Google makes revisions to link scheme definitions

Google has already spent time on two occasions this year going at great lengths to discuss advertorials and the ways in which they can seriously affect rankings. Google’s Matt Cutts discussed the affects of advertorials in his own video, while a Google Webmaster Help video also dealt with the issue of paid content disguised to appear as simple editorials by someone who has used a product or service in question, with the ulterior motive of gaining a link.

Unsurprisingly, Google has now moved to refresh its webmaster guidelines to include advertorials along with a number of other ‘black hat’ spammy techniques to manipulate search rankings.

Advertorials are now regarded by Google as ‘unnatural’ and a violation of its best practice guidelines:

“Advertorials or native advertising [is unnatural] where payment is received for articles that include links that pass PageRank.”

Interestingly, Google also entirely removed the opening paragraph of the help scheme link article which previously stated:

“Your site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to you. The quantity, quality, and relevance of links influences your ranking. The sites that link to you can provide context about the subject matter of your site, and can indicate its quality and popularity.”

It’s possible that this removal could be the early developments of something larger brewing deep within Google’s search algorithm, but if anything, it indicates that Google is yet again reducing the emphasis it places on links with SEO consultants up and down the land adjusting their outreach tactics because of this.

Google has also hit out at overly-optimised press releases, citing an example of how not to do your link building:

“There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress.”

Large-scale article marketing and guest posts with keyword-rich anchor text links are also being consigned to the doldrums. Guest posting remains a useful link building tool but increasingly we are finding that links are no-followed or full URL links are being used to mask the keyword density.

Ultimately, it’s now a case of being more creative with your content and creating something that a) existing and potential customers will love and b) will be shared socially and naturally without the need for paid links.

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