Update: Why Widget Bucks got banned

Update: According to Andy it seems they messed up a redirect which seems like a good enough reason for them to lose their pages to me.

Shoemoney and his readers are speculating about why Widget Bucks got banned from Google so lets take a look at what went wrong.

First of all it has nothing to do with the fact they link back to their site from the widget. Almost every widget in the world links back to the parent site and nobody else is getting banned. So what if the site says people can’t remove links, people are entitled to ask for a link when their content is used on a third party website. You don’t see Google banning photographers who ask for links as a credit.

If we look at the pages still indexed it seems that some Flash files are still present so the whole site hasn’t been hit (yet).

Luckily Yahoo gives us the answer right away, all the links to Widget Bucks have the users referrer id in them so there are thousands and thousands of pages with exactly the same content being indexed.

Sometimes Google can figure this out but when the site has so many incoming links combined with a non-standard affiliate link structure it was just too hard.

All Widget Bucks needs to do is set a cookie when somebody clicks on a referrer link and then 301 redirect the user to the main widgetbucks.com homepage and they will be back in Google within a few weeks.

By Patrick Altoft. at 3:43PM on Thursday, 25 Oct 2007

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.


  • Justin

    Thanks for this diagnosis. I’m about to release a widget of my own and could have easily got caught in this trap!

  • http://bryanphelps.com Bryan

    Awesome find man. Must be a pretty good SEO!

  • http://clickfornick.com Nick

    tricky! but a really great way to quickly get a good pagerank, but google knows all… dont mess with google! Click for Nick… Why Not?

  • http://andybeard.eu/ Andy Beard

    They also have links without affiliate links from the likes of Techcrunch.

    All the affiliate links are not the problem, the real problem is that redirect for Google, Yahoo and MSN seem to be fine with it.

  • http://mediaviper.com Clint Dixon

    Actually it turns out Widget Bucks has an infinite loop in their index page.

    as you can see here the code has an ‘ where the ” belongs.

    Sites not banned by Google either do a absoulte URL search and you’ll find two pages in the index.

  • http://widgetbucksreview.com widget bucks

    I am sure they will be at the top of the list again very soon. It was just an over site on their part. The serps take time.

  • http://www.justwantaquote.com justwantaquote

    very simple…

    widgetbucks is googles competition..and they decided to ban them.

    widget bucks doenst even show up for the term “widget bucks”