Google has issued a set of best practices for publishers who review products they get for free from companies. If you’re reviewing a product that was gifted to you, Google says that information should be disclosed.
Google is wise to the fact that some companies will send publishers free products in exchange for a mention or link back to their website. In order to ensure both the publisher and the company supplying the product are complaint with Google Webmaster Guidelines, the company recommends the following best practices.
- Nofollow Tag on Links: When linking back to the company supplying the product, use the nofollow tag. In addition, companies should remind publishers to use the nofollow tag.
- Disclosure: Receiving a free product for review is an example of sponsored content, which needs to be disclosed to readers. Google recommends placing the disclosure right at the top of the article.
- Have a Purpose: Google recommends creating “compelling, unique content”, which sounds like a way of saying to think twice about publishing a review if it doesn’t add value to readers.
Don’t pass link juice to companies supplying free products, disclose your relationship with them, and make sure the review is unique enough to be valuable to people. Follow those best practices and you can continue to review free products while being in compliance with Google Webmaster Guidelines.
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