Linking policy

Keeping Google happy

In recent years, Google has clamped down on any behaviour that it sees as ‘manipulating’ its search results, and publishes ‘Webmaster Guidelines’ that it expects sites such as ours to adhere to.

These guidelines pay particular attention to outgoing links that are not “editorially placed” – in effect, any links for which some form of payment or reward has been received. So how does this impact on a site like the Fashion & Style Directory, which is funded by advertising and is built around driving traffic to the sites that we feature?

Basically, to prevent a breach of its guidelines, Google strongly recommends that sites like ours flag any links that can be considered as ‘paid for’, using an attribute called ‘nofollow’ on our pages.

Doing this makes no difference to a real person browsing and using the site, but by being upfront and disclosing this to Google, it prevents our site – and potentially the sites that we link to – being penalised.

To stay on the right side of Google, our policy is therefore to label all links to external sites as nofollow.

What this means for the businesses we work with

One downside, as some would see it, is that nofollow links prevent the transfer of any Google PageRank from our site to the sites that we link to.

On the other hand, any site that Google feels is breaching its paid-link guidelines can have its ability to pass PageRank immediately removed, and its status in search results downgraded – meaning that it would have been less damaging to use nofollow links in the first place.

Happily, search engine optimisation (or SEO) these days is about much more than just the status of outgoing links – it’s also about things like quality content, brand exposure, and engagement on social media. For more on this subject, we recommend reading this excellent blog post from respected marketing company Moz on the “hidden power” of nofollow links.

The benefits our site offers

Here at the Fashion & Style Directory, we work hard to make our site and its content perform as well as it possibly can, for our readers, our advertisers, and search engines. We deliver value to our advertisers by:

  • Publishing useful, original, quality articles and blogs, which our readers enjoy and find useful, and that Google considers worth placing high-up in its search results
  • Effectively showcasing the businesses that we feature on the site, through the use of good content, lovely images, and positive mentions of your brand
  • Driving traffic to your site via our links – because the reader’s interest is piqued, and they want to click through and find out more about your business
  • Being active on Twitter and Facebook at @FSDFashionTips, sharing links to our website content, mentioning the businesses that we work with, and generally building an online community that is interested in what we (and you) do.

In short, by publishing good stuff and being active online, we generate more traffic to and interest in our site, which in turn generates more traffic and interest for you.

We hope that sets out our position on linking, but if you still have any questions about featuring on our site, please just drop us a line.