OK Google, Please Nofollow Your Sponsored Links, Thanks

OK Google, Please Nofollow Your Sponsored Links, Thanks

In order to improve the quality of the web and most importantly, lead by example, Google should:

  • Add rel=”sponsored” or nofollow to its past and current sponsored links through webmaster outreach
  • Create a company-wide policy for the use of rel=”sponsored”
  • Educate staff and communicate across all its departments with particular care to include its sales and business development teams
  • Monitor and ensure the ongoing adoption and future use of rel=”sponsored” and rel=”nofollow” where appropriate

A simple query such as this one reveals numerous instances of Google sponsoring various entities for both commercial and non-commercial context. And while we don’t question Google’s best intentions here, there have been instances where Google’s business development team sponsored events which resulted in “do follow” links.

Here’s a sample of Google’s sponsored links found using the edu variant of the above query:

  1. https://sloanreview.mit.edu/sponsors-content/why-a-data-and-analytics-strategy-today-gives-marketers-an-advantage-tomorrow/
  2. https://stemcenter.utexas.edu/sponsors-and-funders
  3. https://phet.colorado.edu/en/about/sponsors
  4. https://conference.mcn.edu/2018/sponsors.cfm
  5. https://law.yale.edu/isp/about/sponsors
  6. https://dpo.si.edu/sponsors
  7. http://dbp.tuck.dartmouth.edu/sponsorship/current-sponsors
  8. http://eurosys16.doc.ic.ac.uk/
  9. https://bocoup.com/blog/announcing-new-game-conference
  10. https://2019.linux.conf.au/sponsors/
  11. https://lca2019.linux.org.au/sponsors/
  12. https://zeus.ugent.be/events/09-10/tronbot-coding-marathon/
  13. https://www.fluxible.ca/fluxible-2018/sponsors/
  14. http://www.railsgirls.com/munich2015.html
  15. http://2010.jsconf.us/sponsors.html
  16. https://2010.djangocon.us/sponsors/

As somebody who’s recently been put through a nightmare and successfully cleaned up my own sponsored links of the past, I expect Google to do the same.

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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