If you don’t pay regular attention to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, you might have overlooked it, but last month, Google made a significant change to their definition of link schemes.
The revised link scheme wording now cites the following as violating Google’s guidelines:
- Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links.
- Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass PageRank.
- Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites.
Google also removed these examples from the link scheme guidelines:
- Linking to web spammers or unrelated sites with the intent to manipulate PageRank.
- Links that are inserted into articles with little coherence.
The changes are important in SEO circles, because article marketing, guest blog posts, advertorials and press release syndication are often key components of holistic SEO campaigns. Note in particular that “links with optimized anchor text” are mentioned specifically for the first time. Until fairly recently, the use of anchor text was considered a standard component of effective article writing and any on-page optimization.
With these changes, article syndication and press release optimization - unless implemented extremely carefully - may end up having a negative SEO impact on the very web sites they were intended to help.
In the wake of the changes, we took our Search Engine College Article Marketing course offline temporarily to check lesson content against the new guidelines and re-write any sections that may have been ambiguous.
If your SEO strategy uses any of these initiatives, I suggest taking a very close look at the revised Google Webmaster Guidelines and ensuring your implementation adheres to the revised policy.
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