Google to start penalizing sites that use link widgets?

Rob Whisonant

May 24, 2016
Looks like Google is going to be cracking the whip on sites that use link widgets. Google is branding them as linking schemes.

Google announced early this morning that they are reminding webmasters to not try to use widget links as a link building strategy. Google said "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."

They actually did make a stink about widget links in February 2015, so it is a reminder. But this type of warning being posted on the Google Webmaster Blog this morning will likely result in Webmasters receiving notifications of manual actions in the Google Search Console, if they are using widget links in this manner.

Google explained that although "widgets can help website owners enrich the experience of their site and engage users" that there are "some widgets add links to a site that a webmaster did not editorially place and contain anchor text that the webmaster does not control." I assume Google is seeing more and more of this and is now clearly saying "they're considered a violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines."

Google even posted these examples of widgets that violate the guidelines:

Google said these widget links should contain a rel="nofollow" attribute on the widget links or Google said "remove the links entirely." If you are a webmaster that embeds these widgets, you should remove the widgets if they have these links or add the "add a rel="nofollow" attribute on the widget links or remove the links entirely," as well.

If not, it seems like you may be getting a manual action for link schemes soon. I expect to see them within a week or so but we will see.
Source: [URLnf=""]seroundtable[/URLnf]

What are your thoughts on this?


Well-known member
Mar 15, 2015
Nothing shocking there. They have put this message out before. The big difference this time in their message is that it may not only be the site being linked to that gets penalized, but also any site that is using a plugin with those kind of links might also get punished.

If you are using plugins on your sites that have an attribution link, other than one in the Wordpress Dashboard, I would ditch it.
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