What Google’s revised blogger guidelines mean for PR

Let’s face it - brands and agencies sending influential bloggers some free gifts in return for some editorial content here and a product link there, is nothing new. But powerhouse search engine Google has recently updated its Blogger Guidelines to restrict the SEO opportunities through blogger links. So what does this mean for website brands and agencies?

Make no mistake, engagement with bloggers and influencers will remain a great way to hit those KPIs by contributing to traffic, raising brand recognition and achieving valuable coverage for your brand’s products and services. However, if you are hoping to build your SEO 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. Link building, unnatural linking and paying bloggers for these will undoubtedly put you on Google’s naughty list and consequently could have a serious impact on your SEO rating.

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 and any links are ‘nofollowed’ before being published. The links will still be there, but no authority will flow through to authenticate the SEO value. 

Three key points to remember when engaging with a blogger/brand:

  • State in the copy that the post is supported or sponsored in collaboration.
  • ‘Nofollow’ any link to the brand’s site.
  • Make sure that your content is unique and not copied from the brochure.
  • These changes are undoubtedly going to create challenges for building SEO, but there are still ways round it. 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 new 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?

Written by Matt Vowles, PR and social media executive at Brass Agency

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