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Google Reminds Bloggers to Disclose Sponsored Content

Google and Sponsored Content

On March 11, 2016, Google reminded bloggers that disclosing sponsored content is a must — and that’s not only to abide to the many international laws, but also to keep your blog in good standing with search engines (that by all means need to offer trustworthy content to their users). In the post, Google added a list of best practices for bloggers to follow.

How to disclose the relationship, though? Are nofollow attributes on sponsored links enough?

There’s actually more to that — you have to display a visible disclosure for the reader and make sure your genuine content can’t absolutely be mistaken for sponsored ads or reviews-for-freebie (the specific case Google mentions).

The reader (and search user) is the center of the problem and, in this post, you will find a few guidelines to ensure you only accept the right kind of sponsored opportunities and that both readers and Google will trust your content.

How to deal with advertisers who try to ‘cheat’?

“You need to draw the line with sponsored content to advertisers,” says Christopher Jan Benitez. “They must abide by your rules and ask them to respect the conditions that you are implementing on your blog through sponsored content.”

That’s when things get tough — many advertisers still contact bloggers to try to manipulate search engines instead of promoting their or their client’s brand.

Christopher shares more advice in that sense:

Christopher Jan Benitez

Christopher Jan Benitez

The challenge now is actually implementing your own rules on a consistent basis – there will be times that advertisers are willing to splurge on getting their content on your blog by turning those nofollow links into dofollows. A solution I can think of at the moment is to offer an alternative to your sponsored content. For example, if you are receiving multiple queries for links in your blog content, refer them to a link builder instead and ask for a referral fee from the link builder. Be creative with your approach while keeping in line with your sponsored content guidelines.

Is the sponsored link editorially relevant?

David Leonhardt recommends you think about the difference:

David Leonhardt

David Leonhardt

If it’s an ad, follow Google’s guidelines (sigh); if it’s your opinion then let your conscience be your guide.  NoFollow is supposed to send robots a message that you can’t vouch for a link.  Here is how it works:

A) If you trust a link, it’s OK to place on your website.  No need to add a NoFollow attribute.

B) If you don’t trust a link, what fool would put it on their website? Seriously, don’t even think about it.

C) If somebody else places the link, such as in a blog comment or in some other form of user-generated content, then you cannot vouch for the link (some you might trust, others not), so you automatically add a NoFollow attribute. That’s what NoFollow was created for in the first place.

If it’s an ad, that’s a whole other matter.  Personally, if the link is not one I would trust anyway, I would not accept money for it.

And what about keeping in Google’s good book?

Either way there is a huge risk.  If Google decides that you have a pile of ads or “paid links” without NoFollow attributes, it can slap you silly.  If, on the other hand, Google sees a ton of NoFollow links, they’ll know that your website is a crappy site that just publishes ads (Think of the difference between the Wall Street Journal and a local shoppers tabloid) and can adjust your authority accordingly. Here is how I described it at this post on the dangers of NoFollow:

Google will also have data on which websites NoFollow their links.  Ah, let’s follow the logic trail.  Google tells websites to NoFollow crappy links.  Website A has 300 NoFollow links on its site.  Website B has 3 NoFollow links on its site.  In Google’s mind, NoFollow means crappy links.  Hmmm.  Which site will Google consider more trustworthy?  Which site will Google see as less trustworthy?

Either way, the real solution is to publish lots of great content and keep ads to a minimum.  NoFollow is not really the main issue.

Sometimes sponsored content just doesn’t suit your blog

Irina Weber of SE Ranking shares her skepticism about hosting sponsored content on a blog:

Irina WeberFor me, advertising doesn’t work well for bloggers. You should focus on improving your brand name reputation and building long-term relationships rather than buying paid links and traffic. As a blogger, you should try to hold users’ attention with creation of quality content.

How to makey money from a blog, then? She offers some insight:

There are lots of other places that help you improve your brand name without paying a lot. Guest posting and blogger outreach networks are still working very well. Be clear, open-minded and creative with your partners. I bet you will find great blogging options if you shine a spotlight on maintaining long-term relationships.


Unless you care more about revenue than your readership, you will want to make sure that:

  • Both your readers and Google see that you are constantly producing genuine, insightful content for your audience
  • Your content outnumbers sponsored content by at least 3:1 (3 editorial posts and 1 sponsored piece)
  • The sponsored content your write follows Google’s guidelines for paid links and a mandatory disclosure for your readers to distinguish between ads and editorial content
  • Your blog is well suited to host sponsored content (e.g. your brand’s blog might not be suitable, but your personal blog might do)

How do you handle sponsored content and reviews-for-freebie? What kind of disclosure do you implement?

Share in the comments.

