Receiving products for review has always been a bit of a grey area in terms of what Google (and other search engines) expected from bloggers, so it was great to see that Google published a post last week on their Webmaster blog about what bloggers should be doing.
As they say in the post, bloggers are sent items to review or give away by companies as a form of marketing, and so the links in the post related to that product are not going to be organic – they have been included because the blogger has been given something. Because the links are not organic, they should be marked as nofollow – if you need a refresher about what a nofollow link is, you can find that here.
There are three things that Google wants you to remember when posting a review with a product that has been provided as a gift:
Use the nofollow attribute when linking to the product
Not just when linking to the product either. Whether you link to the company, to their social media accounts, to a shop online that sells the product, or to the companies mobile app, you need to use the nofollow link because the link wouldn’t exist if you hadn’t been given the product or service. The people who are giving you the item to review should also be reminding bloggers to use nofollow links.
Add a disclosure to show that you were given the product
We’ve always said it, but now Google agrees – readers want to know whether you were given something to review. Whether you are required by the laws in your country to disclose or not, Google wants you to do this, and preferably at the top of the post – this way, a reader can decide whether they trust your opinion on the topic to carry on reading.
Create unique content.
Sounds a bit obvious, but Google loves unique content and can penalise sites that copy others. Creating compelling, unique content also means that readers are driven to your site which also can help your sites reputation
You can read the full post here, but if you’re unsure of anything, ask away in the comments, because you’re probably not the only one wondering about something!