In response to these illicit practices, Google released quality guidelines. In theory, abiding by these guidelines can prevent your website from getting penalized—that is, get removed from the search index or otherwise be affected by manual or algorithmic spam action.
These quality guidelines laid down the law on everything from design to content to technical facets of a website, but in this article, we focus on one thing: Google’s crackdown on link schemes. A link is considered a part of a link scheme if it is intended to manipulate PageRank or search results ranking. Google essentially banned the following practices:
In July 2013, Google again quietly updated its ‘link schemes’ guidelines to add ‘unnatural inks’ to the list of link types that supposedly violate its guidelines. Webmasters are no longer allowed to create unnatural links not editorially vouched for, such as:
Many internet marketers were surprised by Google’s penalty on guest posts. The search engine may now take action if you post a guest blog in a low-quality network with the sole intention of gaining a link into your website. It’s no longer ‘cool’ to use keyword-rich anchor texts in your author box, so be warned.
Another surprise was Google’s hatred of advertorials, which from now on can no longer contain ‘follow’ links. Even major e-commerce websites got slapped for using advertorials to gain incoming links.
And of course, there’s a whole new confusion about press releases. According to Google, links containing optimized anchor texts in press releases that are distributed on other websites violate their guidelines. If you intend to publish a press release on your site and then share it through a press release site or newswire, make sure that the your links are nofollow.