Disclosing Relationships in Links
Webmasters all over the internet understand that paid links can hurt their site. In their YouTube video, “How should I link to a site that I have a personal relationship with?”
Google Webmaster Central explains how to disclose any personal relationships you have with webmasters of the websites you link to on your site so that you avoid the detrimental effects of paid links.
This video offers the following solutions:
1. Offer full disclosure: Write a description of the link that informs your readers that this is an editorial link. This is different from a paid (or sponsored) link in that it shows the editor of the site decided to include it. You can write out that it was an editorial decision (see below) or just include a brief comment to that effect.
2. Talk about the reason why you added the link: Discuss the benefits of the site, the things you like about the site, and the reason you think your readers will benefit by clicking on it. Letting your readers know why you value the content presented in the link is not only a method to avoiding it appearing like a paid link, but also helps point your users in the right direction when viewing it. You help them understand what to look for when they go and enhance their experience.
3. Disclose your relationship: If this really is a friend’s link, or someone you know, or even just someone you admire, disclose that information in the description for the link. Let everyone know the relationship you have (or don’t have) with the site owner. Should you choose to offer a description of the site or a discussion of your relationship with the other site owner, keep in mind that you only need to write a few sentences. When this is done, there is no need for concern since it is clear to all visitors, friends and competitors alike, the reason why you decided to include the link and that it is not a paid link.
It does not take much time to complete, it helps your readers, and is an overall safe link building strategy for disclosure.