Google has released some new guidelines that are aimed directly at bloggers who review items they received for free from companies, a growing form of native advertising for sure. Google has already grappled with this issue on YouTube with the army of Vloggers that have been endorsing products. So I very much agree with the need to disclose the relationship. Where I tend not to agree is with the classification of these blog articles and the links are non-orgnanic and thus should carry nofollow tags.
So here is the lastest advice:
- Use the nofollow tag where appropriateLinks that pass PageRank in exchange for goods or services are againstGoogle guidelines on link schemes. Companies sometimes urge bloggers to link back to:
- the company’s site
- the company’s social media accounts
- an online merchant’s page that sells the product
- a review service’s page featuring reviews of the product
- the company’s mobile app on an app store
Bloggers should use the nofollow tag on all such links because these links didn’t come about organically (i.e., the links wouldn’t exist if the company hadn’t offered to provide a free good or service in exchange for a link). Companies, or the marketing firms they’re working with, can do their part by reminding bloggers to use nofollow on these links.
- Disclose the relationshipUsers want to know when they’re viewing sponsored content. Also, there are laws in some countries that make disclosure of sponsorship mandatory. A disclosure can appear anywhere in the post; however, the most useful placement is at the top in case users don’t read the entire post.
As always more information can be found on the excellent Google Webmaster guidelines