Okay, so I’m not an SEO genius…. It’s all a little too left-brain for me. Gimme something creative to do like create a content strategy, write a post about something interesting, or design a magazine and I’m your gal but SEO, pfft!
That said, SEO is a necessary part of a good content marketing strategy. So, if you’re a right-brained creative writer like me, how do you navigate Google’s search engine algorithms so your website ranks well?
I’ve written on this topic before, but the landscape has changed a lot in the past year, so I thought it was worth reviewing.
One of the biggest changes that could potentially effect your blog is Google’s policy on back-linking for cash. You can read Google’s policy on link schemes here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66356?hl=en&rd=1.
Many blogs have made a mint from placing links in blog posts in exchange for money. However, if you don’t make these links “nofollow,” Google can penalize you.
Firstly, let’s look at what “dofollow” or “nofollow” means.
“dofollow” means—The link is relevant to your site, adds value and is worth indexing in relation to your site. You would typically make a link “do follow” if it is a link back to a relevant blog post you’re commenting on or a site you’re referring to in the context of a blog post or answer to a question in your comments section.
“nofollow” means – The link is not relevant to your site, doesn’t add value and is not worth indexing in relation to your site. Basically, you’d make ads “nofollow” links on your site because, even though they may be relevant (and you’d hope you’re only featuring relevant ads for your audience), they are paid for. And, as Fruition points out in this article here: http://fruition.net/seo/high-profile-google-take-down-google-penalizes-rap-genius/, making paid links “dofollow” is a big “no, no”.
A couple of simple rules to follow
1. Never accept money or services in exchange for placing a “dofollow” backlink to another website on your site. If someone asks you to make an ad link “dofollow”, run! Run far away!
2. Never try to manipulate a backlink to YOUR site on another website. That is, don’t ask someone to back link to your site or give them the links to place in their blog posts.
But what about ads?
Ads are okay, but you must make them “nofollow” links. However, I’d discourage the practice of placing covert ad links in a blog post because it is a manipulative tactic and probably won’t sit well with your readers anyway.
What about sponsored blog posts?
With sponsored blog posts, you must declare them as ads and make the links “nofollow”.
But doesn’t that defeat the purpose of ads?
Well, no, because if an ad is relevant for your audience, a certain percentage of people will always click through and check it out. To be honest though, placing ads on websites as a main strategy is probably not the best strategy. If you are focused on producing quality content, on reaching your niche by providing value and contributing relevant content within your influencer circle, then you don’t need to rely on well-positioned ads. Google rewards content that is rich and has authority, but not manipulation–Another terrific reason to dive into authentic content marketing in 2014.
How to manually place a “nofollow” rel tag in your link.
I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel and I like to honour the quality content others produce, so here’s a link to an awesome, simple article about how to do this and why: http://www.feedthebot.com/paidlinks.html.
Over to you. Are you still confused over backlinking? Do you have paid backlinks on your website? Leave a comment below.