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I have a love/hate relationship with Google. On the one hand, Google offers many great products and services to work-at-home and build an online business. On the other hand, its algorithm changes usually hurt legitimate online entrepreneurs more than the scammers it’s seeking to target. (In a side note, Google doesn’t seem to have a problem selling Adword space to scammers, which means their ads show up in search and on sites that use Adsense…a big peeve of mine).
In it’s efforts to improve search results (good), Google has made changes that actually hurt online entrepreneurs who used article marketing as a way to promote their business (bad). How? Google is making decisions about whether or not the links on and to a website are relevant, and if not, are penalizing sites. For example, I got an email from a company asking me to remove a link from my site to theirs as Google decided it wasn’t relevant. However, the link was to a work-at-home job the company had, which for a site that provides work-at-home job resources is completely relevant and yet Google was going penalize the other site.
The target of this campaign seems to be towards sponsored posts… posts in which people pay to have their article or mention of their product on a blog. Similar to how the FTC now requires bloggers to disclose gains (financial or freebies) made from affiliate or other links, Google feels sponsored posts shouldn’t count as “real” content. There is some truth to that. In an effort to make money, some sites might be taking sponsored posts that have links to irrelevant sites. On the other hand, if the post is informative and the links relevant, then it seems like it should be okay as long as the proper disclosures are made.
In response to this, many bloggers have started adding Google’s no-follow attribute to all guest posts, paid or not. The no-follow code tells Google to ignore the links in the article for the purposes of search and ranking. When you consider that most online marketers use article marketing for search engine optimization, it appears that it’s a waste of time to share articles if the no-follow code is going to be used. Or is it?
The truth is, even if a blogger plans to use the no-follow attribute on the link(s) in your article, there still can be a benefit to writing for other sites. Guest blogging:
1) Puts your expertise and information in front of readers who might not otherwise find you.
2) There are other search engines out there that don’t pay attention to the no-follow code. Of course, Google is the most used engine, but Bing has been picking up steam and some people still use Yahoo.
So how can you use articles to promote your website?
1) Choose sites carefully. Google does judge you by the company you keep. Write content for reputable sites.
2) Write exclusives. A long time ago Google decided it didn’t like duplicate content, so don’t share the same article with several bloggers.
3) Make the article and any links in it relevant to the content of the article and the website.