Matt Cutts Recommends NoFollowing Links On Embedded Widgets

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Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, posted a video answer yesterday advising website owners with a recommendation that may help from getting penalized by one of Google’s many spam filters.

Cutts recommends those who embed widgets on their site, or those who distribute widgets, should add rel=”nofollow” on the links in the widget code.

Cutts said the reason for this is because most people who embed widgets on their site are unaware of what else they are embedding on their website outside of the functionality of the widget. For example, if the widget is to embed a poll, it could contain a link back to the poll website without rel=”nofollow” on the link.

Google is also telling widget developers to add a nofollow on the link so the webmaster is not unknowingly passing PageRank back to the widget developer’s site.

Cutts concluded by saying the links within the widgets would not necessarily carry the same weight as a true editorial link. He also referenced several times his previous example of embedding infographics on a website.

Here is the full video from Matt Cutts:

How do you like the video?

Matt Southern
Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing... Read Full Bio
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  • Michael I


    Excellent find, thank you for the update. I am sure there are a lot of people that use 3rd party widgets that are completely unaware of what may be going on behind the scenes.

    Thank you,


  • Matt Southern

    Glad it was useful to you, Michael. Just one more thing to look out for to avoid getting hit by Google penalties!

  • Sonal Saraswat

    Hi ,
    Great Post., you written along with lots of quantitative information about nofollowing links on embedded widgets This is very helpful to those who are unaware of what may be going on their website .

    • Matt Southern

      Glad it was helpful to you, Sonal.

  • Glenn Bearsky

    The last statistical analysis I read indicated that only around 3%-6% of links on the net were no-follow at best. This after YEARS AND YEARS of Google trying to get webmasters to control the flow of link-juice FOR THEM.

    From the get-go, Do/No-Follow has been what’s best termed a ‘Gambit’ by Google that mathematically speaking, has largely failed up to this point. And now they want us to beat the dead horse even more – or risk being beaten ourselves?

    Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt. You’d better do what Google says, FUD. Or else. Again. Some more. I’m starting to feel sorry for those who’s SEO career is a daily grind of jumping through the next set of ever-shrinking hoops to win Google’s affection. Personally, I don’t care anymore – and I’ll link any way, anywhere I want to – and let the chips fall where they may. I can live with that. The rest of you should ask your boss or clients for a raise, cuz your workload just increased, again.

  • kevin pike

    “widget” links are the tip of the ice berg in my opinion.

    What about all the badges and “website designed by ” text links at the bottom of millions of websites?
    Those pass PR too and bet less than 20% of site owners even ask why they are there. #justsayin

  • Chiranjeev

    Once again, Matt Cutts came with a new advise, Adding NoFollow Links On Embedded Widgets is beneficial for both blog owners and widget developers but it will sure less promotion of widgets because there would be no use of sponsored.