Google Enforce Widget Link Guidelines
Google’s John Mueller in a video hangout has once again warned Webmaster about using ‘follow’ anchor rich Widget Links that Pass PageRank such as the two examples above.
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.
Webmasters will now receive notifications of manual actions in Google Webmaster Search Console for using anchor rich widget links that do not carry a rel=’nofollow’ attribute.
Google did however mention that not all widgets are bad, only those that the Webmaster does not control that pass PageRank with rich anchor text (such as the example images above)
Widgets can help website owners enrich the experience of their site and engage users… some widgets add links to a site that a Webmaster did not editorially place and contain anchor text that the Webmaster does not control… they’re considered a violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Google has suggested that Webmasters rather remove the widgets if they are unable to add a rel=’nofollow’ attribute. Or alternatively you will receive manual action for link schemes.
The Widget Links warning could be a build-up to Penguin 4.0 Update which is way over due and was last up-dated end of 2014. So, Webmasters can expect illicit widget link building to be added to Penguin 4.0 update.
Google Webspam Team Manual Action For Unnatural Widget Links
As mentioned above, Google’s Webspam Team will take manual action against rich anchor text Widget links that pass PageRank, which are now classed as Unnatural Links.
When this happens you will receive notification in Search Console. The only way to revoke the penalty is to submit a reconsideration request. But before submitting reconsideration you first need to remove the unnatural Widget links and ALL other unnatural links.
Now for the interesting part!
Prior to Manual Action from Google’s Webspam Team your site was credited for those unnatural Widget links (if they pointed to your site) now all credit is gone. In other words, your site will not restore its rankings to the way it was prior to the penalty (Google has now stripped your site of the credit it originally received for those widget backlinks, and the site now ranks where it should)
Feel free to contact me via the contact form if you have succumb to the dreaded unnatural link penalty. We will revoke the penalty for you and guide you through the correct process of not only restoring your rankings, but increasing them (white-hat style)