The NoFollow Drama
Beauty blog traffic is down in general; people are searching less for beauty on Google, even the magazine sites have seen a decrease in general beauty searches, so if you’re wondering, like I have been, what is the cause of the traffic drop, that’s the simple reason. There is also speculation that an algorithm change from Google has contributed to lower traffic, making blogs harder to find.
But, a new issue that we have to be careful of right now, highlighted yesterday by www.inthepowderroom.com is the Nofollow coding for sponsored posts or paid links. Several blogs have lost their google ranking recently – it isn’t just confined to beauty – and when that happens you lose virtually all your Google page rank.
Google won’t find you, and people Googling your site can’t find you either. You have to remove all your paid-for Dofollow coding and then reapply for a page rank and the whole process takes about three months by which time you’ve probably had a near nervous breakdown.
What is NoFollow? NoFollow is a piece of html coding that stops the site that you are sending traffic to being able to count your traffic on their SEO or for it to boost their Google page rank. The link still works, but the bigger picture is that brands who are trying to pay via paid links, including paid-for ‘badges’, sponsored posts and paid for links, to get to the top of Google searches can no longer do so without the risk of Google penalising the hosting site.
Because blogs have been so heavily targeted by brands over the past couple of years, this is where the Google crack down on Dofollow links is showing up the most. Mostly on blogs that contain a large volume of sponsored links and badges in their sidebars/footers.
A quote from a Google insider: Clear disclosure of sponsorship is critical, and that includes disclosure for search engines. If link in a paid post would affect search engines, that link should not pass PageRank (e.g. by using the nofollow attribute). Google — and other search engines — do take action which can include demoting sites that sell links that pass PageRank, for example.
Legally, blogs must disclose sponsored posts (which disclaims that the content/link in the post is sponsored) but nofollow is a Google (rather than legal) initiative. It isn’t illegal to use a Dofollow link in a sponsored post but you run the risk of Google demoting your site if you have a high volume of paid links on your blog.
Google Terms state: Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such. This can be done in several ways, such as:
· Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file
You don’t need to worry if you take display advertising from a network (including Google ads): these already contain a coding that lets Google know that they are ads.
I’ve spoken to my network, Handpicked Media, and a lot of their work is more to an advertising/awareness raising ethos and so their clients are happy with Nofollows in sponsored posts. However, there are entire SEO (paid link) agencies who would be in a very difficult situation if everyone started using Nofollow links. As for other networks, it’s best to enquire rather than assume.
*all products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.