Matt Cutts is back again and, although this is not his latest video we felt it deserved our attention. This time he is discussing advertorials, a term which has been flying around cyberspace a lot recently. So, editorial and advertorial, what is the difference? As Matt highlights, an editorial piece is written by an individual based on the value they feel it will offer its readers. This can be about any subject but it is almost exclusively informative. Think about newspapers, every story within that paper is an editorial piece. Before we go any further check out the video below and see what Matt has to say.
Lying, Advertorial Style
Advertorials on the other hand are paid advertisements made to look like editorial pieces. Google has a few issues with this that we do not feel are unwarranted. The first being that many advertorials pass page rank. This is effectively link buying which you really, really, should know by now is bad (especially if you read last week’s article on Disavow.) Due to the fact these paid links pass Page Rank (PR) they will be artificially distorting Google’s quality based Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs.)
On top of this it is clear that many advertorials have been misleading people by being passed off as full blown editorial pieces. (See Interflora as the most recent case study.) This is frustrating for many as it piggy backs on the trust factor of editorials to manipulate how people view the content they are presented with. If people do not know they are being shown paid advertising, and think that they are in fact reading someone’s honest opinion, they tend to hold it in a higher regard. For example, if you are on a cooking blog and read, what you believe, is an honest review of a new bread maker you are more likely to follow links to said bread makers website and maybe even buy it. Would you not then be frustrated to find out you had been manipulated into buying a product that could well be inferior? Either way, the offending website has already gained your valuable traffic which has given them that extra little boost.
This Does Not Mean You Shouldn’t
Despite all this it is clear that advertorials still hold value as marketing devices. Here are our advertorial top tips:
- Ensure they are clearly labelled
If you obviously state that the piece is in fact an advert you clearly solve one of Google’s main issues. At the top of the page stick a label saying ‘This is an advertorial.’ As long as you make it appealing enough people will still read it and, if they like what they read, follow it through to your site.
- Use links, just make them nofollow
People seem to lose sight of the other advantages of advertorials other than the passing of link juice (that lovely stuff which helps boost your website in Google’s SERPS.) A useful, informative and well written advertorial placed in a relevant location will draw more traffic to your site. If your site is good enough to keep people engaged you will be boosting your own Page Rank on your own merits. This brings us very conveniently onto our next point…
- User Experience (UX) is key
We may sound like a broken record, as may Google, but it really is all about user experience when it comes down to it. Advertorials, and all other types of internet marketing, can drive traffic to your site. All this spent time and money is useless however if, once people reach your site, they are presented with something impossible to navigate and completely useless to them. Matt Cutts is a great advocate of the old adage ‘build it and they will come.’ We do not feel it is as clear cut as that, we think you must build it, let them know that it is there, then they will come.
Inevitably all of this is a lot easier said than done. That is where we can help you! If you have decided you want to (correctly) utilise advertorials we provide a first class in-house copywriting service. If you want to make sure your website is ready to receive new traffic off the back of an advertorial we can assist you with that too. Our team of developers and designers have been designing and developing great sites, apps, pages, microsites, animations, e-newsletters and pretty much anything else you can think of for yonks. Some for a few more years than they would like to admit perhaps. Why not contact us on 01753 878435 or email us today for more information.
Written by Ryan Hill