Last week, Google unveiled two interesting things: one was this new travel feature called Google Destinations (more on that in another blog post), and the second (and most relevant to us right now) is a guideline / list of “best practices” for bloggers who regularly receive free products in exchange for exposure.
I don’t normally spend too much blogging real estate to speaking about the back-end, technical, and oftentimes, controversial topics surrounding blogging and bloggers. There’s already enough coverage out there, and I just want this space to be very positive, honest and transparent. I figure that I would share this PSA for any bloggers reading this post right now!
The best practices Google shared boiled down to 3 easy things to think about when you’re writing your next blog post.
1. Understanding the difference between ‘nofollow’ and ‘dofollow’ and using ‘nofollow’ appropriately
Okay, so that was wordier than I wanted to but knowing what the difference in the ‘nofollow’ and ‘dofollow’ links is important because it affects search rankings. Since the post or content is created through an exchange – a freebie in exchange for exposure, all links directing back to the company/brand’s website, social media accounts, or retailers (i.e. Amazon) should have a ‘nofollow’ link scheme. Why? The content wasn’t created organically, and when you think about it, it impacts how a website is ranked on Google. If you aren’t using the ‘nofollow’ tag, you’re allowing unfair competition in the world of search ranking!
Note that adding a ‘nofollow’ doesn’t result in any visible changes to your link – it is something that is picked up by search engines.
This shouldn’t really be a bullet of its own because I feel like any kinds of freebie, or relationship should be properly disclosed. I always do this, irrespective of the value of products and services or whether a content was provided for me to share. I think it’s important to create that honest relationship because ultimately, your own credibility is at risk when you don’t disclose that relationship!
3. Unique Content
If you want to have a great readership base, you want to share content that hasn’t been duplicated or been written up a bunch of times before. This is where having a great unique content comes into play – it ensures that your readers will be coming back!
You can read more about the Google (via Webmasters’ Tool page) blog post on this Best Practices for Bloggers here.