very altruistic, JohnMu. I've been doing this for 6 years now - we have sent out THOUSANDS of dollars worth of free product. Likely tens of thousands over the entire 6 years. All to bloggers who requested it for purposes of a review.

Want to know how much return we've gotten from those reviews? Virtually none. That is not an exaggeration. Readership for most of these blogs has become a crowd of one-time freebie seekers. Where are all those customers who are supposed to remember us later, because of the 'brand awareness' built up by the reviews/giveaways we've done??

Customers who purchase through our site are asked how they found us. Again, almost NONE of them tell us it was thru one of those bloggers. Sorry, I'm more than a bit disillusioned with the whole practice and it sure as heck ain't because I didn't give it enough time to take effect. 

Add Analytics data to that, by the way, for HUNDREDS of reviews. They drive almost NO traffic. Usually a handful of visitors, like maybe a few dozen.

And finally, I am incorrect in the belief that having too many rel=nofollow links can actually hurt a site? Because that is the impression I'm under.
Bens Mom
7/1/12
Bens Mom
*am I
StevieD_Web
7/1/12
StevieD_Web
> I am incorrect in the belief that having too many rel=nofollow links can actually hurt a site? Because that is the impression I'm under. 

No,
Bens Mom
7/1/12
Bens Mom
No, too many rel=nofollows DO NOT hurt a site, 

OR

No, too many rel=nofollows DO hurt a site?
61 MORE
Panda_Effects
7/21/12
Panda_Effects
I was wondering why anyone would use NOINDEX, FOLLOW and found the answer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjRGkc__FwQ 
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