Updated Link Guidelines for Paid Product Reviews

Google recently published a (short but sweet) best practices guide for bloggers who receive free products from companies in exchange for review blog posts. Here are the basics:

  1. Nofollow every link
  2. Disclose the relationship
  3. Create compelling, unique content

This is all very basic information, but why this reminder from Google now? Well, many of us in the industry believe it has to do with two things. The first is that this link building strategy is very scalable and something brands can and will easily take advantage of. Anytime a link scheme plays out to the point it could become a mainstream strategy Google acts.

The second reason for this announcement to bloggers is Google's ability to more easily control bloggers compared to the brands paying them for these reviews (either in products or payments). Google doesn't want to be the bad guy and try to police these brands, but at the same time they want links nofollow so that Brands are spending more money on AdWords for the traffic they need.