UPDATE: Google now wants you to use the “report spam” form to snitch on any site that you feel might be selling links!
Ok, so we know that Google frowns on paid links. We know that they gave us “nofollow” for one reason, then used it as a backdoor to weed out paid links. Fair enough, it’s their search engine, they can make the rules.
Now, Matt Cutts is suggesting that webmasters disclose all of their paid links. Yep, he wants you to help Google find the links they should discount.
The other best practice Iâ€™d advise is to provide human readable disclosure that a link/review/article is paid. You could put a badge on your site to disclose that some links, posts, or reviews are paid, but including the disclosure on a per-post level would better. Even something as simple as â€œThis is a paid reviewâ€ fulfills the human-readable aspect of disclosing a paid article.
I don’t like to impose on others, my thoughts on disclosure (I personally disclose any relationships in our disclosure policy), but I think Google is going too far with this “best practice”.
What business does Google have in dictating the disclosure of any business relationships on others?