Gigaom

We’ve described a number of times at paidContent how publishers large and small are looking for alternative sources of revenue as traditional advertising declines in value, and how some sites — including The Atlantic, BuzzFeed and Gawker — are experimenting with new ad formats such as sponsored content or “native advertising,” as well as affiliate links. On Friday, Google (s goog) engineer Matt Cutts reiterated a warning from the search giant that this kind of content has to be treated properly or Google will penalize the site that hosts it, in some cases severely.

In his post on the official Google blog, entitled “A reminder about selling links that pass PageRank,” the Google staffer notes that the company has repeatedly warned about the dangers of links — including those on advertorial pages — that are designed to pass some of the hosting site’s PageRank (in other words, its…

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