It wasn’t all that long ago that Matt Cutts, the head of Search spam at Google, stated his recommendation that you should nofollow links in widgets since the widget space has had an abundance of link spam abuse. In fact, it was a mere five months ago.
But, in that short of time, something has changed a little since then. A small, yet significant update to the Google Webmaster Guidelines link schemes page has been made. In the update, the page now specifies the exact type of links that will be allowed within widgets. This is a change from before when it stated that it could be any link.
Previously the guideline read:
Links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites.
Today the guideline reads:
Keyword-rich, hidden or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites.
This may be a small change to their stance on putting links in widgets, but it’s a positive step. At least now they’re being specific to spammy keyword packed, hidden or low-quality links. So now it’s ok to put a link in your widgets, so long as everything about it is cool.