Mom Bloggers, are you ready for Google updates targeting Link Schemes?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these updates are serious for our Mom Blogger blogging subculture. Why? Because they are targeting link schemes for reviews (and giveaways), sponsored blog posts, affiliate marketing and possibly guest blogging.
Link Schemes are also here and upon us already.
The problem with Google updates and its hunt for schemes, is that no one knows until they actually hit, but you can only go off of what Google actually writes about them, and try to gather the speculation from the blogging community to determine what you should do. Keep in mind, once you are deemed a spammer, or involved in link schemes by Google, the blow is heavy and hard from which to recover.
All I can do here, is tell you what I will be doing to protect myself from this schemes campaign. You will have to decide your own courses of action, but all of you review and giveaway bloggers need to take special notice of these schemes.
Here is the specific language from Google spelling out what they consider link schemes that is concerning:
“Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link”
Here is the other language spelling out the exceptions to link schemes, where using the “nofollow” tag gives you protection:
“Note that PPC (pay-per-click) advertising links that don’t pass PageRank to the buyer of the ad do not violate our guidelines. You can prevent PageRank from passing in several ways, such as:
- Adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the
- Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file”
Do you notice how specific the language is to receiving a “free” product, and do you notice how general the language is for exchanging goods or services that covers pretty much about everything we do in blogging?
It’s hard to know how Google will interpret and treat each and every link or link schemes in our various situations in blogging, but to be on the safe side, you should add the (rel=”nofollow”) tag to all of your outbound links ASAP!
Here’s more from Matt Cutts on Advertorials, and keep in mind that free products for review aren’t mentioned, but are included in link schemes…
What’s the likely motivation on this link schemes campaign?
Google is always trying to crack down on low quality and spammers, and we must be honest and say that most of these sponsored posts, reviews and giveaways are just thrown up on our blogs, without a lot of valuable content for readers and searchers.
Link Schemes Crackdown Clear Up Confusion
Google wants to give all of their searchers really high quality information and content, not content disguised as such, but is actually just selling something for someone.
Google wants you to jump through the proper hoops, not confuse your readers in any way of what your content and links are conveying, and to not allow any gaming of the system to be at the top of a search. They want to serve up the good stuff, and make sure those searchers finding your content are happy.
Google Updates & Link Schemes Will Only Be the Beginning
We are going to have to re-think our blogging and presentation, as well as develop new ways to function freely from the constant and ever-changing rules from all sides.
I will be covering ways to do this below but for now, clean up all of your outbound links as much as you can…
*Remove outbound links from all obvious post content, particularly on sponsored posts, reviews or giveaways, if you do not have time to initially add the “nofollow” tag everywhere.
*Delete all comments with outbound links, unless you can add “nofollow”. There are WP Plugins for this.
*Add “nofollow” everywhere you can, like in your sponsor sidebar ads and directories.
Keep in mind, that natural outbound links are OK. You can still write about something that you know your readers want to read, and really relates to your blog theme, and link and tag appropriately.
Even though Google states that about natural links, the part of a natural outbound link that I worry about, is that Google’s robot gets that. How does their crawling robot really know that you weren’t paid for that link, and that it’s natural?
You see what I mean on link schemes?
The other initial step to take, especially if you solely blog with reviews and giveaways, is to really define your voice and product categories. You need to be a blogger first, with a personal reason why you review products.
Those products need to relate to you, your blog theme and who you are, or what information and expertise you can provide.
A product review needs to make sense for your blog, and not be random.
Try to sit down and take notes of what you know about already, like products you already use every day, who you are as a writer, and what information you have to offer, to determine why you would do a natural and genuine review for your readers.
Do reviews because you really have something to say, and not because products were just fed to you, or threw them up as posts.
The other initial advice I have for mom bloggers is to transfer to WordPress.org if you are on Blogger. It has many more tools you will need to handle these new link schemes updates.
Mom Bloggers Beware: The Wrath of Google Link Schemes is Here, and Now Let’s Get to Some Strategies to Deal with Them!
Google’s campaign against link schemes and robots are deployed…
So for all of my fellow Mom Bloggers and Small Business Owners online, I’m going to run through some strategies to cope with them.
This Google crack down on link schemes are likely going to be a bit of a problem, and a big change for all of us.
I know how easy it is to just decide you’re going to ignore Google completely, but if you have your business online, or your blog has value to you as a means of income, you just can’t turn a blind eye, and then find yourself punished for something you had no idea you were doing as schemes no less.
Pretty much any kind of exchange of money or even services for a link or links will fall into the link schemes category.
So, how do we deal with this?
We have to be on top of every rule requirement out there, as well as consider our presentation even more.
We are going to have to re-think our blogging, as well as develop new ways to maintain our subculture, and not get punished by Google.
Here are some strategies:
1: Get your blog on WordPress.org. Why?
A) You own it, you have control, and you have many tools to handle this Google crack down on link schemes.
B) You can install plugins that automatically “nofollow” links, and comment links.
C) You can make a page or post public or private.
2: Avoid and escape non-stop updates and changes with Google robots crawling your site to punish you. How?
A) Build a list of email subscribers.
First, Why do you need a list of email readers more than ever?
Because you can function freely from Google. Google can’t crawl your emails or newsletters, and you can send your readers to a private page on your blog for a review, giveaway, or sponsored post without worrying about all of the rules, proper link tags, schemes, etc.
You can also use your newsletters and emails as your new delivery system, where you send a review or highlight a sponsor, include affiliate links, a guest post, etc. there, instead of your public blog completely free from Google scrutiny.
Do you see how you can just shift everything you were doing before the link schemes crack down to a private setting?
B) For those on a budget, and with a lot of readers for a monthly charge, get your Feedburner email readers going immediately.(Many services do not charge until you have more than 2000 on your list.)
How do you get them to sign up?
1) Remove all distractions like GFC followers or other follower services.
These might make you feel good looking at your numbers, but these are not real readers or followers. They need to be subscribed, and receiving your posts via email. Target your visitor’s actions by getting rid of all distractions of following your blog, other than your Feedburner subscription.
2) Put that Feedburner subscription at the top of your page, and make it important.
3) Ask your readers all of the time to sign up in your blog posts, and social media. Let them know it’s important to you.
ASAP, get your newsletter subscription service, where your Feedburner readers can be transferred over.
1) Start with an opt-in box in your sidebar, and a free service like Mail Chimp.
2) Budget towards having a specially designed opt-in landing page and subscription Facebook tab later or DIY.
Once you have your private list of newsletter readers, you are free from Google. Plus, you can do so much more than before. You can sell ad space on your newsletters, create an affiliate marketing strategy incorporating paid link text in your content, feature guest authors, and any other creative presentation you want.
The point is to be free, and you’ll even find that your list of subscribers is your buffer, built in traffic, and newly found success.
I subscribe to some big players to get good info, and do you think they are worried about Google link schemes?…no! They have thousands and thousands of subscribers they’ve built over the years, and Google can’t touch that with its schemes campaign.
We can do it too in our community of Moms and Bloggers! Let’s all free ourselves by growing our lists!
Need more information? For our comprehensive guide on How to Build a List with a Bonus Feedburner to Mailchimp How To, subscribe for 50% off.