WordPress Theme Sponsors Under SEO Attack by Google

Barry Schwartz of SERoundTable.com, a blog all about Search Engines, posted this morning that WordPress theme sponsors may be under attack from Google. Those links you see, either “Theme sponsored by…” or “Designed by…” may be getting a downgraded authority because of those links.

I know that for a fact, some sites like StudioPress or ElegantThemes or even WooThemes, have very strong rankings because of those links. But not all of their link strength comes from those footer links. Any major premium WordPress theme brand generally gains new links fairly naturally.

Given this assault by Google on these footer links in WordPress themes, it may both lower the PageRank for theme sites and likely lower their authority in the search results — which is usually connected to the PageRank of a page.

I’m actually really glad that Google is taking this position and being more aggressive with handling these kinds of links. I can’t say for certain how many of those footer links are legit or spammy, but I often do find spammy links in those footers. Especially when they’re for hotels or viagra or financial websites. Those links have absolutely no relevancy for the main site and should certainly be discounted.

It’s hard to draw a line at what gets discounted and what doesn’t, as a link to say, StudioPress, may not be very relevant to the main site. If the site is about oranges and other fruit, a link to a WordPress theme company isn’t very relevant.

Google can certainly make their index better by fine-tuning the algorithm changes they made, but they really do need to do a great job at it. There is plenty of link spam out there, but there is also a lot of great and authority-worthy links.

If you were hit with a Google penalty or you have some thoughts on the matter, we’d love to hear about them in the comments.


  1. By on

    So good to hear someone of like mind! I posted the following response to an article. I’ve posted the link below. You may want to add some insights to the peeved who are sitting on the wrong side of the fence through a lack of understanding of exactly what it is Google does :-) Perhaps a little tongue in cheek

    Man! The perfect case of “if it changes your own plans it has GOTTA BE WRONG!” Grab the link below. SEE THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE LINK BELOW. It’s about Google removing relevancy and even results in search which are given relevance and feature in WordPress themes. This is my view.

    If you create a template and make it available on condition the link back to your site remains intact then it is not free. There are SEO’s out there who work damn hard to build links. Theme developers have many platforms (In fact WordPress is BIG on showcasing themes – you’ll get a mail with each new theme if you’re WP registered if you want the info). Furhermore, as said above (OinkIT) there are many opportunities for developers to promote their work.

    But here’s my point: Google is constantly attacked and praised. It depends on which side of the fence you’re sitting. The one criticism of Google is that her indexing of pages is not accurate. BS. It may not be 100% but it IS getting better and this change is part of the improvement. Why?

    Think logically. If the free and uninterupted flow of information – RELEVANT INFORMATION – is what we expect, why do we complain when Google excludes a link from a Cake Factory website to an Information technology website? It has no relevance and that is what Google is trying to perfect.

    While Googlebot is crawling the Cake factory links and pages it is happy > It arrives at the footer and gets sent off to an IT site. Bang! Just there the RELEVANT FLOW OF INFORMATION IS INTERUPTED by an irrelevant WEB LINK , unrelated to the site it is crawling and in Googlebots eyes, UNRELATED IS UNWORTHY and OUT OF CONTEXT OF THE SITE’S CONTENT = SPAM.

    WordPress users are notorious for visiting blogs and saying things like “Well done, good quality writing.” “Have bookmarked you!” “I find you knowledgeable on this subject. Will definitely visit back.” And they leave their link behind. These comments do not contain any relevance but appeal to the inexperienced sense of being appreciated. They leave the link even if the comment they return is never answered again. That link can be harmful to the relevance of the blog. It’s a SPAM link. No different to that contained within the footer of most themed sites. Now why would you as a blogger or a site owner want that irrelevant link in your footer?

    Well done Google. Those who say search is on the way out should perhaps be saying search is EVOLVING. And for the better too! The future may change the WAY we search, but the hunt for information will still be on long after you, me and possibly even Google herself are being showcased in the ancient archives of Search Technology.


    Reply »

  2. By on

    This is very wise decision by Google, not only big shot premium theme companies, but some other small theme makers are got bunch of back-links because of the footer credentials. When a theme with those links is used on spammy blogs, then it surely will effect the parent theme company.

    Reply »

  3. By Joe on

    Google will fall. We all want to get rid of spam and unfair SEO, but Google is not God. Right now that is a fact they do not agree with. Google is taking down a lot of companies that are legit. Google….God…God…Google…. Not the same.Google will go down.

    Reply »

  4. By Joe T on

    A lot of water of gone under the bridge since the original article with Penguin,EMD,Disavow Tool Google updates. What are your views now relating to the original article?

    Reply »


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