Google sounds death knell for paid-for blog placement

A tactic frequently relied upon by SEO agencies, paid-for blog placement, was dealt a death blow by Google yesterday.

In case you missed the‚ announcement,‚ websites that sell links will see their toolbar PageRank downgraded by 30, 40 or 50%.‚ In a move that will see many SEO agencies going back to the drawing board, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of spam search, confirmed not only the Page Rank downgrade, but also the fact that these sites will no longer continue to be able to pass PageRank and that sites they link to will no longer benefit from those links.

For us, it was no‚ surprise‚ that Google closed rank (excuse the pun) on paid-for blog placement. The writing was on the wall following the‚ high profile penalisation of Interflora‚ due to its‚ large number of advertorials on regional newspaper websites around the UK. This should have set alarm bells ringing at the beginning of March for SEO agencies.

What this latest development shows, perhaps more clearly than anything else, is that online public relations as a discipline is increasingly aligned to Google’s priorities of quality, editorially robust content, whilst it appears that SEO agencies’ practices are stepping further out of synch with the search giant.

We’ve heard the phrase ‘content is king’ so many times it’s almost a‚ clichƒ©‚ now, but the truth remains; online public relations agencies have the necessary skills to position a brand or individual online through quality content and Google’s announcement yesterday only serves to enforce this.

SEO agencies, in contrast, are increasingly being left behind in this new search landscape.‚ The highly documented take-over of‚ social shares from backlinks‚ as the darling of Google’s algorithm last year is further proof of this.

Following this latest announcement we are thrilled that blogger outreach will now be based on the merit of the content and not the content of someone’s bank account; something that should always have been the case.

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