Should One NoFollow the links in Widgets and Infographics?

Google’s Head of Search Spam, Matt Cutts, has yet again stirred the online community with a new Webmaster Help Video where he is practically advising widget makers and those who use widgets on their own sites to put a “nofollow”.

For many webmasters, there is nothing new to this advice or recommendation. Matt Cutts had made a video on the same topic back in 2008 where back then it did not make so much impact because the links still worked and counted.

It could be different this time because of the fact that Google is bent on going after more and more links in its noble desire of cleaning the World Wide Web with spammy sites. So, this time, unlike in 2008, webmasters should be more careful with widgets.

In the same video, Matt made quite clear his distaste for infographics and made clear that Google will devalue those links as well. He took on a question to discuss this:

The question posted is:

“What should we do with embeddable codes in things like widgets and infographics? Should we include the rel=”nofollow” by default? Advert the user that the code includes a link and give him the option of not including it?”

Matt’s answer to the question used the premise that he had seen too many people who tried and are still trying to abuse both widgets and infographics. Given that, Matt advised against relying on widgets and infographics as the main way to gather links. Putting a “nofollow” on widgets is also recommended because he said most people don’t actually realize what goes with a segment of a code they copy and pasted. In essence, the lack of knowledge in seeing the links embedded in the widget is usually the case.

In effect, Matt advises that if you are putting out widgets or infographics, a “nofollow” should be included in the embeddable code.

While the value of the widgets and infographics can be a variety of things, such as branding or letting people know that your site or service exists, Matt Cutts explained that you wouldn’t expect a link from a widget to carry weight equally as an editorial link freely given because someone is recommending something and talking about it in a blog post.

While Matt Cutt’s advice is sweeping on all widgets and infographics, other webmasters argue that there are some infographics that deserve “follow” links because they are so useful and full of great information. And these will have to suffer because of spammers that have abused the potential of infographics.

And because Google sets the rules, everyone else has to play by the new rules.

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