Influencer Outreach Best Practices: Sponsored Posts and SEO
With influencer and blogger outreach becoming more and more popular each day, it’s important that we review some guidelines to make sure both brands and influencers are doing outreach properly. Something to take into consideration are sponsored posts and SEO.
There has been a lot of talk lately about companies being penalized for advertorials. Back in February, Interflora received some major PageRank penalties from Google for not obeying their webmaster guidelines. Not only that, but the news websites that posted the advertorials on behalf of the company received penalties as well, making their PageRank go down to zero.If you have a PageRank of zero, your website doesn’t show up on Google’s search engine. This is a big deal!
Advertorials and sponsored posts are not considered natural linking. Natural linking is when a blogger (or publication) links to a brand’s site because they like the brand. Unnatural linking is any type of exchange (either paid, or products) in return for a post and a link. This might be considered as link scheming by Google. Link schemes can take a major toll on your brand’s PageRank, and page rank of any publication involved.
Just like you would let your readers know about a sponsored post by disclosing that you’re working with brands, you need to let search engines know of sponsored links. So how should you do this? Matt Cutts explains what you should do about advertorials:
How To Let Google Know About Sponsored Posts
A couple friends of mine, Brent Carnduff (@BrentCarnduff) and Brien Shanahan (@BrienShanahan) explained that “You should make all links from the post and your site “no follow” links. You should also have a disclaimer somewhere on the post that it is a sponsored post. Google is cracking down on any linking practices that seem unnatural or could be viewed as “buying” links.”
Nofollow is a value that can be assigned to the
rel="" attribute of an HTML <a> element to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index.
You can rel=”nofollow” any sponsored links pretty easily by adding this to the HTML hyperlink tag:
E.g. <a href="http://innetwork.net" rel="nofollow">Sponsored by InNetwork</a>
This will tell Google that they should not count this link attribution when they are looking at ranking for the InNetwork website. If you do not do this, it gives an unfair advantage to the brand’s website, as Google will count this in their ranking factor.
So let’s recap. If you’re an influencer writing a sponsored post, or you’re a marketer wanting to buy an advertorial, you need to make sure that two things happen:
- The publication discloses to the audience that the post is an “Advertorial” or “Sponsored.”
- Let search engines know it’s a sponsored post by adding
rel="nofollow"to the HTML tags on links.
It’s the marketer’s job to make sure that they tell the influencer to do this (not all influencers might know about this). To protect both the brand’s website and the influencer’s website, make sure you take these extra step for sponsored posts and SEO when you do blogger outreach.
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