Google Reminds Bloggers to Disclose Sponsored Content
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How To Write Killer Meta Descriptions To Increase CTR

SEO Meta Description Tips

Search engine optimization can be complicated sometimes. Frankly speaking, one minute you ought to think that you have nailed it and the very next moment everything changes. You want to know what the real problem is. Google on average changes its algorithm 500 – 600 per year.

So, the only thing that remains constant in SEO is the change. This ought to create a never-ending chase for the desired number one ranking. Because of some elements and other factors, you can now easily focus on doing the optimization pretty well in the long run. One of the elements that you need to know is the “Meta Description“.

Some of you might still be wondering as to why opt for Meta description. The reason is simple; the Meta description has always played an important part in search engine page results that are not likely to change.

So, before we emphasize on the important aspects of your SEO needs, keep reading till the end to learn on how to write a compelling Meta description that helps you in increasing the CTR and boost your ranking on the search engines. But before we start the step by step guide on how to write a Meta description, let’s just first talk a little bit more about how truly compelling and powerful these Meta descriptions ought to be.

The Compelling Power Of A Meta Description

To be honest, the Meta description plays a vital function on the search engines. They provide a brief description of your webpage content in association with the rest of the metadata in the HTML code of your site. On the other hand, when you do not set one up on your own, most of the content sharing systems will by default generate it for you.

The Meta description is considered to be one of the elements that are entailed to highlight with your webpage SEO; this is why it is imperative to understand as to why it ought to make a difference.

Therefore, you need to emphasize on writing compelling Meta description, for the users to click on your business web-page. And trust me, once you have written an appealing description, the users’ wont simply stop to click on the links.

Follow the below-given guidelines and start to create Meta descriptions that ought to help you in boosted ranking and increases the CTR in the long run.

Step 1: Do Not Put Much Focus On The Character Count

Most of the people weren’t aware of the fact that Google has updated the limitation on the character recently. One after another article has been publishing in order to analyze and break down what these changes denote for businesses and SEO.

When you simply focus on the character count, this completely negates the whole purpose of the SEO. Do not compromise on the quality of the content by limiting yourself to the word count; you might start to see some positive results.

However, some of the Meta descriptions that were written above the limit of the word count had increased CTR from their competitors who had shorter descriptions. The results were not minor; there was an improvement of 36% in the overall CTR.

So, it is suggested that if you ought to focus on the word count of the Meta description, you need to keep the limit between 150 – 160 words at max, which is where most of the high-performing posts fall.

Meta Description Lengths

The stats shown above have proved that Meta description that exceeds the limit of 170, the graph particularly stops, on the other hand, shorter description, like 100 character or less are a very few.

The conclusion of it is simple, you should not be focusing on the word count, and all you need to do is create a perfect Meta description.

Step 2:  Keep It Interesting And Unique

Writing a boring description and still wondering why hasn’t the clicks moved up in the ranking? Trying to find how to innovate and find ways that make the people click? Well, “not creating a boring description” should be on top of your priority list. This is one practice that you can implement which ought to help you in being more persuasive, and eventually, you’d get more clicks.

Meta Description Examples

Use active voice, do not be boring, and you will be able to provide a significant push for the readers. Choose to use a tone as if you are talking to your audience and just do not ramble on about yourself. In this way, you will be able to find yourself in the sweet spot when the time comes to write classy Meta descriptions.

Your end goal should be to signal value and further your interests, and it should be nothing that relates to you, the business branding, or what you choose to sell. Be unique and try to engage as much as audience as you can.

Step 3: Effectively Place The Keywords

Let’s suppose that you have invested a lot of time in generating keywords for your digital medium campaign and you post them in the landing pages, blog posts, and even in the product pages. So, why aren’t you considering in putting them in the Meta description as well?

C’mon guys, there is nothing that signals more to Google than the Metadata of what your page is all about. When you choose not to include keywords in the Meta Description, you can rest assured that you are making a huge mistake.

SEO Link Building

Did you know that the keywords are used naturally and in that way they educate the reader about the content of the page?

So, choose to use the keywords to highlight Google as to what your post is really about.

Step 4: Use More Than Just Your Copy 

This is particularly for the metadata newbies; Google now allows you to implement structured data that lets you modify the description on the result pages of the search engines. So, while you thought that the Title, URL, and the descriptions ought, to begin with, the default listing of Google. Well, this could not be any further from the truth now.

What has changed? The data structure. Nowadays, most of the highly ranked pages get to take advantages of this one of a kind function. The only catch to this function is that before using this method, utilize this approach before you even get to the front page.


In the end, all you need to remember is that the Meta descriptions are here to stay for a long time and the sooner you learn to write high-quality description, the sooner you will be able to start boosting the CTR and ranking that ought to affect the overall SEO effort as can be seen with sites such as citylocalpro.

How To Write Killer Meta Descriptions To Increase CTR
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Boost Brand Perception by 71% With One Simple Trick

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11 Pro Bloggers In the SEO and Marketing Niche To Follow in 2017

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