Three key points about Google’s new blogger guidelines

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Matt Vowles
Matt Vowles

This is an article by Matt Vowles

Let’s face it, brands and agencies sending influential bloggers ‘free gifts’ in return for some editorial content here, and a product link there, is nothing new.

But search giant Google wants the distinction between ‘organic’ and ‘paid’ content to remain clear and so has recently updated its Blogger Guidelines.

In summary, the blogger either has to flag up that the content is ‘sponsored’ or they have to remove the SEO value of their post by using the ‘nofollow’ tag. The strong implication is that failure to comply will result in lower search rankings for the brands behind these promotions.

At Brass, we know the importance of maintaining a strong relationship between brands and bloggers, so have come up with all the information you’ll need to know about hitting your SEO targets, while keeping in step with the new rules.

So what does this mean for brands and agencies?

Engagement with bloggers and influencers will remain a great way to build traffic, raise brand recognition and achieve valuable coverage for your products and services.

However, if you are hoping to boost your search rankings through blogger links, then you might have to rethink your strategy.

The guidelines now prohibit ‘buying or selling links that pass PageRank’. This will include exchanging money, goods or services or sending those ‘free’ products in exchange for links.

Chasing links by paying bloggers will undoubtedly put you on Google’s naughty list and consequently could have a serious impact on your search ranking.

Following these new guidelines means that if you are planning to approach a blogger with an offer to review your brand or products, then you will need to be sure the post is visibly flagged up as sponsored or any links are ‘nofollowed’ before being published. The links will still be there, but no authority will flow through to authenticate the SEO value.

3 key points for bloggers engaging with brands:

  1. State in the copy that the post is sponsored
  2. Or ‘nofollow’ any link to the brand’s site
  3. Or make sure that your content is unique and not copied from the publicity material

All is not lost…

These changes are undoubtedly going to create challenges for those building SEO through blogger engagement, but there are still ways round it.

Here at Brass, we create genuinely compelling content on behalf of our brands and, in turn, influencers and bloggers feel more inclined to engage with our products and services. This allows them to generate authentic links that will continue to boost SEO to hit those targets.

All is not lost and continuing to work with bloggers and influencers will remain an integral part in many agencies’ strategies. As long as you remember the three key points and continue to produce fresh and interesting content, you will easily overcome this ‘minor roadblock’ that Google has placed in front of our online traffic.

So…is that all you’ve got Google?

Matt Vowles is a PR & Social Media Executive at Brass Agency