November 7, 2018

Question about Embedded widgets and SEO

I am looking to create a widget that my users can embed in their websites. The content of the widget will come from my servers (like embedding a youtube video). But I want the widget to link back to my site.

Will Google consider this a backlink or an internal site link? I would love to build it in a way that it gives me some SEO juice. Any advice?


  1. 2

    Officially, this is discouraged and as mentioned by another comment, Matt Cutts has said that these links should have a nofollow because they are not editorially placed.

    Unofficially, many sites use or have used this technique to rank for important keywords and have not incurred penalties. For example:

    Both have since stopped doing this, but also have not been penalized for what they have done in the past.

    I actually did this for the company I founded, TINT, and it's what got us our initial traction (and eventually to 5M in ARR over the course of 6 years). We eventually switched to focus on high quality content and stopped using free widgets to power our growth, but if you are just starting out and do not have very much to lose from the small chance of penalty, I would advise you to try it and see.

  2. 2

    These kind of links are almost useless for SEO purpose and sometime can also trigger a penalty.

    If you want to give a boost to your rankings you need editorial, high quality links.

    1. 1

      Why would there be a penalty? It would be a valid link from the widget back to the full version of the content.

        1. 1

          Thanks, good info

        2. 1

          What is the difference between adding a link in a Widget "Powered by x" that is visible to users and Web Designers adding a link at the footer of every web page saying "Web design and development by y"?

          1. 2

            There is no difference, in fact sitewide footer links can be penalized too:

            http://www.rewindseo.com/sitewide-links-case-studies/

            1. 1

              It seems like if the link is visible, and on topic, then it should be ok. In my example, rather than making a link "Powered by Blind Valet", it would be better to have a contextual link that takes them from their widget to their full league rankings on my site, for example. Then the link is really serving a purpose and isn't spammy.

  3. 2

    One thing tho, quantity doesn't always mean quality, if you will get a lot of links from "random" sites that are not related to your niche, the results that you expect might take an unexpected turn :)

    1. 1

      No, this will absolutely be related sites. The use case is a poker club will insert a widget for their league standings, tournament results, or tournament clock into their club's website.

      1. 2

        Ok! Good luck with your project :)

  4. 2

    If the widgets use iFrame like Youtube videos then this will not be detected as Google Bots (as well as others) are unable to render the content of iFrames. However if they are embedded via html and then use JS to update the DOM then you can add a link to say "powered by x" with a link back and this would be considered a backlink to your site.

    E.g. <div id="uniqueIdentifier"><p>Powered by x</p></div> then in the JS update div id="uniqueIdentifier" to the relevant widget so to normal users they notice no difference.

    The only downside I can think of with this approach is some users may prefer a White label solution so it appears as though it is all part of their website without 3rd party widgets.

    1. 2

      I can verify that the HTML + JS approach gives me SEO juice.

    2. 1

      Thanks, exactly what I was looking for.