Thursday morning, Google issued a stern warning against the use of keyword anchor text in widget links. The announcement serves as a reminder to marketers far and wide that using tactics which violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines will ultimately result in penalties and lower search rankings.
Google has long maintained that it does not tolerate links that try to manipulate a site’s PageRank. Any link that was not editorially added by the site’s webmaster, and over which the webmaster has no control, fits this mold. Unfortunately, many web developers currently sneak these links into the HTML of their widgets in the hopes of improving their site’s search rankings.
Will This Announcement Affect Your Apartment’s SEO?
Google primarily aimed its warning against poor link-building practices at those who develop widgets, rather than those who use them. However, it did make a point to mention sites that use widgets should take action against embedded links.
“We would like to remind webmasters who use widgets on their sites to check those widgets for any unnatural links. Add a rel=”nofollow” attribute on those unnatural links or remove the links entirely from the widget.”
As a rule, Google not only penalizes sites that receive unnatural links, but also those that distribute them.
How to Tell if Your Site Has Bad Widget Links
It’s not uncommon for multifamily websites to have widgets on several pages. And if you find one on your site, don’t be too alarmed. Not every widget link will result in a penalty.
Google’s Thursday announcement condemned the use of keyword rich anchor text in widgets, not all links in general. If you see a widget that contains a branded link – that is, a link that simply contains the brand name of the widget developer – it’s probably not a major source for concern (though we recommend adding a no-follow attribute for good measure). What you want to look out for are links that contain certain keywords, such as “rent calculator.”
If you’re unsure how to identify the anchor text of a link, contact your property’s webmaster. And for any other questions related to apartment SEO, don’t be afraid to give us a call!