Google was busy earlier this week, announcing penalties for sites with “unnatural outbound links” as well as sites with deceptive download buttons.
Neither penalty should come as a surprise to webmasters. Webmasters with suspicious outbound links received notices from Google, saying the search engine would discount any of the distrusted links in its algorithm. A follow-up from Google concluded the penalties were in relation to free product reviews. Specifically, bloggers exchanging backlinks in return for free products, without disclosing that the link was provided in return for the free item (or without adding a nofollow tag to the link).