In a Google Webmaster Blog post this morning, Google issued a stern warning that they are reminding webmasters that links within widget can go against their webmaster guidelines.
Googlers, Agnieszka Łata, Trust & Safety Search Team and Eric Kuan, Webmaster Relations Specialist wrote “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.” Google shared that while many widgets can enhance your web site experience, “some widgets add links to a site that a webmaster did not editorially place and contain anchor text that the webmaster does not control.” Google explained “because these links are not naturally placed, they’re considered a violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines.”
Google is reminding widget makers that they should remove the links from their widgets, and instead ad the rel=”nofollow” attribute to the links. If this doesn’t happen, Google said that the “webspam team may take manual actions on unnatural links.” If this warning isn’t heeded and users get a manual action for this, Google said you need to remove the links or ad the rel=”nofollow” before submitting a reconsideration request.
Something else to take note of – Those that embed these widgets on their site should “ad a rel=”nofollow” attribute on those unnatural links or remove the links entirely from the widget,” said Google later on in the blog post.