Can Google Penalize for Useful Links?
Posted: April 17, 2013 by Maja Johnson
In a recent video response by Matt Cutts for Greg M, Vancouver, BC, Greg asked if Google was able to tell the difference between paid links and helpful links.
Greg M, Vancouver, BC
On our travel site, we recommend and link out to hotels and B&B's in our niche. Our readers find it useful. They're not paid links, so we don't add the nofollow attribute. What stops Google from suspecting these are paid links and penalizing us?
Websites with useful links such as the one suggested above by Greg M need to be aware but not concerned about Google's upcoming Penguin 2.0. The "nofollow" tag is not necessary because they are not paid links. While it is not OK to sell links, it is OK to sell them by adding a "nofollow" tag.
Matt Cutts, Google's Head of Webspam Department, explains that linking to high quality pages is always OK. It is basically how the entire web works. People link to pages they like and enjoy them. If Google mistakenly thinks a few high quality links are paid links, there would be certain issues with the algorithmic rankings on Google's part. It is not in Google's best interest to penalize good websites.
If you happen to be the 1% when Google makes a mistake, appeal it and notify Google. They will do everything in their power to rectify their wrong doings while you can continue working on and improving your website.