Matt Cutts Advises When to nofollow Widgets, Infographics

Matt Cutts

If you’re creating infographics, or other pieces of embeddable code for things such as widgets, counters, and badges, how should you link those things for best SEO practices according to Google? This topic is the latest webmaster help video from Google’s Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts.

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?

This thing got very popular a few years ago, when people were making embeddable things such as badges and counters and including a direct link back to a site, often with very keyword rich anchor text. However, as you can imagine with any great link technique, it soon became pretty spammy with many of those things linking to poker sites or online pharmacies. As Google started negating some of those links, it fell out of common practice.

However, with the resurgence of infographics in the past year or two, embeddable code offered to webmasters to put on their site has become very popular once again. But when it comes to link back to your site, how should you handle this so Google doesn’t penalize the link? Should you go for keyword rich anchor text? Or just simply no follow it, and use it strictly for the traffic a direct click would get you.

“I would not rely on widgets and infographics as your primary source to gather links, and I would recommend putting a nofollow, especially with widgets,” Cutts said

He brings up the fact that a lot of the problem stems from people using things like counters and widgets, but not realizing there was some sort of link back to a site embedded within it. Not all of these types of embeddable code made it obvious that you might be linking to a poker site or pharmacy site, is many of them were hidden quite well, so there is not much of an editorial choice at all by the webmasters who might be using these things on their sites.

“Depending on the scale of stuff you’re doing with infographics you might consider putting a rel=no follow on infographic links as well. The value of those things might be branding, they might be to drive traffic, they might be to sort of let people to know that your site or your service exists but I wouldn’t expect a link from a widget to necessarily carry the same weight as an editorial link freely given where someone is recommending something and talking about it in a blog post.”

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